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During Prizmah’s second year, we are embarking on an important, ambitious project to figure out how Prizmah can best serve our vital Jewish day schools for years to come.  To do this, Prizmah’s board is engaged in a long-term strategic planning process.  We know that we need new ideas for Prizmah and day schools to be really successful – the same-old, same-old simply will not work for the scale of our ambition.  And we need your help.

Prizmah is inviting inputs from across the diverse day school field.  Like the biblical census which required a half-shekel contribution from all, planning for the future of the Jewish day school field and unleashing the creative ideas that will advance it demand opportunities for all to “put in their two cents.”

This process is building on strong footing.  We are delighted to have successfully merged the five legacy organizations into one holistic body with an energized board and dedicated staff.  We are already delivering top-quality programs and resources to the field, such as the recent inspiring Leaders to Leaders gathering and the launch of Prizmah’s Board Fitness service (already oversubscribed).

I am more optimistic than ever.  I have seen first hand that our school leaders and passionate advocates have the knowledge, experience, curiosity, and imagination to make day schools the “first choice” education for an even greater number of families. Now, with your help, Prizmah turns to its ambitious vision, as we prepare to make that vision a reality.

Working with a consulting team from Olive Grove and Third Plateau, we are convening focus groups and conducting targeted interviews with key informants.  To those of you who are experienced strategic planners, that will come as no surprise. We are also soliciting input much more broadly, knowing that one or two of the truly great ideas that might propel the day school field forward could come from anyone, anywhere who loves day schools.

You who are on the ground in your schools, on your boards, around your community’s leadership tables–you who share a love of Jewish day school education across diverse perspectives—you are the source of the new ideas that will direct us beyond what we already know.  We are committed to changing the way day school education fits into the Jewish community, changing prevalent attitudes, diversifying the financial model, and revolutionizing the function of our schools.  To do that, we need bold, even radical ideas.

I am honored to invite you to contribute to the process, to help Prizmah achieve its goals for what day schools can become. Our question to you is: From your vantage point, what is the one thing that would most substantially increase the vibrancy of Jewish day schools? Please take a few moments to share your thoughts and radical ideas here.

Our planning process will conclude in the spring, at which time we will share back what we have learned and how we are moving forward in pursuit of that “first-choice” vision.  As we are about to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let me take this chance to now thank you in advance for your most bold ideas, your most creative suggestions, and your continued deep belief in day school education.