Hadashot V'Hidushim
Take PEJE Out to the Ball Game
If you live in South Florida make sure to attend Jewish Heritage Day this Sunday at the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Florida Marlins game, where PEJE's Executive Director Rabbi Josh Elkin will be throwing out the first pitch. There will be Kosher food, Jewish and Israeli music, and other surprises. Tickets purchased through www.JewishHeritageDay.org will raise funds for day schools across the region.
Benchmark Report Discount Applications Now Available

Yardstick"The Benchmark Report has been invaluable in enabling my school to focus on key measures that are correlated with success in increasing enrollment. The self reflection that the process has encouraged and the insights that the results have produced have enabled our leadership to make informed and insightful decisions."
Rabbi Daniel Loew, Head of School,
Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford, CT

The Benchmark Report, the heart of the Day School Peer Yardstick® Suite of Tools, is now available for purchase at the heavily subsided price of $1800. Discounts of up to 40% are available. If you apply for a discount, do not register for the Benchmark Report until you have received a response from PEJE regarding your discount (to be sent July 1).

Register for the Benchmark Report (if not applying for a discount)
Apply for a Benchmark Report discount
To learn more about the value of the Benchmark Report, please join one of two informational webinars:

Benchmark Report for First-Timers: Tracking Data and Implementing Real Change
Thursday, June 4, 3:30-4:30 pm Eastern
Ray Levi, Head of School of Minneapolis Jewish Day School, will share his school's experience using the Benchmark Report.

Benchmark Report for Veterans: Using the Simplified Approach to Track Data and Implement Real Change
Monday, June 8, 3:30-4:30 pm Eastern
Lehrman Community Day School Head of School Seth Linfield and former Board Chair Richard Lehrman will share their school's experience using the Benchmark Report.

RSVP to benchmark@yardsticksuite.org and specify which webinar you will attend. Learn more about the calls.

PEJE Summer Conference Registration to Open Soon

Watch for a separate message later in the month announcing the opening of registration for PEJE's summer conferences:
  • Admission: August 10-12, Philadelphia
  • Fundraising: August 18-19, Chicago

You're Invited:
May-June CoP Calls
Cop logo Connecting with professional and volunteer peers is a simple and rewarding way to find support and exchange knowledge, particularly during these challenging economic times. The PEJE Communities of Practice (CoPs) invite you to join the following conference calls. Membership is not required to participate. Sample the learning, networking, and support that CoPs provide.

June 1 - Diverse Learners
Designing Secondary Systems of Positive Behavior Support in Schools- Tier 2   

June 3 - Israel Engagement
Culminating Call of the Year - Wrap Up and Review

June 10 - Leadership
Transition of the Board President: A Time for Opportunity and Growth

June 24 - Financial Management
Parsonage Benefits: What Employers and Employees Need to Know

Jewish Sustainability Conference

PEJE recently led a team of day schools at a national conference hosted by The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. The conference sought to expand the contemporary understanding of tikkun olam and tzedek to include protection from environmental degradation, and to provide a working model for environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Watch for more details in the June Hadashot V'Hidushim, including information on how going green can save schools money. Questions? Contact Stephane Acel.

Network Day School Advocacy News

  • Professor Michael Zeldin, Director of Hebrew Union College's Rhea Hirsch School of Education, is leading a group of six rabbinical students for a week long "externship," funded by the AVI CHAI Foundation, at the Davis Academy in Atlanta in order to prepare the students to become advocates for Jewish day school education within the Reform movement. They will share their learning with fellow students on HUC's three campuses this fall.

  • The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools (PARDeS) is piloting a board learning and leadership program for PARDeS member schools on the ways 21st century Reform Judaism is expressed in Reform day schools. Rabbi Jan Katzew, the Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning at the Union for Reform Judaism is leading the conference-call based discussion. Contact Jane West Walsh to learn more about PARDeS initiatives.

  • Professionals and volunteer leaders from Solomon Schechter schools in Greater-New York have established an ongoing messaging and marketing project. This is one of the first times the major arms of the Conservative movement, including the Jewish Theological Seminary and United Synagogue, have collaborated on the future of Jewish education. Kim Hirsh of the Jewish Community Foundation of Metrowest NJ and PEJE Executive Director Josh Elkin spoke at the first meeting, along with others. Initiated by Elaine Suchow of the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, this effort is exploring ways to strengthen the schools through collaboration, and is looking to involve other local Schechter schools. Contact Elaine Suchow to learn more.

  • The Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership has named PEJE Coach Harry Bloom as its new director of planning and performance improvement. He will be working on issues of affordability, fundraising, and governance. The Institute is hosting a Continuing Education webinar series: the next session will focus on school communications. Contact Scott Goldberg to learn more.

Participate in NAIS Summer Institutes

This summer, the National Association of Independent Schools is hosting a number of conferences on sustainability, diversity, new heads, and leadership. NAIS members, online registrants, and early-bird registrants can save money. Engaging the broader independent school field connects Jewish day school leaders with countless resources and incredible expertise.

As Tel Aviv celebrates its centennial, BabagaNewz presents the Celebrate 100 Years of Tel Aviv (1909-2009) poster for classroom use. The lesson plan which accompanies the poster invites students to participate in a Tel Aviv Birthday Celebration. An excellent end of year activity, the program lets students know different aspects of Tel Aviv by rotating through a series of stations. Watch students learn about the value of perseverance in Israel's history and study the words of Hatikvah.

Looking for great Jewish books for your students for the summer and next year? BabagaNewz has study guides for over thirty titles. Browse the books and see all the study guides.
May 2009 · Iyar 5769
Benchmark Report Discount Applications Now Available
PEJE Summer Conference Registration to Open Soon
You're Invited: May-June CoP Calls
Jewish Sustainability Conference
Network Day School Advocacy News
Participate in NAIS Summer Institutes
Day School Growth and Excellence:Three Ways for Day Schools to Use Social Media
Related Resources
Day School Growth and Excellence: Three Ways for Day Schools to Use Social Media
Social media and Web 2.0 tools harness the internet to enable people from all corners of the globe to communicate and connect. These tools differ from their predecessors in that this new communication is two-way, and these new connections are both bottom-up and lateral, not just top-down. In a word, they're interactive. And the technology is now commonplace enough for Jewish day schools to embrace their use.

Of all the elements of Web 2.0 (this chart shows how truly big the social media world is), there are three that are best suited for a Jewish day school looking to establish a social media presence: social networks (online communities), blogs (short for web-log), and media sharing (i.e., video, photographs, and audio). All three are free, fairly popular, relatively easy to use--and experiment with--and effective if managed in the context of a wider communications strategy.

Probably the shiniest, most intriguing platform for social media experimentation is social networking. While there are companies that create private networks for organizations, by far the most popular are the free commercial sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace.
  • MySpace is primarily used by the under-25 set, so is best suited for student and young alumni interaction.
  • LinkedIn styles itself as a place for "professionals" to interact, and thus lends itself for donor, parent, and older alumni networking.
  • Facebook is a smorgasbord, with the 35-50 demographic as its largest and the 20-35 bracket close behind.
It may be worth considering a site like Ning, which provides a free platform for creating private social networks. A school can create a community just for alumni, for example, that non-alumni would not have access to.

Social networks enable an organization to connect to its stakeholders and more importantly enable the stakeholders to connect with each other. Day schools can use them to advertise events and fundraising drives, drive traffic to their websites, make general announcements, and keep ties with younger community members (parents and alumni). One note of caution: a recent survey found that for a majority of nonprofits, a Facebook presence did not lead to noticeable increases in donations.

Blogging--posting regular entries on a website--can enable day schools to connect with their stakeholders more intimately than weekly or monthly newsletters. The best organizational blogs have more than one writer, ideally from different perspectives (i.e., teacher, administrator, etc.), like the blog at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle. One person who should certainly contribute is the Head of School (read this document from SchoolMarketingTips.com for insight). The two-way communication in blogging comes from reader comments, creating an online dialogue. Schools might also experiment with microblogging--blogging in small increments--of which Twitter is the most well-known platform.

Related Resources

Jerusalem Educators Technology Solutions (JETS) has created an innovative and cost effective solution to help schools meet their Judaic studies administrative personnel needs. Their model enables Jewish day schools to benefit from the expertise of experienced North American Jewish educators living in Israel. JETS provides educational services via videoconferencing and ongoing electronic communication combined with site visits throughout the year. For more information, visit www.ieducatefromisrael.com.

Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities
This new book, edited by Alex Pomson and Howard Deitcher and including an essay from PEJE Executive Director Josh Elkin, considers Jewish day schools' relationships both to the Jewish community and to society as a whole. Its cross-cultural and genuinely comparative approach reframes day school research in a number of important ways.

There Shall Be No Needy
Jill Jacobs, Rabbi-in-Residence at Jewish Funds for Justice, addresses contemporary American issues including the economic crisis, tzedakah, and the environment in her new book, There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition. It may be useful for upper level ethics or halakha classes.

Judaic Studies Curriculum Vision
Rabbi Darren Kleinberg is the Jewish Life and Learning Coordinator at Jess Schwartz College Prep in Phoenix. He has developed a Judaic studies curriculum for his school and has written a paper describing his vision and goals. He welcomes feedback and discussion at dkleinberg@jessschwartz.org.

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