Leading Prizmah’s board has numerous rewards, not least of which are the relationships I have been fortunate to share with some of the most passionate and forward-thinking investors in Jewish day schools. On our board, we have representatives with significant knowledge and experience from many communities across North America who have taken a collaborative approach to strengthening their schools and to ensuring their long-term sustainability through endowment and other similar initiatives.
In fact, collaborative approaches are exactly what is required for addressing challenges that are larger than any one school or even one community. Affordability is just such a challenge, and I am very pleased that this issue of HaYidion is devoted to the topic. At this tide-shifting time of enrollment growth for most schools, it is essential that we address affordability and excellence, critical components of any discussion of enrollment and the ultimate successful impact of our schools.
Day schools, while offering significant value, remain costly for many families. We cannot take for granted that without work on affordability and continued dedication to educational excellence, the enrollment increases that emerged from Covid times will continue. Concerns about affordability cut across all sectors and denominations.
As thrilled as I am to raise awareness around affordability and its complex dynamics, I am also optimistic that by drawing attention to the topic, we can encourage more collaboration at the community level. I truly believe that there are resources that could be available from individuals, foundations and other sources to support this, once plans are established and the right focus is developed at the community level.
Prizmah is here to help unpack the nuts and bolts of what works, to build relationships and to make connections among those who are in a position to design, fund and implement bold strategies that make our schools more affordable to more families. There are steps to be taken and hard work to do, and we, as a team, absolutely can make a difference.
From its founding, Prizmah always has been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of school economics and affordability. Day in and day out, we focus on admission and retention and on the training of development professionals, because these capacities can provide a direct benefit to the bottom line of any school’s budget. However, we all realize that more can and must be done.
For many years, I have served on scholarship committees at Jewish day schools and witnessed firsthand the sacrifices that some families are required to make in order to choose a day school education for their children. I remain convinced—and hopeful—that by having the right people working together, we can put bold ideas into practice and thereby ensure that more families see a day school education as a realistic and desirable option.