Kehilla High School students participate in the Flexible Friday program
Monday through Thursday will find Kehilla High School students at the Temple Ohabai Shalom campus, rigorously engaged in typical high school classes. But come Friday, Kehilla students are a lot harder to track down. Now in its inaugural year, Kehilla High School proudly provides an exciting and high-level curriculum that cultivates a deep philosophy of productive citizenship and empowers students to become diverse thinkers and changemakers. On Fridays this philosophy is put into practice through a special Flexible Friday program. Fridays are designated for off-campus trips and programming as well as visits from community leaders, activists, and field experts. The program deepens students’ understanding of community engagement and gives them the opportunity to explore places and ideas that reflect the history that shaped our community and our city. Some Fridays are spent exploring Nashville classics, with visits to Fort Negley, Centennial Park, the Belle Meade Plantation, and the Tennessee State Museum. Other Fridays are focused on learning about Jewish culture and traditions, and exploring Jewish theology and ethics. Guest lecturers have included a Vanderbilt biologist, community leaders, Ukrainian refugees, and local veterans.
Head of School Ron Heady says, “Making connections with and within our community is vital to Kehilla’s mission.” Heady explains that, “Our Flexible Fridays create opportunities for students to explore different kinds of connections between what they are learning in school and the real world.” Shira Sackett, a lead teacher at Kehilla High School, adds that, “The flexibility of the Friday schedule allows us to foster the interests of Kehilla students in creative and educational ways.” Sackett notes that, “Part of Flexible Fridays is also about building community within the school. We took our students to an Escape Room experience early in the year and it was a really unique opportunity for them to learn how to work together and utilize the strengths of each individual in support of a common goal.”
Flexible Fridays are all about developing skills and insights and empowering students to become informed and engaged changemakers. Students are looking forward to a new semester of Flexible Fridays, with upcoming programming including a visit to the Paper Clips Museum in Whitwell, touring science labs at both Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, and community service projects in support of local social and justice programs.