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Inspirational keynotes, workshops and networking opportunities for educators, administrators, board members and stakeholders of network member schools will engage participants around design thinking, school change, board development, educational leadership, innovative technologies, contemporary ideas of Jewish pluralism, Israel curricula, modes of prayer education, special needs inclusion, early childhood education and more. 

*Schedule subject to change.

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Monday, January 20 • 10:30am - 5:00pm
Small Schools and a Sustainable Future (in partnership with JFNA and in cooperation with PEJE)

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To help small schools develop approaches to secure a financially and academically stable future.


Schools with less than 150 students face unique challenges. Often located in demographically limited areas, these schools require creative solutions that mobilize the resources of the broader Jewish communities within which they are situated. Lay and professional leadership of small schools are invited to explore new approaches to fiscal management, creative recruitment solutions and innovative technological approaches to education. Through expert sessions, peer-networking and workshops, this track will help small schools move down the path to a more sustainable future.

(Please note that this deep dive will be primarily relevant to those schools that are situated outside of the major Jewish population centers).




1:00-3:00pm: Opening Keynote and Session  

3:30-5:00pm: Deep Dive Opening- Thinking Big About Small Schools (Grand Ballroom A)

Dr. Marc Kramer, RAVSAK

Perhaps one-third of all day schools in North America are “small schools” - schools with enrollment under 150 students, and many of these schools are located in small Jewish communities. Yet despite their size, the small Jewish day schools are key to the future of the Jewish communities in which they are found; they are led by some of the most talented lay and professional leaders; and they stand on the front lines in the fight against assimilation.  Who are these schools? Who are their leaders? And what will it take to ensure a vibrant future for the small Jewish day schools? In this opening session, we will identify the framing challenges and opportunities facing small schools, meet one another, and begin the “deep dive” work of making small schools sustainable.

5:15-6:30pm: Plumb the Data - What We Know About Small Schools (Grand Ballroom A)

Dr. Amy Sales, Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University

As Sherlock Holmes instructed, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” Our task is to apply our powers of reasoning to the future potential and challenge of the small Jewish day school. Proceeding in Holmesian fashion, we will examine data on the current status of these schools: What story do the data tell? How do they confirm or challenge our own perceptions and beliefs? What other clues should we be looking for?

6:30-7:00pm: Break

7:00-9:00pm: Conference Welcome Banquet  

9:00-10:30pm: Small Schools Open Space (Westchester A Room)

Head of School, Rabbi Jeremy Winaker will facilitate a participant-directed “open space” session built around the topics of greatest interest to you.  Come with thoughts, questions, concerns, and a willingness to listen - leave with innovative ideas, new answers, and a critical network of peers and allies.



7:00-10:00am: All Conference: Davening / Breakfast / Keynote

10:30-11:00am: Framing Session: Thinking big about small schools (Grand Ballroom A)

11:00am-12:30pm: Workshop, Block 1

  • Federation as a Day School Partner (O'Hare Room)

Marilyn Chandler, Greensboro Jewish Federation & Mark Goldstein, Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley

The challenges faced by small Jewish day schools are felt as acutely by the federations which support them. How can federations and day schools enhance their relationships in ways that strengthen the partnership including resource development? How do we ensure the day school’s role as an anchor institution in a smaller Jewish community? What does it mean for a day school and federation to partner and collaborate?

  • 10 Enrollment Strategies That Work for Small Schools (Grand Ballroom A)
Dr. Rick Newberry, Enrollment Catalyst

Enrollment is a key driver for success in all day schools, and all the more so in small schools, where slight changes in enrollment can have major implications - for the better or for the worse.  Enrollment management expert, Rick Newberry, will explore effective marketing and enrollment strategies that help small schools grow their student body.
  • The Challenges Facing Small-Sized Day Schools (National Room)

Dr. Jack Wertheimer, The Jewish Theological Seminary

How does a day school manage when it is the only such school in town? And how do small-sized schools address their unique set of challenges? This workshop will build upon a case study of one such Ravsak school in Charlotte NC. Written by Josh Elkin, this case will prompt reflection and discussion about the necessary compromises different stakeholders have to make in order for the school to limit friction and function smoothly.

12:30-1:30pmNetworking Lunch, Sharing Success Stories- An Ideas Exchange (Grand Ballroom A, by table)

1:45-3:00pm: Workshops, Block 2

  • Retention: A Key to Small School Success (National Room)

Betty Winn, RAVSAK

As schools struggle to recruit new students they often forget the importance of retaining current families.  Looking at retention issues that affect small schools we will explore strategies to address them in concrete and proactive ways.  Participants will identify issues relevant to their own schools and develop an action plan to take back to their schools.  This session is for Heads of Schools and any school administrator.

  • Creating High Impact, Marketable Niche Programs to Attract and Retain Students (O'Hare Room)

Sam Chestnut, The Lippman School

The Lippman School, Akron, Ohio has created educational programs that have helped define its market niche, attracted new families, and strengthened school programs and enrollment for existing families.  This cross-cultural model has invigorated not only the secular studies but also, and importantly, the Judaic experience for families and students. Beginning with this case study, this workshop will be a facilitated conversation for school leaders and board members to examine their own school and community to consider what opportunities might exist for school-wide educational initiatives with intentional marketable opportunities. 

  • Nurturing the Talent in Already in Your School: Getting good teachers to stay (and become even better!)  (Orly Room)

Amy Ament & Judy Rosenblatt, New Jewish Teacher Project

This session for school leaders will focus on how to leverage the talent you already have in your school by cultivating an environment of teaching and learning among your staff. We will explore numerous ways school leaders can develop the capacity of their teachers and offer meaningful, relevant professional development for their entire faculty, veteran and novice alike. Transform your school by uncovering the untapped potential and talent you already have.

3:00-3:15pm: Break

3:15-4:30pm: Workshop, Block 3

  • Building the Board - What small schools face; what small schools need (National Room)

Dr. Harry Bloom, PEJE & Dr. Marc Kramer, RAVSAK

Small schools in small communities face the double-barreled challenge in recruiting board members of a more limited number of candidates and an increased amount of competition from other local organizations.  How do small school boards become boards of choice, the highly appealing and highly productive boards that savvy philanthropic leaders want to join? Come prepared to learn and share successful strategies.  

  • Engaging with the Community (O'Hare Room)

Dr. Leora Issacs, Isaacs Consulting LLC

Providing an immersive and intensive Jewish education is what day schools do and what communities need us do to… but what else do our communities need that we could provide?  How can small day schools come to understand and meet the needs of communities in ways that expand the value proposition of the school and maybe even generate new income streams? 

  • Integrating an Annual Campaign into the Core of Your School (Orly Room)

Adina Kanefield, Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital / RAVSAK

How do you take your school's core values, channel them, and launch an annual campaign that stems from the heart of your school?  How do you take the lessons you impart upon your students and inspire your community to make your school a philanthropic priority?  This session will provide practical tactics and inspirational guidelines to help you create a culture of philanthropy at your school and a meaningful and successful annual campaign.

4:45-5:30pm: Concluding Session: Finding our footing, finding our voice- what can small schools do together? (Grand Ballroom A)

Cheryl Hirsch, Austin Jewish Academy (facilitator)

They say that leadership is a lonely practice, but does it have to be so?  Each of our schools may be small, but together, we represent over 3,000 students in over 40 communities.  What could we do it we did it together? This session will explore ways that the small schools and join forces on ideas and projects that benefit all of our schoo…

avatar for Amy Ament

Amy Ament

Associate Director, Jewish New Teacher Project
Amy Ament is the Associate Director of the Jewish New Teacher Project, and an adjunct faculty member in Stern College for Women’s Education Department. Prior to her work at JNTP, she taught and co-authored a Bible curriculum entitled Bereishit: A New Beginning – A Differentiated Approach to Teaching and Learning. aament@newteachercenter.org
avatar for Harry Bloom

Harry Bloom

Strategy Manager Day School Sustainability, Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education
Dr. Harry Bloom is a 10 year veteran of the Jewish Day School field and PEJE’s Strategy Manager for Day School Sustainability. He is an experienced marketing manager and strategist with Brand Management experience at Procter & Gamble, GE, and McKinsey & Company. He has helped over 50 Jewish day schools strengthen their finances, recruitment and retention processes, and fundraising.
avatar for Marilyn Chandler

Marilyn Chandler

Executive Director, Greensboro Jewish Federation
Marilyn Forman Chandler was recently honored by the Greensboro Jewish Federation for serving for the past 25 years of this highly engaged Jewish community in the South.  | | She has led the community through annual and special campaigns with total donations in excess of $42 million for Israel, Argentina, Jews from Ethiopia, Cuba and the FSU, in resettlement efforts for former Soviet Jews, in overseas missions including Interfaith... Read More →
avatar for Sam Chestnut

Sam Chestnut

Head of School, The Lippman School
Sam Chestnut has served as Head of School since 2011. Prior to serving as Head of School at The Lippman School, he was Head of School at The Ratner School in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Building cross-cultural curricula that build Jewish identity is an area of particular expertise for Mr. Chestnut and The Lippman School.
avatar for Mark Goldstein

Mark Goldstein

Executive Director/CEO, Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley
Mark Goldstein has served as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley since August 2002. | As the Federation’s chief executive officer, Mark oversees all activities performed by the Federation including the annual fundraising efforts, community organization and development activities such as community relations, human resource development, government relations, and community planning and allocations. Mark is also... Read More →
avatar for Cheryl Hersh

Cheryl Hersh

Head of School, Austin Jewish Academy
Cheryl Hersh grew up in Waco, Texas, and received a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at Austin.   Cheryl’s teaching career began in Arad, Israel where she lived for eight years. After many years in the classroom, Cheryl moved from Waco to Los Angeles to further her education at the American Jewish University in 1997. She graduated from the University with an M.A. in Education and an MBA in... Read More →
avatar for Leora Issacs

Leora Issacs

Project Director for Connected Congregations, Darim Online
avatar for Adina Kanefield

Adina Kanefield

Director of Institutional Advancement, Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital
Adina Kanefield joined the senior administration team of the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital (JPDS-NC) in January 2009 as the Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement, and recently began transitioning to her own consulting practice focusing on the nonprofit sector, particularly independent school and small non-profit advancement.  Previously, she served as a board member at JPDS-NC where she chaired a... Read More →
avatar for Marc Kramer

Marc Kramer

Executive Director, RAVSAK
Marc Kramer is the Executive Director of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network. He holds a bachelors degree in Near East and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, an MSW from the Columbia University School of Social Work, a masters from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and both a masters and a doctorate from Teachers College- Columbia University. In addition to his work at RAVSAK, Marc is an educational consultant... Read More →
avatar for Judy Rosenblatt

Judy Rosenblatt

Associate Program Consultant, Jewish New Teacher Project
Judy Rosenblatt has been a mentor and staff member of Jewish New Teacher Project since 2005. As part of her JNTP work she trains mentors to coach new teachers in their day schools and is responsible for the work of JNTP in the Baltimore-Washington area. She began her professional career in day school education, teaching English in SAR Academy, in Riverdale, NY, and later in Baltimore, MD, at Beth Tfiloh Community Day School, where she was also a... Read More →
avatar for Jack Wertheimer

Jack Wertheimer

Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History, The Jewish Theological Seminary
Dr. Jack Wertheimer is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. His area of specialization is modern Jewish history, with a particular focus on trends in the religious, educational, and organizational sectors of American Jewish life since World War II.   Dr. Wertheimer is the author or editor of more than a dozen volumes, including Unwelcome Strangers: East European Jews... Read More →
avatar for Betty Winn

Betty Winn

Director of Leadership Initiatives, RAVSAK
Betty Winn recently joined the RAVSAK staff as Director of Leadership Initiatives. For 10 years she served as the Head of School at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School and was a member of the first cohort of RAVSAK’s Project SuLaM. Betty holds a BA from UCLA and an MA in Educational Administration from Pepperdine University. During her thirty five years in education she worked as a classroom teacher, administrator, mentor, and coach in... Read More →

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PEJE strengthens the sustainability and affordability of Jewish day schools by stimulating advocacy, growing the capacities of schools in revenue enhancement and galvanizing the community ecosystem.

avatar for The Jewish Federations of North America

The Jewish Federations of North America

The Jewish Federations of North America represents 153 Jewish Federations and over 300 Network communities, which raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs. The Federation movement, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world... Read More →

Monday January 20, 2014 10:30am - 5:00pm
Various- see description

Attendees (11)