January 21 wasn’t a typical Sunday on Milken’s Upper School campus. It looked more like a school day, except it wasn’t students who were hurrying off to classes; it was their parents. Around 100 parents attended Milken’s first Lidrosh, a day-long event of classes and workshops. According to organizer Whitney Fisch, director of counseling, the objective of the event “was to provide an education for parents through a lens of real-time cultural, developmental and social issues while fostering a lifelong love of learning.” Classes were taught by faculty members in their fields of expertise and outside experts in the psychology and adolescent development.
With a variety of experiential and hands-on classes to choose from that covered such topics as parenting, development, positive psychology, law, and mindfulness, there was something for everyone. Parents learned strategies and were provided practical tools they could apply to daily life.
In the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences Fab Lab, a group of mothers huddled around computer workstations eagerly learning the computer aided design (CAD) software SolidWorks to create custom shapes. After using the slicer software, which produces commands for the 3D printer, they printed their designs. Guerin Lab Manager Al Noel Sansolis, who led “Fab Lab-Rapid Prototyping,” was pleased to see how quickly the parents picked up the design software. Shiva Hebroni, mother to Lauren ’17 and Joshua ’20, thoroughly enjoyed the class and noted, “For years I had been curious as to how the computer 3D printer interface works, and this class gave me a good grasp of it. I can now envisage how to design what I would like to see made.”
Parents literally played with fire in the “Fireworks & Neon Signs” workshop led by Chemistry Teachers Philip Ranier and Mira Liran. They learned that various elemental gases create the colors in neon signs. By placing different metal salts into an open flame, they observed the unique colors emitted by the elements.
Developmental workshops such as “Birds, Bees, and Teens: Reinventing ‘The Talk’” examined how a parent’s own experiences and mindset shapes the way they approach conversations about sexuality with their teens. Health Teacher Hannah Kessel, who led the workshop, noted that she was surprised and impressed by parents' willingness to share their experiences on a topic so personal and polarizing.
In another part of campus, parents donned aprons and flexed their artistic muscles in “Channel Your Inner Bob Ross: Intro to Palette Knife Painting” taught by Department Chair of Visual Arts Peter Walker. Some commented that they hadn’t taken art classes since high school and were excited to be there. After learning basic terminology and different techniques, the parents proceeded to create still life masterpieces, not wanting to stop once class time was up they enjoyed themselves so much.
Relevant thought provoking topics were discussed in “Digital Past Affecting your Academic Future” which discussed the importance of students using social media responsibly and how their decisions can affect their college applications and acceptance process. It also touched on learning about what technologies their children are using.
In "Everything is Here to Awaken Us" led by Jewish Studies Teacher Jessie Mallor, they read and discussed Hasidic philosophy about meditation and awareness and learned yoga nidra, a form of meditation which deeply relaxes the body.
At the end of the day parents left campus armed with information, new skills, insights, and strengthened connections with other parents.
“I had a great day on Sunday at Milken learning about all that the school has to offer. From the Fab Lab to the Beit Midrash, I am so happy that my family is a part of such an innovative and dynamic community school,” said Ann Lieberman, mother of Gavin ’19 and Ellie ’22.
Leslie Wallach, mother of Benjamin ’21, who attended a full slate of classes, summed up the day and remarked, “This day of Lidrosh is really what education should be – the joy of learning for the sake of learning itself.”