A New Era of Excellence Rooted in Tradition

5775: The Year of Member Engagement

RhondaAs we approach the end of the secular year 2014, I’d like to page back through the first months of the Jewish year 5775.  This school year has been one of increased board and administration listening and of increased member (parent) engagement.  A few examples follow:


  1. Kwik Kesef: A future parent shared the idea of the Kwik Kesef campaign, helped us launch it, and offered a match grant to add excitement. Parents, staff, and grandparents have made it happen by doing their everyday and holiday shopping through this gift card program. This week we celebrate reaching our first Kwik Kesef goal: raising the funds to buy, warranty, supply and be trained in the use of a 3D printer for student project learning throughout the school!  Ideas for the next Kwik Kesef reach?

Send your thoughts to me at email hidden; JavaScript is required; if I use your idea, the school will send you a mystery gift card as our thanks.  To sign up for your next Kwik Kesef purchase, click here.

          2.  Coffee chats: Intimate sets of parents, administrators and board members connect, snack, and share positive news and creative solutions to unmet needs at these twice monthly meetings.  Join us at one or both of January’s meetings: Monday January 12, 8 am.

  1. Sand Creek Road markings: Several parents have worked with our town and state officials to bring signage and road markings as high as possible despite frustratingly limiting statutes. Once we knew how far that could go, we added signage of our own to further heighten drivers’ awareness of this as a de facto school crossing area.
  1. Coaching: Several parents have newly stepped up to the plate (pardon the pun), while others have re-upped, to voluntarily coach our many athletic teams.
  1. Progress report review team: Nearly 20% of our families were invited to preview and opine on the new elementary school progress reports before they were finalized for use.
  1. One on Ones meetings: Every set of parents has had the opportunity to discuss their child(ren)’s experiences at Hebrew Academy with the head of school this autumn, and will be invited to share their thoughts personally again this spring. Email me if you want to meet or speak again sooner: email hidden; JavaScript is required.  And please remember that Principal Julie Pollack always welcomes time spent discussing how we can partner well to meet your children’s needs.
  1. Member Engagement team and meetings: A team of pro-active parents have worked with the board and its Jewish Life Committee to assemble and conduct two parent engagement meetings that added important data on parental preferences into the board’s strategic process.
  1. Parent Survey: The annual parent survey will be showing up in member email inboxes in January this year, so that we can celebrate gains and make mid-course corrections early. Last year, we were thrilled with 98% family participation! If I may paraphrase the old Jewish perfectionism punch line: “So, nu? What happened to the other 2%?” Let’s make it 100% this year!
  1. Speaking of 100%: Shomray Torah campaign contributions by member families are pouring in! I feel quite hopeful that we will reach 100% participation by the end of this calendar year – a milestone we can take proudly to major donors as concrete evidence of member commitment. As there was a problem with the link to PayPal in some of the letters sent out, I include it correctly here  for your convenience. Members, while we ask that you give what you can, most importantly of all we ask that you give something! Even the most modest gift multiplies in impact when we can boast 100% member participation.

Friends, alumni and family members, please feel free to make your Shomray Torah contribution before the calendar year’s end by clicking the link, above.

          10. Oneg Shabbat: Now that Oneg has returned to last thing on Fridays, we are thrilled that parents have returned to share in our weekly bridge between a good week of learning and the coming day of rest. Please join us often.


Enjoy the remaining days of Chanukah, a peaceful Shabbat, and a restful December break.  May the light of our candles illuminate the darkness, elevate your spirits, and warm the hearts of all whom you love. May the collective candle power entice the world down the path to true peace and freedom.


Shabbat shalom and chag ha’urim sameach!


Best, Rhonda