Amy Katz, Executive Director of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, writes that if we believe day schools are valuable community assets that contribute to thriving, robust Jewish communities of meaning, we must be able to measure their value for the Jewish community. She suggests a few ways to measure the worth of Jewish day schools—not just for an individual student or school, but for Jewish society as a whole.
Here are some ideas she suggests for gathering data about the community value of day schools:
- Investigate how many of your community leaders, federation board members, and generous philanthropists attended day school.
- Survey your alumni. Where and how are they making a difference?
- Connect to new families in your area. Find out how many of them moved in because of the presence of your day school or others in the area.
- Measure the numbers of community members, non-day school parents, who attend public events in your school (lectures and educational programs, cultural events and celebrations, camps and other programs that rent space in your building).
- Query your local synagogues about the numbers of former JDS students who contribute to independent minyanim, lead youth groups, participate in community celebrations, or participate in community-wide social-justice initiatives.
- Count how many synagogues, kosher restaurants, and innovative Jewish activities there are in your community and consider whether they are a reflection of the number and quality of JDS’ in the neighborhood.
Read her post on the PEJE blog.