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My role at PEJE is pretty straightforward—to research, aggregate, and analyze affordability strategies from across the country, and then share them with the field. And this is good. Because I know about collaboration, and strategic planning, and engaging stakeholders. And I know about Pittsburgh’s particular challenges with making Jewish day school affordable, from my time at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. But do I know what parents in Cleveland think is an “affordable Jewish education”? Do I know how to sell donors in Chicago on the value-added of Jewish day school? Or whether blended learning is the answer for reducing tuition in Boca Raton?

I do not.

But you do. You, dedicated day school professionals and volunteer leaders, have a veritable warehouse of knowledge about day school affordability. You know your parents, your community—you have a fundamental understanding of the “ecosystem” your school inhabits. You may not think of your school in this way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the underlying knowledge.

And since we all know that sharing is caring, there’s no better time than now to start. So let me know what you think:

  • What does “affordability” mean to you?
  • What have you learned during your (volunteer or professional) career about the issue of affordability?
  • What are you doing to make your school more affordable? (Your answer may or may not be a designated “affordability strategy.” It may just be what your school does on a day to day basis to make your school more affordable. Cost cutting, joint purchasing, fundraising for financial aid, endowment fundraising, paperless classrooms, etc.)
  • What role does affordability play in your…
    • Strategic plan?
    • Recruiting pitch?
    • Marketing plan?
    • Annual campaign?
    • Tuition setting process?
    • Communication with parents?
    • What do you want to learn from your peers about affordability? (Other than, “How can I make my school affordable?”)

We will share your answers on subsequent blogs, and hopefully start learning from each other. I know I have a lot to learn (truly—so, so much) and we need to get started.