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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!