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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