A Walk Through the Halls

Our classes have been in full swing for quite some time now for the 2014-2015 school year. As usual, the first few months of school have flown by quickly. We have celebrated so many meaningful holidays, and we already have our sights on Thanksgiving and Chanukkah! (Mitzvah plug: All parents should have received flyers asking if you would like to participate in this year’s projects for the Jacksonville community, such as donating money/food for Thanksgiving baskets, if you would like to sponsor children for holiday gifts, if you can send in gift cards for families/children who would otherwise not be able to celebrate the season. Please call the office if you would like more information.)

 

I am always amazed at all the wonderful learning that takes place within or walls. Right here in the Jacksonville Jewish Center, we are so blessed to have an entire academy from which to choose the path that is best for our families and children. Only nine, yes NINE, schools in North America have the luxury of educating children from age one through eighteen within their own synagogue, which offers financial and institutional support.

 

As I walked thought the halls in a given week, I saw our youngest students in the DuBow Preschool learning about Noah’s Ark and how to treat animals through the Jewish lens. Those lessons led up to an in-house petting farm visiting our campus. I walked through the lower grades of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and heard lessons on space, Earth, Judaic studies about G-d and Creation, all leading up to a visit to the IMAX theater to see a 3D movie about outer space. Meanwhile, the middle school students were on their annual retreat to Camp Ramah Darom to bond, study, pray in nature and experience Judaism outside of the Academy walls.

 

Visiting the halls on a Wednesday afternoon gives me even more students to see! The Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School is full of excitement with their newly-designed program including cooking, art, music, prayers and field trips. (Did you miss Hazzan dressed as Noah at the Jacksonville Zoo??) A few hours later in the day, the synagogue welcomes our older students for Hebrew High and USY activities and learning. They have had traditional learning, such as discussions about being thankful or about Israel, and they also have social action, such as making blankets to send to Israel.

 

Oh, and don’t forget, we have scouts of all ages! Girls and boys are here on our campus several different days of the week for indoor and outdoor scouting experiences. Our Setzer Youth Education component includes camping, youth groups, scouting and Hebrew High, so there is something for almost all ages of our community.

 

Galinsky Academy offers something for everyone. Even on Shabbat, our students have programming from preschool age through middle school, and high schoolers are always welcome to come lead some prayers, show us what you’ve learned, and keep those davening skills sharp! (Of course, we welcome younger participants as well!)

 

As a reminder, your lay and professional leaders are always here for you and welcome your feedback. We are especially fortunate to have our new Head of Schools, Rabbi Jim Rogozen, leading the Galinsky Academy this year and into the future. We have many years of greatness behind us, many wonderful leaders among us today, and under Rabbi Rogozen’s direction, we will continue to teach our Jewish leaders and adults of tomorrow.

 

For the 2014 – 2015 school year, your Galinsky Academy Education/Youth Cabinet consists of:

Voting Members of the Cabinet (except where noted):

Officers of the Education Cabinet:

Chairperson/

Chair of Committee on Trustees – Alyse Nathans

 

Vice Chairperson/

Co-Chair of HSE – Lynn Maiman

 

Treasurer/

Chair of Budget/Finance Comm. – Josh Shilts

 

Standing Committees & Positions (in addition to those listed above):

Immediate Past Chair – Mauri Mizrahi

Development – Andrea Mail

Head Support and Evaluation – Jon Israel

Day School – Gabrielle Bubis

Preschool – Lynda Gridley

Religious School – Stacy Leach

USY/High School – Faye Mizrahi

PTA President – Yakov Feig

Executive VP of the JJC – Rick Plotkin

Youth VP of the JJC – Dave Bielski

 

Members at Large:

Jesse Bannon

Rachelle Gottlieb

Karianne Jaffa (non-voting)

Erica Jolles

Debby Kaye

Dan Leveton

Penny Marks

Sheri Weiss

Morrie Zimmerman

 

Non-Voting Members of the Cabinet:

Head of Academy/Head of MJGDS- Rabbi Rogozen

Religious School Principal – Lois Tompkins

Preschool Principal – Shereen Canady

USY High/Youth Director – Steven Resnick

Rabbi – Rabbi Lubliner

Rabbi – Rabbi Tilman

Hazzan – Hazzan Holzer

JJC Executive Director – Don Kriss

JJC President – Fred Pozin

Past JJC Vice Presidents of Education

 

Summary of business from the October Education/Youth Cabinet meeting:

DuBow Preschool:

We currently have 7 classes. Our staff is working hard to achieve a 5-star rating in the Guiding Stars of Duval Program. We are so proud to share that in our first assessments, our classrooms scored among the highest in Duval County! These fall assessments determined our baseline scores and will be used to set mentoring and improvement goals for the year.   Our final scores will be determined by the final assessments performed in the spring. We are creating a curriculum/program  guide that will be ready for prospective families for the upcoming admissions season. **We have a BIG preschool anniversary year coming: 2017-2018 will be our 75th anniversary year!  We would like to start a steering committee that would help us to plan for a year full of events beginning September 2017.**

Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School:

We have 76 students, with Kindergarten and first grade numbers having doubled from last year.  In preparation for this year, Lois and her team restructured the Hebrew School programming.  The same curriculum is being taught through a new and more exciting program called “Judaism through the Arts.”  The students have shorter classes, switch classes, and learn in fun ways and through art. Additionally, a Madrichim program has begun where Galinsky Academy students from 8th – 12th grades volunteer their time to help tutor children, take attendance, and keep the groups organized during classroom changes.  We are looking to increase the participants in the Madrichim program (in which High School students can earn community service hours).  Parent participation has increased significantly this year, and there is a positive, supportive atmosphere in the school.

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School:

The middle school Ramah retreat took place in early November, and many grades participated in student-led conferences also in early November. Intergenerational Day will be held the day before Thanksgiving. As our new Head of School, Rabbi Rogozen would like to work on several areas, including Judaic studies curriculum, reviewing admissions criteria for K and MS, partnering with other organizations in the community to increase school’s visibility and offer enriching experiences to students. Our marketing message for this year is to focus on our school’s uniquely Jewish identity and to address and dispel myths regarding Day School education. We will focus on transition years—pre K to K and 4th/5th to Middle School. We now have a part-time guidance counselor, who is a JFCS employee. She comes once a week, and she is working with parents, students, and faculty to make sure that everyone is involved and informed on situations and ways to help. We also have a special education professional, who is a JFCS employee. She is currently with us one day a week, but we hope to increase her hours. Jewish Studies grades are no longer pass/fail in the middle school due to a new and exciting opportunity for our students to get high school credits for two years of foreign language!

Setzer Youth Education:

We have so many wonderful staff members and volunteers this year.Our new Youth Director is Steven Resnick, and our Youth Assistant is Sarah Zakikhani (and she also works in the Day School office part time). This year’s Chalutzim advisers are Carrie Bielski and Jaimee Mitzmacher. Kadima advisers are Maura Silverstein and Matty Golub. USY advisers are Amy Shuman & Rosi Iskowitz. We also have very active scouting groups! Overseeing Boy Scouts is Allan Andrew. Cub Scouts is led by Marty Pett. Overseeing Girl Scouts Juniors is Rebecca Fixel. Girl Scouts Brownies leaders are Nancy Davis and Emily Carpenter. Girl Scouts Daisies leaders are Naida Gould, Jaimee Mitzmacher & Tracy Hibert. Rabbi Tilman is overseeing Shabbat programming, as well as the educational portion of Hebrew High. Rabbi Lubliner is overseeing the Siyyum program for our 12th graders. Meanwhile, we are also reshaping the Setzer Youth Summer Camp Program, and that committee is being co-chaired by Gayle Bailys and Melanie Setzer. Our lead staff for Setzer Youth Summer Camp (older than the Preschool age children) will be Steven Resnick and Rabbi Tilman. USY and Kadima conventions have already begun! USY went to Congregation Ohev Shalom in Orlando, and Kadima convention is from November 21st to 23rd at Camp Thunderbird in Apopka. Enjoy!

Institutional Advancement (formerly known as Development, Marketing and Admissions):

We will be placing ads for DuBow Preschool, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, and Galinsky Academy in the Jacksonville Jewish News, Mandarin News, and Creekline News. We are also starting a Parent Ambassador program, which will provide guidelines and training to volunteers on how to represent the Day School in the community. Our marketing message for the school year is to push our uniquely Jewish identity (i.e.: all private, independent schools offer state-of-the-art technology…we teach your child how to be a mensch as well) and to address and dispel myths regarding Jewish day school education (too Jewish, secular education not up to par, etc.). We also are focusing on a couple of transitions that are critical to our enrollment numbers; namely, the move from Pre-K to Kindergarten, and then from Fifth Grade to Middle School. We are committed to doing a better job of marketing to our DuBow Preschool families, particularly in the Pre-K year. We have refreshed the L’Dor V’Dor mailout brochure, and it will be in the mail in early to mid November, with follow up calls being placed to each recipient thereafter. Our goal is to have 100% parent participation in our L’Dor V’Dor Annual Campaign for Education. We want to send all our Galinsky Academy students out into the wider world proud of their Jewish identity and traditions. Studies show that children involved in Jewish education and synagogue life are more likely to remain Jewishly active in later years. An anonymous donor will generously match your contribution dollar for dollar, so when you receive your letter, please give what you can. Our Jewish adults of tomorrow need us today!

Budget/Finance Committee:

We are reviewing several items, including moving our Day School and Preschool registration dates and financial assistance application deadlines to January (earlier than in the past) to help us better plan our budget for the next school year. We will be strict regarding deadline dates, which will be advertised widely to parents.

Security:

Thanks to a Homeland Security grant given to the JJC, we have had 60 additional cameras installed, and all external entrances now have card readers.

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My Wish for Our Graduates

 

In a few days, the end of another successful school year will be upon us. We have plans for “An Evening of Celebration” on Wednesday, June 4th (7:15 p.m. at the JJC) when we will take part in Shavuot services led by our students, thank our L’Dor V’Dor donors for their support, express gratitude to Rabbi Olitzky, and recognize Dr. Mitzmacher for his four years of outstanding leadership. Just based on this list alone, we can tell that we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for.

In the past few weeks, we have had Consecration for our 1st graders and graduation for our 7th graders of Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School, graduation for our Martin J. Gottlieb Day School 8th graders, and graduation for our Siyyum 12th graders. We will finish out the year with our DuBow Preschool VPK students graduating and moving up to kindergarten.

At Galinsky Academy, we educate over 300 students each year, and as they progress from one program to another, I kvell as I watch them grow and mature. My wish for them is that someday they will look back at their time in the Galinsky Academy, as I do, and they will want the same love, education, warmth, Jewish tradition and sense of community for their own children as I want, and am getting, for mine.

Business reports:

 

Head of School Search Committee:

We have so much business, especially the announcement of our incoming Head of School, Rabbi Jim Rogozen. He officially begins work on July 1st, but he is already in touch with Dr. Mitzmacher and other staff members to ensure a smooth transition. We look forward to welcoming him and his wife, Marci, to our JJC/Galinsky Academy community.

Thank you to Mauri Mizrahi, Rick Plotkin and the entire HOS search committee. Their commitment was more than anyone could have hoped for, and our children will certainly reap the rewards.

Head of Academy Report:


KoleinuJax is now part of Jewish Family & Community Services.  JFCS hired a half time professional, Cindy Land, to do a needs assessment for the Jewish community of Jacksonville.  Next year, Cindy will be on campus 2 days a week as a special needs educator for all of our schools. She will be the case manager for the children of the Academy who qualify as having special needs. She will be part of faculty/staff pre-planning in the fall.

 

Committee on Trustees:

Unfortunately, Rich Davis will be stepping down as Marketing/Admissions Committee Chair and Michael Setzer will be stepping down as Academy Budget/Finance Chair.  We appreciate all they have done during their service on the Academy Cabinet, and we are thankful that they both will continue to offer their expertise when needed.

Due to the overlapping goals of promoting the Academy, the Education Cabinet will eliminate the Marketing/Admissions Committee and will have a combined Development/Marketing Committee.

 

Budget/Finance Committee:

The Preschool and Day School are still reviewing appeals, and this committee is doing its best to help all families.

This year, each family is required to pay a minimum of 25% of tuition.

 

 Head Support & Evaluation Committee:


Parent and faculty surveys will be used to help evaluate Dr. Mitzmacher.  This committee will also use input from Dr. Mitzmacher to evaluate the work of the committee and for ideas on how to best help Rabbi Jim Rogozen transition into his new role as HOS.

 

Marketing/Admissions Committee:

We are working on improving signage and banners at the JJC entrance.  Goals for the future include our new Marketing Director, Claudia Margolis, tracking how many VPK students become K students, how many new students become JJC members, and more.

 

Day School Committee:

The 8th grade has just returned from their first parent-free trip to NY with Edith, and they had a great time.  This year the DS instituted a bring your own iPad pilot program in 4th and 5th grade, and the 21st Century Learning team  has been monitoring it. It has been successful and the program will continue into next year.

 

Preschool Committee:

We will have the largest 1 year old group this coming year compared to what we have had in several years.  More parents are choosing 5  day instead of 3 day programs and are having their children stay later.  We have Shalom Baby and a Jewish Moms Play Group, and the moms involved are bringing their friends and advocating for the Preschool. Some of the new Shalom Baby parents are also becoming Center members.
The preschool parent survey was very positive.
Shereen Canady is working on the preschool portion of Camp KiTov.

 

Religious School Committee:

Only 25% of parents answered the parent survey, but overall satisfaction went up.
Lois gave the committee a proposal for the new BASRS vision statement and new components proposed to the RS curriculum and programming. There will be more of a focus on online Hebrew–this is a trend in RS around the country.  With only 2 days a week and limited hours for RS, there isn’t enough time to teach Hebrew proficiency in the classroom.

 

Security:

We have had successful fire drills and lock-down drills.  The JJC has received a federal grant to install security cameras, and they will be placed in June.

 

Special Mazel Tov:

Shereen Canady received the Men’s Club Brit Hachinuch award at the PTA Teacher Appreciation Dinner!  She is so deserving, and we all congratulate her on this special educators’ award.

 

Before I say l’hitra’ot, be seeing you, I must thank Dr. Mitzmacher for his service and commitment to our schools. I have grown as a lay leader and have witnessed more hours of work behind the scenes than I can describe. From emails at 5:00 a.m. to meetings until 9:30 p.m., he has worked diligently for the success of our schools. Thank you. Luckily, Dr. Mitzmacher will be in our community next year to continue transitioning Rabbi Rogozen as much as necessary.

Thank you to all the Academy Cabinet members, our committee members, teachers, staff and all the JJC staff as well. Without all of you, we would not be the exceptional educational institution of both secular and Judaic studies that we truly are today.

I hope to see you over the summer, and I look forward to seeing you all next year!

 Alyse Nathans

 

 

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From Generation to Generation – L’Dor V’Dor

Are you familiar with this Hebrew phrase, “l’dor v’dor”? If you receive emails from the Galinsky Academy, you have seen the phrase in reference to our annual fundraising campaign for education. Jewish organizations seem to like this phrase, and I guess it’s because it means that something is living or being passed on from one generation to the next. Most notably for us, as Jews, the phrase relates to our passing down of customs, prayers, beliefs, rituals and more from one generation of Jews to the next. What is at the core of all of this? Our Jewish education.

For me, l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, includes four generations of family right here at the Jacksonville Jewish Center and in the schools of what we now call the Galinsky Academy.

First, my grandparents, having come from Russia, perfected their English at the JJC. Then their three daughters, including my mother, attended and later taught in the religious school at the JJC. Third generation comes to me: I attended all four of the JJC schools.

I began in preschool… I actually just saw my Pre-K teacher in Mandarin last week, and I see many of my former classmates often around our schools! I went to the Day School, then Religious School to finish my Bat Mitzvah training (since Day School ended with 6th grade), and then to Hebrew High School. I look back so fondly at all my years, teachers and friends. In fact, I cherish my education here so much that I can’t imagine my own girls attending school anywhere else.

That brings us to the current, fourth generation of my family in the schools of Galinsky Academy.  Due to their age differences, my girls’ secular and Judaic studies cover a wide range of levels. While one is learning to add and subtract up to 20 and read and speak beginners’ Hebrew, another creates blog posts with video, links, photos and references, writes D’var Torah in English and Hebrew, recites prayers and speaks basic Hebrew. The oldest attained the needed education to advance to AP/Honors classes in high school, chant Torah, lead prayers at a moment’s notice, and so much more. This is what you find when you meet a family with three children of different ages who are attending various schools of the Galinsky Academy.

I could not be more proud…or more thankful for what we offer here in the Galinsky Academy.

Each and every one of our children deserve the best possible education in whatever form is appropriate for our particular family. That is why Galinsky Academy is so special and should be treasured by all of us here in our community and also by our families near and far. Whether you choose only DuBow Preschool, only Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School or Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, Makom Hebrew High or any combination thereof, each child will receive the best education, the utmost care and attention, and the love that only our halls can offer.

Now, think of the next generations, l’dor v’dor…. Imagine this: Your child is grown and remembers his or her education, values and core beliefs as he or she was taught here at Galinsky Academy. Years from now, your child is the parent on the bimah, while his or her child is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child chanting the prayers.

What have we done?   We have given Judaism to the future. From generation to generation. It’s not only what we do now for us, but think of how we are contributing to future generations of the Galinsky Academy and how we are certainly adding to the richness of future Jewish communities and families potentially all over the world.

What we do and what we give today does make a difference. Please give what you can. Please make the Galinsky Academy a priority when you determine where and to which organizations you will give this year and in the future. We will all benefit, and our children’s children could benefit, too.

L’Dor V’Dor is the name for the Annual Giving Campaign at the Galinsky Academy. Tuition and endowments cover only 80% of our annual expenses. Annual Giving is needed to fill this gap to support essential school programs that directly benefit every student at the four Academy Schools and to provide scholarship funds to families in need of assistance.

For more information about contributing to L’Dor V’Dor, contact Carol Wagnon, Development Director, at carol.wagnon@mjgds.org or visit www.galinskyacademy.org for online donations.

Thank you for your support.

 

Now for Committee updates….

Head of Academy Report

  • JFCS has a hired a special needs part-time employee.  She has met with all school professionals, and we’re working on ways to see if her services will be of need and how it will fit with the Academy.
  • Community of Kindness will be expanded to include more programming for the Religious School and Preschool.

Development Committee

  • We are exploring different avenues for raising funds, such as outside grants and reaching out to more community members to support the Academy.
  • We are planning a major donor event for January 2014. This will be hosted by the Selevan, DuBow, and Gottlieb Families. Dr. Mitzmacher will update the major donors.
  • We are inviting those who have donated at least $5,000 over the last 4 years.
  • The goal of the event is education, inspiration, and community building.
  • Our goal for the current L’Dor V’Dor campaign, which runs through May 31, 2014, is $400,000. This includes an anonymous match of up to $130,000, so we need to actually raise $270,000.
  • Last year we raised $330,000
  • During the 50th anniversary year (2011 – 2012), we raised $550,000

Budget/Finance Committee

  • We have a new, accelerated timetable and deadlines for financial assistance to help in our budgeting process for the next school year.  Financial assistance applications are due on line to SMART Tuition by 2/28/14.

Committee on Trustees

  • All Committees and the Education Cabinet will assess themselves using a mini board assessment tool at their next meetings. We will do this twice during each 2-year term to look for areas of success and opportunities for improvements.

Head Support and Evaluation Committee

  •  This year we are looking at how to support our next HOS, such as how to introduce him or her to our community

Marketing/Admissions Committee

  • All websites have been redesigned except for MAKOM’s, which will be up shortly
  • Currently have ads in Jewish News
  • They have been brainstorming marketing ideas for the Religious School

Day School Committee

  • Consensus is growing for having middle school uniforms.
  • Re-enrollment materials going out much earlier this year. They will be out before winter break and will include new collateral.
  • Middle School is working with a South African software company, called Jewish Interactive, to create and produce a Purim application. Students are working on all aspects of the job with respective professionals at Jewish Interactive, such as marketing, design, budget and more. Visit the blog for more information.

 Preschool

  • One of our challenges for enrollment is the number of new preschools that have opened recently.
  • Several new children have enrolled recently, and we will open a new, younger doobonim class in January.
  • Inter-generational day was very successful. We dedicated the preschool kitchen in memory of Esther Ohayon.
  • The Hanukkah program was very well attended and the VPK children loved having their 4th and 5th grade buddies participate as well.
  • VPK visited River Garden for Hanukkah.
  • We have MJGDS Middle School students from 8th grade volunteering in some of our classes as part of their mitzvah projects.
  • We have many playgroups – Sundays at playgrounds, shalom baby, music and movement. These groups offer us ways to bring people into the preschool and hopefully increase enrollment.

Religious School/Makom Hebrew High School

  • Religious School had a great Hanukkah Program with parents.
  • We have 4 Madrachim (teen volunteers)
  • Parent involvement has increased, and we have two parent volunteers plus room parents for each grade.
  • We are offering a Hebrew class for parents on Sunday mornings and have 12 people registered.
  • PTA has made a big effort to communicate with and include the religious school families, and this has definitely helped with involvement.

Security Update from Don Kriss, JJC Executive Director

  • The JJC and the Galinsky Academy in cooperation with local law enforcement have run safety drills.
  • The JJC has received a security grant from Homeland Security. This will be used on various enhancements, including video surveillance, ID’s for employees to enter the synagogue, bollards in front of the synagogue glass entrance.

Head of School Search Committee

  • Members of the Academy’s committees and teachers/staff were asked to answer questions regarding their vision for the Academy for the next 5 years. This information is being used to aid in the search process.
  • The position is posted with Schechter Network & DSLTI (Day School Leadership Training Institute).
  • We have had 3 applicants, with whom we did Skype interviews in late November. At this time, we are not moving forward with any of them, but we will continue to search for new applicants and will post blog updates as news is available.

 

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Our Kids Are Depending on Us

Dear Parents and Friends of the Galinsky Academy,

Although the schools of the Galinsky Academy have been in session for several weeks now, I’d like to say welcome back since this is my first blog post of the school year.  I know we have many new faces among us, as well, so bruchim habaim,   ברוכים הבאים  to all of you who are new to our schools and/or our community.  We have surely started the school year with many activities and holidays, and unfortunately, we also began the year with the loss of our dear teacher and friend, Esther Ohayon.  She touched so many of us and brought joy to many of our children’s lives, may her memory be for a blessing.

Through all of the joy and sadness of the beginning of the school year, our professionals and lay leaders have remained focused and hard at work to carry out their responsibilities of ensuring another successful year of the Academy.  You likely see the professionals often as you come and go in the halls or carpool lines for the DuBow Preschool, Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School, Martin J. Gottlieb Day School or Makom.  Meanwhile, you might wonder who your lay leaders are and what we are doing.

I explained some of our responsibilities in my blog post of September 2012, and I’ll give another brief overview below.

I am Alyse Nathans, the Executive VP of Education for the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  I am also honored to serve as the Chairperson for the Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet.  The Cabinet works similar to a board of trustees.  We have representatives from all of our Academy’s schools, the JJC and the community at large.  We meet four times per year to discuss and vote on issues or policies pertaining to all of our schools.  In between our four meetings, several standing committees meet to discuss and carry out more detailed work pertaining to each of the four schools, the budget, marketing/admissions, development (fundraising), and supporting and evaluating our Head of School.

The members of the Cabinet are as follows for the 2013-2015 (two school year) term:

Voting Members of the Cabinet (except where noted):

 Officers of the Education Cabinet:

Chairperson/                                       

Chair of Committee on Trustees –       Alyse Nathans

Vice Chairperson/

Co-Chair of HSE –                              Lynn Maiman

Treasurer/

Chair of Budget/Finance Comm.       Michael Setzer

             Standing Committees & Positions (in addition to those listed above):

Immediate Past Chair –                       Mauri Mizrahi

Development –                                       Andrea Mail  

Head Support and Evaluation –         Jon Israel

Marketing & Admissions –                  Rich Davis

Day School –                                          Gabrielle Bubis

Preschool –                                             Lynda Gridley

Religious School/High School –        Faye Mizrahi

Religious School/High School –        Stacy Leach

PTA President –                                    Yakov Feig

Executive VP of the JJC –                   Rick Plotkin

             Members at Large:

Jesse Bannon

Rachelle Gottlieb

Karianne Jaffa  (non-voting)

Erica Jolles

Debby Kaye

Dan Leveton

Penny Marks

Sheri Weiss

Morrie Zimmerman

 Non-Voting Members of the Cabinet:

 Head of Academy/Head of MJGDS-Jon Mitzmacher

Religious School/Makom Principal – Lois Tompkins

Preschool Principal –                            Shereen Canady

Hazzan –                                                 Hazzan Holzer

Rabbi –                                                    Rabbi Lubliner

Rabbi –                                                    Rabbi Olitzky

JJC Executive Director –                     Don Kriss

JJC President –                                      Fred Pozin

Past JJC Vice Presidents of Education

Now, to update you on the wonderful work that has already taken place this year….and we’ve only just begun!

Head of Academy Report:

  • Community of Kindness initiative is much further along this year than we were last year.  Stephanie Teitelbaum is our in-house coordinator.  Our program this year is based on the book The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.
  • Working on better parent education for SMART Tuition Management Systems, who handles the tuition payments for the Day School and Preschool.

Committee on Trustees:

  • Held an in-house retreat for all Cabinet and subcommittee members in August.  We discussed and educated the group on our governance, budget, development and marketing.  The purpose of this was to enable our lay leaders to be more educated, be better ambassadors and to better serve our Academy families.
  • Working on a Cabinet evaluation tool
  • Voted to approve all committees’ strategic plans, so we have a 3-year vision for each committee.

 Budget/Finance Committee:

  • Motion was approved to move the financial assistance application deadline to an earlier date to coincide with Day School and Preschool registration.  This will allow the committee to use actual dollars needed instead of estimations when planning for DS and PS budgets.

Development Committee:

  • New Development Director, Carol Wagnon, started last Spring. 
  • Focus will be on annual giving and relationship-building, not on events as has been in the past.
  • Goal is to have 100% participation by all lay leaders, Academy parents, faculty and staff in L’Dor V’Dor annual fund for education.
  • New brochure has been created and will be mailed out later in October.
  • Link for on-line giving will be available soon.
  • Please support our Academy – The tuition we pay does not fully cover the costs of operating our Academy.  Funds will be matched by a generous, anonymous donor, and all money goes to the Jewish education of our children, our future.

 Head Support & Evaluation:

  • Dr. Mitzmacher’s review was conducted earlier this school year.
  • Committee is here to serve as a sounding board for the Head of Academy and to make connections in the community as needed, such as for development efforts.

 Marketing/Admissions:

  • Will use “drip” marketing this year – low cost, consistent marketing
  • Researching ways to bring more Julington Creek and Beaches families into the Academy
  • Working to increase press coverage of Academy events and successes
  • New web sites are being rolled out for all schools, so as to be more appealing to prospective families

 Day School Committee:

  • 134 students enrolled
  • One-to-one iPad program is in full swing for 4th and 5th grades
  • Students in grades 4 – 8 are part of an advisory program, where they each have an advisor with whom they can meet, and they also meet monthly in small groups.  This is part of the Community of Kindness initiative.
  • Grades 4-8 will conduct student-led conferences on conference day, so students take ownership of their grades and behavior.
  • Middle School students joined with Torah Academy middle school to build a sukkah for Orly Ohayon at Shands hospital.  This was their idea, not the staff’s, and they built the sukkah in the pouring rain!
  • Middle School Jewish Studies grades are now pass/fail instead of letter grades.

 Preschool Committee:

  • 70 students enrolled
  • Many programs in place to introduce families with infants to our school, such as Shalom Baby, Music & Movement program, Sundays at the playground for ages 0 – 2, and Gan Shabbat
  • Promoting a Havurah program for preschool families
  • Back to School night was October 8th.
  • Working to revise/update nut policy

 Religious School Committee:

  • 74 students enrolled
  • Hosted a parent forum in September
  • Looking for parent liaisons for each class
  • Each teacher has a laptop for classroom use and for increased blogging/classroom updates
  • Self-paced Hebrew program has increased to include grades 3 – 6.

 Makom:

  • 33 students enrolled, but could grow as formal classes begin October 16th.
  • October 2nd was a night of discussion in tribute to Orly and Esther Ohayon, and October 9th was a parent/student dinner and information night.
  • Grade 8 has been added to Makom this year, instead of being part of Religious School.
  • Makom fees will cover dues for USY.
  • New structure this year will include pods, monthly themes, social action, and hopefully reaching out to local community for combined study and events.

Security Update:

  • Staff and faculty have completed safety training.
  • New fire safety system has been approved by Fire Marshall.

 Head of School Search Committee:

  • Mauri Mizrahi and Rick Plotkin are the Co-Chairs for the Search Committee.  The committee includes representation from all Academy schools, special needs, professional educators/administrators, and community members.  Thanks to the following for agreeing to serve:  Mel Gottlieb, Debby Kaye, Jeff Leach, Karina Jeifez, Cheryl Plotkin, Ellen Rubens, Gaby Bubis and Alyse Nathans.

Shout out and Thank You to Yakov Feig, our PTA President, and his board for their amazing efforts already this school year.  They are working diligently to keep all schools of the Academy informed of events and fundraisers, and they already organized a very successful “Tailgate Shabbat” with 200 people in attendance.  Please check the PTA blog for more upcoming events.

As I’ve said before, “if you’re still reading…” you can see that we, the lay leaders, are here for you.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns…  Or compliments :)  As you can tell from the lists above, we are constantly working along with the faculty and staff to improve the Galinsky Academy and to make our schools the best choices for educating the Jewish children of Jacksonville. 

Our kids are depending on us to do so.

 

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להתראות

We’re not saying “Shalom.”  We’re saying “L’hitraot/ להתראות”                         

As the end of the school year fast approaches, I hear my kids counting the days until summer break.  Don’t get me wrong.  They have all had amazing school years in their respective grades in the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and Makom Hebrew High School, but, like many kids (and parents alike!), they look forward to a little break from studying and waking up early.

Meanwhile, they and I are so glad that we don’t have to say “good-bye,” just “l’hitraot.”  Some   common translations for l’hitraot are “see you soon,” “be seeing you,” or “until we meet again.”

So, let’s look at the work that has taken place since I last wrote, some of which will continue through the summer, until we see each other again.

Committee on Trustees:

  • Profiled all committee and Cabinet members
  • Created a Galinsky Academy mission statement, as follows:  The mission of the Galinsky Academy of the Jacksonville Jewish Center is to provide the highest quality education through the finest teachers, a comprehensive curriculum, and cutting edge technology to Jewish children of all ages.  The Galinsky Academy consists of the DuBow Preschool, the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, and the Makom Hebew High School.

Budget/Finance Committee:

  • Created procedure for awarding financial assistance
  • Worked with Dr. Mitzmacher in the actual awarding of financial assistance for 2013-2014 school year (Please note that committee members do not see names of applicants during the process.  All decisions are based on financial/special circumstance information, and names are not disclosed.)

Development Committee:

  • Assisted Dr. Mitzmacher in interviewing candidates for our part time Director of Development, which led to the hiring of Carol Wagnon.  She began work in May.
  • In conjunction with the JJC Youth Committee, produced a highly successful tribute weekend for Gayle Bailys, retiring JJC Youth Director.  Gayle was awarded the Rabbi David Gaffney Leadership in Education Award.
  • L’Dor V’Dor annual campaign for education has raised over $305,000 thus far.  These funds go toward scholarships and operating costs for all of our schools.  The closing date for collecting all pledges is June 30th, so please call the JJC office to make your donation if you have not done so already!

 Head Support and Evaluation Committee:

  • Data for Dr. Mitzmacher’s performance review was collected through parent surveys, self-assessments, and school data such as standardized test scores.
  • Dr. Mitzmacher’s review as Head of the Day School and Head of the Academy will take place later this month.

Marketing/Admissions Committee:

  • Has begun work on website redesign for all 4 schools
  • Completed a professional photo-shoot to obtain photos for website and other marketing use
  • Will continue to work on public relations efforts in getting the secular press to recognize the Academy

Day School Committee:

  • EdJEWcon took place in April and was highly successful with over 100 schools, agencies and foundation participants from around the world.  Local private schools and the public were invited to the keynote address.  The highlight of the conference was the inclusion of 4th and 5th grade students “speed geeking” where they actually taught conference attendees!
  • Excited to announce that there will be a dedicated science instructor for Kindergarten through 8th grade beginning next year.
  • Added new sports, so now we offer girls volleyball, boys basketball and a run club.
  • Next year MJGDS would like to get into a basketball league and create a booster club.
  • Graduation for our current 8th graders took place June 6th – Mazel Tov!!

Preschool Committee:

  • This past year’s science component was very successful, and Mr. Greg Nagel will be continuing for next year
  • 21st Century integration has occurred in the DuBow Preschool through the use of iPads, laptops and projectors
  • Want to focus more next year on Shalom Baby feeling a part of our community in an effort to gain more preschool students through this program

Religious School:

  • Worked on revising the attendance policy
  • Will continue a new Hebrew curriculum, which was very  successful this year
  • Will integrate laptops for each teacher for next year, so they may make better use of 21st Century learning
  • Next school year, 8th grade religious school students will be part of Makom Hebrew High School instead of the Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School
  • 1st grade Consecration took place in May – Mazel Tov!!
  • 7th and 8th grade graduation also took place in May – Mazel Tov!!

Makom Hebrew High School:

  • The Department of Experiential Education, which falls under the JJC umbrella (not the Galinsky Academy) is new for next year and will help with synergy between Makom and our JJC youth.  As information for all our parents, the JJC has hired Ezra Flom as its first Director of Experiential Education.  He will begin July 1st and will be responsible for working with the Center’s youth groups, Camp Ki Tov and scouting programs.
  • Some changes for next year’s curriculum may include having monthly themes with meetings rotating among experiential, text based and social action.
  • Community members will be invited to teach
  • Would like to implement a madrikhim program where Makom students work with Religious School students in teaching assistant capacities

Whew!  As you can see, a lot of work is taking place, and many staff and lay leaders will be working through the summer to ensure another successful year to come!

Most of the Education Cabinet members will remain the same for next year, but we do have a few changes.  Mauri Mizrahi, the immediate past VP of Education, will no longer be the Chair of the Committee on Trustees.  Thankfully, she will continue on as a member of that committee, and I will take on the added responsibility as the Committee Chair.

Claudia Margolis Milian has agreed to continue on as a member of the Marketing/Admissions Committee, but with a new infant (mazel tov!!), she has stepped down as the Chairperson.  She will be replaced by Rich Davis, who has already been instrumental in our work this year in creating the new logos for the Academy and all four schools.  He is currently spearheading the work on updating all web sites.

Many thanks to Rebecca Fixel for her three years as PTA President, and congratulations to Yakov Feig, our new Galinsky Academy PTA President.  As such, Yakov will also sit on the Education Cabinet.

A huge thank you to Michael DuBow, immediate past JJC President, for his guidance and support during this past year.  His wisdom, along with that of Bruce Horovitz, Don Kriss, Rabbi Lubliner, Mauri Mizrahi and Jon Mitzmacher have all been invaluable to me.

Congratulations to Fred Pozin, our new JJC President!  He served last year on the Education Cabinet as part of his role as the JJC Executive VP, and I look forward to continuing to work with him during the next two years.

Welcome to Rick Plotkin, new JJC Executive Vice President, who will sit on the Education Cabinet as a liaison to the JJC Executive Board along with me.

Finally, thank you to all the other members of the Education Cabinet, the numerous volunteers, teachers and staff in all four schools, and all the staff and volunteers of the JJC who enable the Galinsky Academy to function as the top-notch educational institution that it is!

I hope you have a fun, safe summer!
L’hitraot,
Alyse Nathans

 

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Our Children’s Home Away from Home, the Galinsky Academy

I don’t know about you, but for me, this school year is absolutely flying by.  I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Galinsky Academy and Jacksonville Jewish Center professionals in a manner that has been new for me.  I have also had the privilege to meet and work with many volunteers for whom I am so grateful.

As our lives are busy with family, work, volunteering and more, we don’t usually realize all the meetings and planning that happen behind-the-scenes to make events, activities, and yes, our own Galinsky Academy exist and thrive as they do.

I would like to highlight some of the amazing activities and work that has happened since I last wrote.  Some of these achievements you may already know about, and some may be news to you.  Either way, I hope you join me in recognizing and better appreciating this wonderful home away from home that I personally feel so fortunate to have for our children, our Galinsky Academy.

Achievements and Activities for the Committees of the Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet, September 2012 – Present:

 Marketing/Admissions Committee:

  • all four schools are using their new logos as part of the Galinsky Academy umbrella logo
  • curriculum guides and brochures have been created
  • several innovative ads and articles have been published around Jacksonville
  • new designs for the websites and social media campaigns for reaching out to prospective families are all under way

Committee on Trustees:

  • reviewed our group of lay leadership to become better aware of our representation of Academy parents, non-school parents,  JJC members and non-members, professional expertise, community representation, and more
  • continuously reviews the processes in place and the workings of the committees listed here to ensure proper governance and handling of Galinsky Academy policies

Development Committee:

  • Andrea Mail became the new Chairperson as of January 2013
  • in conjunction with the Day School committee, solicited volunteers for the Federation’s Super Sunday event and won a cash prize for having the 2nd most volunteers
  • a search is in progress for a development professional to work part-time on staff and to benefit all four schools of the Academy
  • plans are underway for a June 1st – 2nd L’Dor V’Dor weekend event.  We will honor Gayle Bailys, have entertainment, and focus on community-building as well as fundraising for our annual L’Dor V’Dor campaign.
  • working to publicize the Create a Jewish Legacy program, where participants can leave a bequest to the Academy

Budget/Finance Committee:

  • worked with Dr. Mitzmacher for the 2013-2014 Galinsky Academy budget after he had already worked with each of the school heads
  • budget may need to be revised in late April based on tuition assistance decisions and the funds available.  Some unknowns to-date are the amount of the Federation allocation, which is used strictly for tuition assistance, and the final amount of the L’Dor V’Dor campaign, which is currently in progress
  • a suggestion was made and approved that the marketing budget should be one line item for the entire Academy and not separated out by school.  This will allow for more flexibility in the use of our marketing funds.

Head of School Support & Evaluation Committee:

  • this committee has been available to provide support to Dr. Mitzmacher
  • the process has begun to evaluate Dr. Mitzmacher as Head of the Academy for the current school year.  Please be sure to fill out your surveys (see individual school e-newsletters).

Preschool Committee:

  • approved a tuition freeze for the 2013-2014 school year
  • approved allowing full-day VPK or year-round VPK families to be considered for financial aid
  • new marketing approach includes open houses with activities, raffles and opportunities to bring non-school friends, such as the science show that was held in February

Day School Committee:

  • edJEWcon is fast approaching!  RSVP at edjewcon@mjgds.org to attend the free opening keynote speaker, April 29th at 9:00 a.m.  Come listen, learn and represent MJGDS as we welcome educators from across North America!
  • approved changing the Middle School trip from a 6-8th grade trip with many parents to an 8th grade-only trip without parents
  • new uniforms (not handed down from older students) will have the new logo, and this will be required on all uniforms for the 2015-2016 school year
  • researched and will create a written “Nut Policy,” which will mirror what we already practice
  • discussions are underway for 4th and 5th grades to begin using iPads in place of their secular textbooks next year.  Judaic textbooks would still be needed.

Religious School/Makom Committee:

  • working with clergy team to reorganize and reorder core classes
  • changed Makom from a two-hour format with two classes each week to one seminar-type class, which lasts 1½ hours with different instructors each week

If you have read this far, you can see there is plenty of work going on.  It’s positive, forward-thinking, and especially wonderful for our children.

Please make sure to put our June 2nd L’Dor V’Dor event on your calendars now!  All four schools benefit from your support, and your gift helps ensure the Jewish education of our next generation.

Also remember to share with friends, family and neighbors what a top-notch education we have to offer here at the Galinsky Academy.  With four schools to meet the needs of any family, we can educate children from preschool through high school.  I live it every day through my own children, and I couldn’t be happier.

All the best,

Alyse Nathans

 

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Welcome to the First Year of the Galinsky Academy

I hope this message finds everyone doing well in the new school year and looking forward to a peaceful, meaningful  Jewish New Year.

The Galinsky Academy, the umbrella for all four schools at the Jacksonville Jewish Center, has been bustling with learning and excitement all through the summer as teachers and administrators prepared for this year and now into the 2012-2013 school year as the students have arrived!  The newly named DuBow Preschool and the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School began classes on August 20th.  The Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School began classes on September 12th, and Makom Hebew High School will begin on October 3rd.

In our new structure as an academy, the Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet serves as the governing body.  The Governing Principles of the Cabinet state that “the Education Cabinet seeks to instill the articulated values of the Academy by encouraging inspired leadership committed to the Jewish tradition, community, and the development of our children as both students and human beings.  The Cabinet also undertakes to assure the stability of the Academy and safeguard its mission.”  If you would like to see the full Governing Principles, they are available in the MJGDS office.

This year, it is my honor to serve as your Vice President for Education and sit on the Executive Committee of the Jacksonville Jewish Center Board of Trustees.  As such, I also serve as the presiding officer, the Chairperson, of the Education Cabinet.  The Cabinet consists of a combination of lay leaders and professionals.  The complete list of members for this school year includes:

Voting Members of the Cabinet (except where noted):

Officers of the Education Cabinet:

Chairperson –                                       Alyse Nathans

Vice Chairperson –                               Lynn Maiman

Treasurer &

Budget/Finance Committee  –             Michael Setzer

Standing Committees & Positions:

Committee on Trustees &

Immediate Past Chairperson –         Mauri Mizrahi

Budget/Finance –                               Michael Setzer (also listed above)

Development –                                     Kim Glasgal (Non-voting)

Head Support and Evaluation –       Jon Israel

Marketing & Admissions –                Claudia Margolis Milian

Day School –                                        Gabrielle Bubis

Preschool –                                           Lynda Gridley

Religious School/High School –      Faye Mizrahi

Religious School/High School –        Stacy Leach

PTA President –                                   Rebecca Fixel (Non-voting)

Executive VP of the JJC –                   Fred Pozin

Members at Large:

Jesse Bannon

Karianne Jaffa

Erica Jolles

Debby Kaye

Dan Leveton

Penny Marks

Sheri Weiss

Morrie Zimmerman

Non-Voting Members of the Cabinet:

Head of Academy/Head of MJGDS- Jon Mitzmacher

Religious School Principal –                Lois Tompkins

Preschool Principal –                            Shereen Canady

Makom Principal/Hazzan –                 Hazzan Holzer

Rabbi –                                                     Rabbi Lubliner

Rabbi –                                                     Rabbi Olitzky

JJC Executive Director –                      Don Kriss

JJC President –                                       Michael DuBow

Past JJC Vice Presidents of Education

 

In the past, each individual school might have committees for budget/finance, development or marketing.  Now in the academy model, the Chairpeople work with their committees, called Communities, in their area of concern for the benefit and cohesion of all four schools. During the past school year, communities created 3-year strategic plans for all four schools and the Standing Committees.  Now the strategic plans of the Standing Committees are being modified and applied to account for all schools of the Galinsky Academy.  For example, the Marketing/Admissions Committee of the Education Cabinet works toward improving and increasing marketing and admissions for the Academy as a whole, not just for one of the four schools.

In addition, the Education Cabinet also allows for better communication across the Galinsky Academy.  As the Chairpeople and Directors of the schools come together to share ideas or concerns, their resources are increased by being part of the larger community instead of the stand-alone schools that we were before the Academy was formed.  They also will have more knowledge of the inner workings of all schools, which will allow for better communication and education of our parent body.

The work of the Education Cabinet has already begun.  Here are some highlights:

  • The Development Committee is already working on this year’s L’Dor V’Dor annual campaign for education.  We really appreciate our donors and encourage you to continue supporting this very worthy campaign for our children’s continued Jewish educations. There is a match from anonymous donors, so your gift is doubly valuable to the Galinsky Academy.
  • The Development  and Preschool Committees worked together to host a Donor Appreciation event for L’Dor V’Dor donors and to simultaneously introduce the new DuBow Preschool.  The event was well-attended with over 80 guests, and the beautiful new facilities were very well-received.  If you haven’t seen it for yourself, you should go by for a tour – You may want to go back to preschool!
  • The Marketing/Admissions Committee worked tirelessly through the summer to create new logos for the Galinsky Academy and all four schools.  The logos will be unveiled shortly, and I hope you will show them to others with excitement and pride, as I will.  Your support through word of mouth is invaluable to the success of the Galinsky Academy, and our new logos will give all of us yet another chance to share all the fresh and innovative things happening here in OUR schools.

….and there is more!  The first Academy-wide initiative has already started!  The “Creating a Community of Kindness” is a program in partnership with Jewish Family & Community Services.  This program will include all four Academy schools, our clergy, administrators, and teachers.  The focus is to create a culture where bullying and “mean” behavior are reduced or even eliminated.    Our children will learn how to be proactively inclusive and how to respond when seeing inappropriate behaviors toward others.  Programs for all age groups, from the DuBow Preschool through Makom Hebrew High School, have been developed and will be implemented all through the school year.  This is a wonderfully positive way to begin our journey as the four schools of the Galinsky Academy.

I look forward to seeing you around the Galinsky Academy halls.

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year,

Alyse Nathans

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Message from Vice President of Education

Two years ago, I started my term with a message defining governance. It
read, “Governance relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or
verify performance. School governance includes all of the principles, models,
and practices that enable our Education Communities/Committees to effectively
direct the workings of the school by focusing on defining the vision and strategic
objectives for the school with actual implementation of those strategies reserved
to the principals of each of our schools”

I am proud to report that all of our Education Communities/Committees of the
Day School, Preschool, Religious School, and High School programs have
been practicing good governance and have created a road map for the next
three years for each of our schools individually and collectively as the Galinsky
Academy. Our Principals are now charged with the task of implementing the
plans. Our Education Communities/Committees are now charged with evaluating
the progress of the plans and making adjustments as tasks are accomplished
and redefined. Dedicated professionals and lay leaders have taken their jobs
seriously and have set the new Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet up for
success.

This past year, the JJC board created an education task force to research the
vision of a JJC Education Academy model where our 4 synagogue schools would
be collaborating, sharing resources, and coordinating our JJC youth’s education
from birth to high school graduation. In April, the task force presented the
governing principles of the JJC’s Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet. If you
are interested in viewing these governing principles, please stop by the Martin J.
Gottlieb Day School Office.

Within the governing principles of the Education Cabinet of the Galinsky
Academy, the structure for the Education Cabinet is defined. Here is a summary
with the names of the people who will be serving.

The Education Cabinet is chaired by the JJC Vice President of Education. There
are 17 voting members of the Education Cabinet which is almost complete.
These voting members include all of the committee chairs, members at large,
and the executive vice president of the JJC. Below the voting members and their

titles are listed:

Cabinet Chair: Alyse Nathans
Cabinet Vice Chair: Lynn Maiman
Treasurer (Finance/Budget Chair): Michael Setzer
Committee on Trustees Chair: Mauri Mizrahi
Development Chair: Kim Glasgal-Levy (Non-voting member-employee)
HOS Support and Evaluation Chair: Jon Israel
Marketing/Admissions Chair: Claudia Margolis
PTA President: Rebecca Fixel (Non-voting member-employee)
Day School Education Chair: Gabrielle Bubis
Preschool Education Chair: Lynda Gridley
Religious School/High School Education Chairs: Faye Mizrahi & Stacy Leach

Member at Large: Jesse Bannon
Member at Large: Erica Jolles
Member at Large: Debby Kaye
Member at Large: Dan Levitan
Member at Large: Penny Marks
Member at Large: Sheri Weiss
Member at Large: Morrie Zimmerman

Executive Vice President of the JJC: Fred Pozin

Thank you to Jon Mitzmacher and the rest of the Education task force for working
so hard this year to set the Galinsky Academy Education Cabinet up for success.

Also thank you to all of the Day School, Preschool, Religious School and High
School Education Community/Committee and sub-committee members for giving
their time, expertise, and resources to our schools for the past 2 years. None of
this important work happens without all of you.

I am so proud of our schools and it has been an honor to serve as the
Jacksonville Jewish Center Vice President of Education.

B’Shalom,

Mauri Mizrahi
Vice President of Education

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Welcome Back: September 2011 Education News

Welcome back to school everyone.  As of this week, all of our JJC Schools are back in session.  Also all of our Education communities have met.

I think there are more than a few of you out there who do not know what an education community at the Jacksonville Jewish Center is.  Let me explain.  At the JJC, there are four schools;  the Jacksonville Jewish Center Pre-School, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, the Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School, and the Makom/Siyyum Highschool program.

Each of these schools has an education community whose responsibility is governance.  What I mean by that is, these education communities are responsible for insuring that all of our schools have a future.  The education communities work in partnership with the principals of the schools.  The principals are responsible for operating the schools.  The education communities are responsible for making sure there are ways to measure that our schools are providing an education guided by the mission of the synagogue and the individual schools.

If you are still confused, here are some examples of the work our education communities will be doing this year and in the years to come:

  • Creating strategic plans for their schools so there are goals to reach for and direction for the administrators to follow.
  • Financial planning so each school administrator can have direction and support in building his/her budget and managing the schools’ finances.
  • Development work to build relationships with school parents, alumni, and other stakeholders which should ultimately excite people in a way that they will be proud to support our great schools.
  • Fundraising to raise the needed funds to supplement all of the schools budgets, because tuition dollars alone are not enough to produce the type of education experiences that we want our children to have.
  • Creating policies for the schools which also are guided by the mission of the schools and synagogue.  An example:  Last year the Customized Learning Plan Policy was created for the Religious school to give Lois Tompkins the authority to create customized learning plans for her students who met certain criteria.  This policy was based on a vision/mission of inclusion and an understanding that all students do not learn the same way.  Lois identified a need in her school.  The RS/HS Education community then created a policy with Lois’ guidance to meet this need and ultimately improve the RS’s ability to serve all of its students and families.

In the header of this blog you can find lists of the members of these education communities.  They have changed a little bit from last year.  The Chair of the Preschool Education Community is Gabrielle Bubis.  The chair of the MJGDS Education Community is Mauri Mizrahi.  The co-chairs of the Religious/High School Education Community are Faye Mizrahi and Stacy Leach.

If you have concerns or comments about anything going on in your child’s schools, the first person to consult with, if it is not a classroom matter, is the principal of the school.  The chairpeople of these education communities have nothing to do with the “everyday” of the schools.  If you have ideas or comments or concerns about fundraising/development or strategic planning then you  can certainly contact the education community chairpeople or the principals.  They all play on the same team.

You may notice when you look at the lists of the members of the education communities that there are many people who do not have children in any of the schools.  The reason is we will have better governance if the members have a broader perspective.  All of the education community members bring some positive attribute to the group.

I hope this information has helped clarify what our education communities do.  I welcome your questions and comments.  I believe in complete transparency.  The community is entitled to know about the work we are doing in our schools.

On that note, one of the big things going on this year that some of you may be wondering about is investigating the idea of creating an academy model for our JJC schools.  There is not much to report yet.  However, I would like to explain what is going on so far.

Jon Mitzmacher and Mauri Mizrahi are leading a task force which is charged with researching and proposing an academy model for our schools.  When I say academy model, I mean creating an education system at the JJC where all of the schools are working together, under an umbrella of the “academy”, toward a common goal.  In otherwards, a school system of Jewish education where our high school seniors will graduate from our synagogue schools with a Jewish education that will be a foundation for the rest of their life. It should not matter which schools they attended within the academy, the goal/result should be the same.

Right now, the task force is in the process of creating a mission statement.  As soon as I am able, I will share that with you.  Once we have a vision/mission, the task force will then propose a plan of how all of the schools can work more closely together and think of our students not as students of the Religious School or Pre-school, but of the JJC Academy which includes all of the synagogue students in all of the schools.

These are exciting times in Education at the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  I hope you all are as excited as I am about the journey.

See you in a few weeks!!

Mauri Mizrahi

Jacksonville Jewish Center

Vice President of Education

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May Education News

The 2010-2011 school year has been incredible.

We have rebuilt our school governance and we will continue to build on what has been created this year.

We are in the final month of our second annual LDVDS giving campaign.  We have raised over $115,000.  Every dollar raised will be matched which means the JJC schools will receive at least $230,000 to supplement their operating budgets this year.  Thank you to all of the LDVDS donors and supporters.

Sunday, June 5, 2011 the LDVDS honored Robin Morris and she received the David Gaffney Leadership and Education Award.  The brunch was chaired by Jen Plotkin, Michelle Margol, and Helen DuBow.  Approximately 300 people were in attendance.  Students from Morah Rachael’s past and present shared memories and well wishes.  Students from the JJC preschool, MJGDS and Bernard and Alice Religious School participated throughout the morning.  We are so lucky to have teachers as passionate about teaching as Robin (Morah Rachael) Morris.

The JJC Education Community will be researching and developing a plan for an academy model for our youth/education departments over the next year.  The idea is to centralize and coordinate our youth and education programs so that they build on each other both horizontally and vertically.  The academy model that the JJC Education community will develop over the next year will be implemented in school year 2012-2013.

The 8th graders will be joining Makom on Wednesday nights from 7-9 and continue their Shabbat curriculum on Saturdays.  They will continue the 8th grade Etgar curriculum on Wednesdays, just at the new 7-9 time.

The MJGDS will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.  A new logo has been designed and is already in use.  The planning is starting for the celebration weekend which has been scheduled for May 4-6, 2012.  Committees are being formed for all of the events.

All of the Education Communities will be taking June and July off.  Everyone will resume their work in August.

I hope this blog was informative this year.  Have a wonderful summer!!!

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