Jewish Day Schools Forming New Organization

Published February 04, 2016, issue of February 04, 2016.

Five of North America’s leading Jewish day school organizations and networks have agreed to develop a new, integrated, North American Jewish day school organization. The schools include the Schechter Day School Network, Day Schools of Reform Judaism (PARDES), The Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), RAVSAK (The Jewish Community Day School Network), and the Yeshiva University School Partnership (YUSP).

This decision recognizes that a combined day school organization (NewOrg for now, until a name is finalized) will more effectively meet the diverse needs of local schools by pooling the talent, expertise and resources originally dispersed among its founding agencies. The new organization will offer an expanded set of programs, services and networking opportunities to benefit the more than 375 schools and close to 100,000 students currently served by these separate groups, and any other schools interested in participating. Whereas schools today are limited to what they are offered as members or affiliates of one or two organizations, they will soon have access to comprehensive, leading-edge offerings.

NewOrg is committed to improving financial vitality and educational excellence in Jewish day schools, and supporting a vibrant, visible and connected Jewish day school field. It will work directly with schools, cohorts of schools, and individual professional and lay leaders to strengthen skills and build capacity in areas of teaching and learning, leadership, governance, affordability, recruitment, retention, fund development and endowment building. As an integrated organization serving and strengthening all streams of Jewish day schools, it will work on advancing the Jewish day school field across North America, as well as on advocacy efforts for day schools locally and regionally.

NewOrg will take the best of what each founding organization had to offer its schools and scale it for all schools interested in participating. It will network colleagues and schools of different ideologies and geographies to address shared challenges and capitalize on shared opportunities, while still providing distinct services and counsel to schools from within similar streams. It also will identify those activities that can be provided across religious affiliations and, in other cases, deliver programs and services that may be denomination or affiliation-specific.

In a joint statement, the Planning Team said, “The formation of a single integrated day school organization will optimize the quality of services we provide to the schools we serve, giving them the resources they need to build the strongest possible future. It is a definitive affirmation of the centrality of day schools in Jewish life and reflects our dedication to seeing Jewish learning, literacy, culture and commitment flourish in a rapidly changing world … we can all benefit from the knowledge, expertise and ideas of others, even if we express our Jewishness differently.  As one organization, we can unify to strengthen day schools, what we believe to be the core of the Jewish educational enterprise.”

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