Sign In Forgot Password

November 11, 2019 - Religious School Task Force Report

11/20/2019 10:50:30 AM

Nov20

Task Force Report

Religious School Task Force

November 14, 2019

 

Task Force Attendees:

Rina Liebeskind, Or Chadash Exec. Admin & Director of Youth Engagement

Jill Sobieszyk, 3rd-4th gr. Or Chadash RS Teacher

Suzie Stadheim, 4th & 7th gr. Or Chadash Parent

Abby Limmer, Temple Emanu-El Kurn Religious School Director

Allison Neja, 6th gr. Temple Emanu-El Teacher, 5th gr. Parent

Marla Harris and Jared Rubin, 2nd and 4th gr. Temple Emanu-El Parents

Brie Finegold, Temple Emanu-El Board of Directors, 8th grade teacher, 3rd grade parent

 

Existing Collaboration/Commonalities

The joint 8th grade trip to Jewish Los Angeles transformed last year into a joint 7th-8th grade trip that will repeat in 2021. One joint Camp Experience rather than separate camp fairs. Working to rename JCTEY and JJCTEY to include OC students in TE’s NFTY-affiliated youth groups.

Both synagogues participate in the Shinshinim program and both have a madrichim program. Both synagogues cover many of the same topics in the curricula, though not necessarily in the same grades.

 

Existing Schedules

Day of the Week

Temple Emanu-El

Or Chadash

Sunday

9:00-noon

9:30-noon

Tuesday

4:00-6:00 pm

 

Thursday

 

4:30-6:30 pm

 

Steps to a Future Merger

  • Have social functions for the students to become one community. Recruit middle schoolers from OC and TE with older kids help into NFTY-affiliated youth groups.
  • Work with Finance Task Force to determine to what extent merging of schools will change budget and/or reduce tuition.
  • Decide how to align schedules for both Hebrew School. Possibilities include:
    • Two days per week of Hebrew school to which any member can choose to attend one or the other consistently throughout the year – this could be transitional or permanent
      • Have same curriculum, same teachers
      • Have different curricula, different teachers
    • One day per week of Hebrew school
  • Decide how to align Sunday School schedules and curricula:
    • Later than 9am start and have 3 hours or have 2.5 or 2.75 hours
    • 9 am start and noon end (no one seemed interested in ending earlier than noon)
    • Work to keep chuggim (electives) as well as signature events like Mitzvah Fair, etc.
    • Set aside appropriate furniture and custodial help to accommodate larger classes (this is plausible to do at Temple Emanu-El)

 

Current Grade

Cong. Or Chadash

Temple Emanu-El

Total # of Students

Pre-K*

10

4

14

Kindergarten

4

5

9

1st

3

7

10

2nd

3

6

9

3rd

7

15

22

4th

7

4

11

5th

6

8

14

6th

13

7

20

7th

12

6

18

8th

3

5

8

Table 1: These are the numbers per grade for the 2019-2020 years. Once combined, some of the grades will have to be divided into 2 classes.

*Pre-K includes 2 years of students, 3- and 4-year olds.

 

  • Decide on B’nei Mitzvah Schedules and Training
    • Resolve conflicts for 2 dates: 10/17/20 and 10/24/20
    • Unify B’nei Mitzvah Training practices with Ritual Committee help. This will only happen with a full synagogue merger, not with a joint school but separate congregations.
  • Work to unify Hebrew school curricula and incorporate Hebrew @Home.
  • Decide whether to pursue accreditation since that will be lost.

Risks and Mitigations

  • People may feel like they “don’t know everybody”
    • More kids mean stronger sense of Jewish belonging/identity, less chance of being the only one
  • Changing the schedules may alienate people
    • Offer both schedules on weekdays to find what people gravitate towards 
    • Offer some of the same activities but on a different timeline/compromise on timing
  • People may lose programs that they enjoy or feel that curriculum has changed too much
    • Point out new opportunities due to larger classes and more resources
    • Work to identify people’s favorite activities and preserve them
    • Work to include teachers (and parents) in unification of curricula
  • Or Chadash would lose its accreditation
    • Work to regain it so as to preserve prestige as only AZ accredited religious school
  • Change of location may alienate people
    • Facilitate carpooling
    • Strengthen Hebrew @Home
  • Having to reduce staff or financially support two sets of staff
    • Allow for natural attrition
  • Conflicting B’nei Mitzvah schedules may force kids to choose whose to attend or alienate families with special ties to that date.
    • Joint B’nei mitzvot
    • Morning and afternoon service
Fri, January 15 2021 2 Sh'vat 5781