An Important Message from SDJA, By Chaim Heller, Head of School
The SDJA Board of Trustees met on Thursday and approved an ambitious initiative that will begin over the coming weeks and we believe will ensure both the short-term and long-term strength of our school.
Over the past year we have a been planning and advancing the strategic initiatives needed to fulfill our Strategic Plan, A Vision of 2020, and determine the best path toward elevating the quality of the school throughout and achieving financial sustainability. Many of you have participated in Campus Master Planning workshops and meetings to help move us forward, and we are very appreciative.
At this stage, and with the Board’s approval and support, we feel the best path is a comprehensive approach to addressing the three critical issues that are in our control to secure a strong future for SDJA, i.e., place focus on:
- Affordability and enrollment. Bringing SD middle class Jewish families into the school through tuition-based initiatives will address the key issue of enrollment.
- Teachers and programs. Retaining and attracting world class faculty and a world class academic program are key to our success. To achieve both goals, salaries need to be increased so we can compete for – and keep – top teachers.
- Learning environments. Ensuring that the school classrooms and campus meets the rapidly evolving needs of our students and teachers. Our campus is essentially unchanged since 2000 and learning styles, teaching, technology and student needs have evolved.
Our plan is to develop a comprehensive fundraising campaign that will address these three needs. We need to bring middle class Jewish families into our school. We need to increase compensation and adjust the workload for our stellar faculty and enable us to bring in best-in-class teachers when we have an opening. Lastly, we need to ensure that our classrooms empower teachers to teach and children to learn in a variety of ways, using state of the art technology, classroom furnishings, improved equipment and more.
This initiative is beginning now, not sometime in the distant future. We are working with a top-tier consulting firm who is guiding us in the days and weeks ahead as we put our plans in motion.
Over the past few years our school spirit and academic program have improved by all accounts. Now is the time for the school to address issues that have held us back and to do so in a manner that is bold, unapologetic and well-designed.
We will keep you updated from time to time as to how our campaign is progressing. But know that you – our families and students – and our faculty and staff – are at the heart of everything we intend to do over the coming 12-18 months.
Hoping to see you at the IsraelFest at SDJA this afternoon,