Source: HaYidion – Fall, 2016
Welcome to the first Prizmah edition of HaYidion! Collaboration is a natural theme to begin this new issue of HaYidion, under the auspices of Prizmah. The merger of the five organizations has unleashed creative energies, surprising synergies, and the sense of tremendous promise in the ways that we can collaborate with each other and the thousands of day school stakeholders. HaYidion itself is of course a collaboration, representing the remarkable generosity of dozens of day school stakeholders and other contributors who are willing to share their knowledge, experiences, initiatives and insights for the benefit of the larger field of Jewish education.
Articles in this issue demonstrate an eagerness to embrace new educational paradigms, to rethink the foundations of day school education and revamp programs in ways large and larger, to dream big and do the patient work to follow through. The writers here evince several principles in action: a willingness to take risks; acknowledging and defying challenges; thinking holistically/globally; and connecting or smashing silos. Authors in the first section take different approaches to solving day school challenges within a larger system of connectivity. Matsa and Hammerman describe how leading funders in Chicago and Metrowest, New Jersey, have created the infrastructure of collaboration to strengthen all the local day schools at once, while Fishman shows a funder doing the same at the national level. Goren and Malkus promote the role of research in addressing systemic issues. Buckman envisions day schools collaborating within an ecosystem of Jewish establishments to provide a rounded Jewish education. And Kania and Kramer lead off the issue with a vision of how major stakeholders from different sectors can collaborate to address the most intractable challenges.
The next series of articles considers the role of day school leadership in fostering collaboration. Gill reveals a case where lay leaders needed to disregard accepted best practices in their relationship with professionals in order to reset the course of the school. Grebenau recounts the process of ushering a change toward collaborative school culture, and Lindner explores the psychological challenges that leaders confront in changing to a collaborative style. Articles by Hoffman and Rothblum and by Kalikow suggest ways for day school and synagogue leaders to collaborate for mutual benefit, both in recruitment and programming. A group of short articles included in each issue gives schools an opportunity to present programs and initiatives connected to the theme. Here, eight schools showcase innovative collaborations in which their students are engaged.
The final section provides a lens on teacher collaboration. Powell proposes that faculty space can play a pivotal role in enabling collaboration. The issue of cross-curricular collaboration, between Judaic and general studies, is explored for its pedagogical value (Tapper and Weiss) and its institutional value (Feldman). Wall and Golbert offer ways that schools can implant habits of teacher collaboration, and Zakai and Appelbaum draw lessons from a project that brought together day school Israel educators.
Finally, I’d like to draw attention to a host of new features in this Prizmah issue. Our designer has crafted a new look and feel, not a radical departure from past issues but one that takes account of Prizmah’s brand and enhances the sense of new beginnings and innovation.