There is no crystal ball. Despite the best efforts of the most ambitious and talented planners and forecasters, no one can truly tell what the future will bring.
Schools everywhere right now have two important priorities: how to end this school year on a high, and how to be ready for next year. As we look ahead, we need to ask: What will enrollment be? What is the financial picture? What new resources are faculty ready to implement in their classrooms? What priorities will boards tackle? and How much funding will be needed to keep our books balanced?
Faced with whatever unknowns lie ahead, each school continues to plan diligently, and to chart courses of action and strategies for the near and distant future.
Prizmah’s mission is to partner with school leaders to ensure a stable future for their schools. In an environment as complex as today’s is for Jewish day schools, there is no one simple strategy or answer, or one solution that fits all, but there are indicators and benchmarks. As part of our own strategic planning process, we have studied the ways schools can enhance excellence and financial sustainability.
The current menu of Prizmah services we offer schools features programs geared for future growth: programs like HOSPEP and YOU Lead that support professionals and rising heads of school, Board Fitness for good governance, Generations for those ready to secure their schools’ endowment, Governance & Fundraising Academy for development professionals and lay leaders, and Atidenu for admissions. These programs work alongside our customized professional development opportunities, such as coaching and strategic planning for schools. At the heart of our operating model, Prizmah is designed to create opportunities for networking and learning with peers, coaches, and outside experts.
I recently read the parable How Stella Saved the Farm, and I recommend it as a quick and valuable read. Through the metaphor of an animal-led farm facing ongoing and existential challenges, the narrative presents a model for how change, innovation, versatility, and leadership, even from the most unexpected of community members, can literally change the future. Stella was the least likely character to come up with an idea that would turn the tide for the farm, yet it was precisely her openness to change that enabled a turnaround. And the story moves among characters who might save the farm – ultimately demonstrating the impact of the whole team, working together to leverage their respective strengths, not just any one individual “savior.”
We do not need a crystal ball to know what matters for a successful future: Jewish day schools are essential to create vibrant Jewish life and community. Being open to change, taking advantage of opportunities that flex our muscles for adaptability, and being part of a community that is facing an unknown future together are all ways we put the future in our own hands. We at Prizmah are here to help.