Personal Leadership Conference

The Personal Leadership Conference is a unique Atara-created day-long seminar based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, integrated into a religious framework with the use of Torah sources.. The objective: teach our students the sophisticated cognitive skills they will need to be thriving, productive, and happy Bnos Yisrael.

Our very first PLC was held in the conference rooms of the Marriot Hotel on October 21st, with a focus on the first two habits.

Room at Personal Leadership Conference
Room at Personal Leadership Conference

 We created an innovative and dynamic seminar, which included lecture, video and audio presentation, competitive group-work, and project based learning. We hung Habit posters and phrases all over the room, and to develop a truly immersive atmosphere. The air was charged, and the students were completely engaged, and contributed their own outstanding insights throughout. The girls were challenged to learn, apply,  and then present the concepts on their own. We were fortunate to have Rabbi Zev Pam, a licensed presenter on the Seven Habits come speak.Each student was given a personal workbook packet with self-assesments, main ideas, and empty charts to help bring home the concepts, worked on throughout the day.

Folder given out at PLC
Folder given out at PLC

 

 

The first half of the day was dedicated to creating an internal foundation for the Seven Habits, and to the introduction of the first habit. Each student had a small whiteboard at her seat, which they utilized throughout the day, constantly writing responses and examples that they share with the instructor or with a partner.One of the highlights of our morning was the cycling workshop area, where we had groups of students cycling through different stations simultaneously.

Circle of Control/No Control
Circle of Control/No Control

The girls were challenged to correctly fill out a huge Circle of Control/No Control. It was competitively timed, and led to excellent discussions and debates about which items fell into which category.

 

 

Skit and Headbandz
Skit and Headbandz

At another station, each group was given costumes and “headbanz” with Seven Habits ideas on them, and they were required to create a skit applying the principles they learned. At the end, each group presented their skit to the school.

 

Separate workshops
Separate workshops

At one station, the ninth and tenth graders wrote Proactive and Reactive responses to various relevant scenarios, and the eleventh and twelfth graders completed a Critical Thinking Worksheet on an excerpt of “With Hearts Full of Faith,” by Rav Mattisyahu Salamon, relating the ideas of emunah and personal hishtadlus to the first habit.

 

Arts and Crafts Station
Arts and Crafts Station

In another workshop area, each group came to our Arts and Crafts station, where they created their own miniature Circle of Control, with magnetic strips on the back to allow them to stick in on their lockers as a daily reminder.

Listening to speech
Listening to speech

The girls listened to a powerful story, and were challenged to connect it to the Seven Habits Principles, and discuss its application to their own lives.

 

Rewriting Seven Habits
Rewriting Seven Habits

 

Here, the girls are rewriting the “Seven Habits of Highly DEfective People,” with a prize going to the best rewrite.

 

 

Pool
Pool

 

Mid-day, the girls went swimming and exercised the Marriot’s private pool and fitness room. It gave them important time to relax and process the material. The girls loved it!

The second half of the day was dedicated to bridging into and exploring the second habit. After learning about it, the girls watched a video of a young boy with a debilitating illness, and they broke into groups to create a personal mission statement for him. Each group presented theirs, and the students voted on a winner. They were then charged to create their own personal mission statement. A “Mission Statement Station” was created with supplies, special paper, and frames for the finished product. Mission statement “sample packets” were provided, and the girls were well prepared with a series of personal assessments to use as a base to work off of.

Dinner
Dinner

We wrapped with a delicious Chinese Dinner, thanks to Mr. Ari Rubinoff, and group processing. The girls wrote their reflections in their Personal Growth Journals, and at 8pm, our tired bunch of young women headed home!

 

Student Reflections

Shayna Peromsik:I love the fact that Atara uses the word “education” as a vague term that can be used in a broader sphere. Atara isn’t about just about having a well-rounded schooling. Atara focuses on who we are as a person in the Jewish nation. The values of Atara were evident, as we spent an entire day learning about people, ourselves and our surroundings. We started the day with Mrs.Teitelbaum, learning how to prioritize, about self-paradigms and our “bank accounts” we have with ourselves and the people around us. We did a few fun and interactive workshops, taking texts from leaders in our generation and even texts from children’s books, and we analyzed and applied it to the new ideas. Rabbi Pam took time out of his busy schedule to teach us the 1st  habit of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We learned how to be proactive rather than be a reactive person. We learned how to “carry our own weather,” and about our own Circle of Control/No Control. We learned the habit of Beginning with the End In Mind, how we always have to have a goal on who we want to become and constantly be working on ourselves throughout life to get there. We watched the inspiring story of Malala on how she was proactive in her situation. We spent time working on our own mission statements. They were partly based on the “hisbodidus” we did before Rosh Hashanah this year, where we completed a sheet on what we would want our parents, future husbands, children, and grandchildren to say about us at our 85th birthday party. We had an exhilarating exercise break and finished off with a catered dinner from Mr. Rubinoff.  We got home late and wiped out, but the personal growth and self-introspection we attained was a life changer. Thank you to all of the people who took the time and work to make the seminar as great as it was.