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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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!!
- 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
- 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!