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WOW! Columbus’ Supplementary School Initiative

Presented at Summit June 6, 2010


The World is Changing

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Snapshot: Supplementary Education Today

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Undercurrents for a new change approach • Participation in Jewish education today is a matter of choice • Substantial numbers of children receive no Jewish education • Increasing numbers of families opting for alternative programs or arrangements • Families “settling” for programs they find less than optimal • Relative paucity of real alternatives

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WOW! • Goal: Engage greater numbers of children and families in Satisfying and impactful supplementary Jewish educational experiences by enhancing what exists and developing a broad range of program options using both traditional and non-traditional approaches

• Guiding principles: – – – –

Learner focus Matching markets and assets Community coalitions of the willing Lead role for central agency as convener, catalyst, & capacity builder

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Appreciative Inquiry Approach Discover  Dream Design Destiny

WOW!

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Columbus OH: Nachshon at the Sea

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WOW!

Project Stages

1. Agreement to proceed 2. Community Organization 3. Information Gathering a. Community Diagnostic b. Market Analysis c. Assets Analysis

4. Visioning and Planning Summit – June 6, 2010 5. Implementation, engagement & continuity planning a. Action step implementation b. Communications/engagement c. Continuity planning

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Outcomes & Products As a result of WOW: • At least a 20% increase in the number of eligible individuals receiving supplementary Jewish education • Participants’ (students and parents) increased satisfaction with the supplementary education they receive (as measured by continuation past Bar/Bat Mitzvah and surveys of parental and student attitudes) • Evidence of the impact of supplementary Jewish education on participants in terms of what they know/feel/do (as measured by engagement in a range of Jewish activities and appropriate performance assessments geared to individual program goals)

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Community Effects • The community will recognize the benefit of systemic, collaborative planning • The community will develop a shared vision for a system of quality supplementary Jewish educational opportunities • The community will use data to inform program planning & implementation • Jewish education staff will demonstrate greater capacities to catalyze and support change and improvement in supplementary education • Consumers will use information about high quality supplementary education options to make better personal choices for their families • Individuals will be able to move more easily among options resulting in more intensive and enduring Jewish educational journeys.

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What might WOW Columbus look like? •

New supplementary education programs specially designed to effectively engage hard to reach populations such as children of recent immigrants and intermarried families

A cluster of “magnet schools” created by a group of congregations to allow members to select from options that emphasize Hebrew literacy, music and drama, social action, or family learning

Retreats and other special programs held during school vacation periods to provide concentrated experiential learning for students from a wide range of settings, including those outside traditional venues

Four-day-a-week after-school program developed by the JCC and congregations that combines recreational, Jewish, and general learning activities

Professional Development Fellowship Program to enhance educators’ ability to integrate rich experiential learning opportunities for students and families

01/24/11 | 11


WOW! Columbus’ Supplementary School Initiative

Presented at Summit June 6, 2010


The World is Changing

01/24/11 | 2

•Part time Jewish education system that burgeoned in 1950’s was designed to meet needs of Jewish community in its day. •A number of intensive & creative part-time programs that emerged at that time effectively engaged & educated Jewish youth. •But growing recognition & concern that extensive demographic & cultural changes in North American Jewish communities demand new approaches attuned to current realities.


Snapshot: Supplementary Education Today

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•Over past 15 years growing array of endeavors have sought to re-invigorate PT programs. •Most of the 2100 or so programs are sponsored by synagogues, and enroll 230,000 students – largest number of children in any form of education in NoAm. •Endeavors have included national initiatives (e.g., ECE), movement-led (e.g., UCSJ Frameworks & URJ CHAI curriculum), a large number of programs spearheaded and guided by local CAs (e.g., NESS, La’atid), as well as individual institutions and program sponsors. •Thanks to these efforts, part-time/supplementary Jewish education IS improving. New and better curricula & materials are in widespread use, educational leaders and teachers are better prepared, and new models of learning (family ed, experiential programming, etc.) are being employed. •Perhaps most importantly, congregations & other sponsoring institutions are learning how to pursue change planfully and systematically. •Is it working? (more learning, greater satisfaction, stronger Jewish identity? Relying more than want to on anecdotal reports – but it seems that the answer is yes- at least for some portion of those participating. •But is this enough to ensure that ALL Jewish children have a worthwhile impactful Jewish education? Answer is surely NO – •Reasons have less to do with quality of individual programs than the evolving nature of the market for Jewish education.


Undercurrents for a new change approach •

Participation in Jewish education today is a matter of choice

Substantial numbers of children receive no Jewish education

Increasing numbers of families opting for alternative programs or arrangements

Families “settling” for programs they find less than optimal

Relative paucity of real alternatives

01/24/11 | 4

•Recent research emphasizes that participation in Jewish education is today a matter of choice. Families don’t only choose whether to have their children receive ANY Jewish education at all( and significant numbers are choosing not to enroll their children), but also what kind of Jewish education their children will receive, and where and when. •In concrete terms, there is a gap between what the “market” seeks and what the current configuration of providers is providing. •The gap is evidenced by: o The substantial number of children who receive no Jewish education – some of whose parents say that none of the current options appeal to them o The growing number of families who seek alternative programs or make alternative arrangements for their children’s Jewish education o The unknown but not insignificant number of families who “settle” for programs that they see as less than optimal, but see no viable alternative o The relative paucity of options that look and operate substantially differently from “the norm” – e.g., that are more intensive than most, that emphasize particular aspects of the Jewish experience (e.g., Hebrew or history), or learning approaches (via arts, social action projects, technology) or that structured in unusual ways (e.g., a “camp” program during vacations) •No one is to blame for this gap – but we are all responsible. And only collective action can eliminate it. • Current endeavors to strengthen complementary education can’t address the problem in a systemic and systematic way because they operate on a program-by-program basis. • What is needed is a different type of initiative that is communal in scope and market driven in substance.


WOW! • Goal: Engage greater numbers of children and families in Satisfying and impactful supplementary Jewish educational experiences by enhancing what exists and developing a broad range of program options using both traditional and non-traditional approaches

• Guiding principles: – – – –

Learner focus Matching markets and assets Community coalitions of the willing Lead role for central agency as convener, catalyst, & capacity builder

01/24/11 | 5

•The WOW Project answers to this need. •Engages communities in an intensive 18 month process to identify and implement strategies to expand the scope and enhance the quality of supplementary Jewish education by offering new options to children and their families and by applying proven methods of improving program quality to these options. •Goal: engaging greater numbers of children and families in satisfying and impactful supplementary Jewish education experiences by enhancing what exists and developing a broad range of program options using both traditional and non-traditional approaches.


Appreciative Inquiry Approach Discover  Dream Design Destiny

WOW!

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•Process for planning & implementing WOW = based on modified version of Appreciative Inquiry •AI is a form of action research that attempts to create new theories/ideas/images that aid in the developmental change of a system. •Our approach is designed to execute a speedy and focused process leading to “results on the ground” as quickly as possible. • AI involves 4 key elements: •Discovery – appreciating what is •Dream – envisioning what might be •Design – co-constructing what should be •Destiny – actualizing, learning, improvising • Project work plan incorporates these elements through •Initial information gathering process (discovery) designed to help the community uncover an appreciate the potentials (and gaps) in its current delivery of complementary education •Community retreat (“Dream” and “Design”) that will generate a vision for what complementary education in the community could be and a set of initial action steps to move the community toward that vision and •Period of implementation and assessment (“destiny”) in which the community will take initial steps, actively learn from them, plan for additional steps and build broad engagement and support for the continuation of the process thus begun.


Columbus OH: Nachshon at the Sea

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•Columbus is our first community demonstration project for the WOW projectand like Nachshon at the Sea of Reeds – they had the courage and enthusiasm to jump in. And now, we are in serious conversation with three other communities about how to initiate and tailor the WOW project for their communities.


WOW!

Project Stages

1. Agreement to proceed 2. Community Organization 3. Information Gathering a. Community Diagnostic b. Market Analysis c. Assets Analysis

4. Visioning and Planning Summit – June 6, 2010 5. Implementation, engagement & continuity planning a. Action step implementation b. Communications/engagement c. Continuity planning

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1.

2.

3.

4. 5.

Agreement to proceed a. Beginning last spring, Don began conversations with Rabbi Idit Jacques (VP Jewish Education & Identity/CA director) and Federation Exec (Marsha Horowitz) about Columbus and WOW. He got their enthusiastic approval. b. Don, Idit and Marsha met with each key stakeholder in the community including all the rabbis and educational directors, key federation and community foundation staff and lay leaders, potential funders to discuss WOW, understand any reservations, respond to questions and concerns – and gain their support. c. JESNA staff worked to continue to refine the proposal in response to concerns, and modify the work plan in line with available resources. d. The proposal came to a federation vote at the end of January, and was approved – but without going into detail, the payoff of the shuttle diplomacy was clearly evident. Community Organization/Guiding Coalition a. Community begins forming local change coalition organized by CA with collaboration of federation. Includes all institutions prepared to participate in community-wide visioning (those that currently provide complementary education + others that can potentially contribute) Information Gathering a. Community Diagnostic: analysis of community readiness factors in relation to an initiative of this scope. Using new protocol developed by JESNA for WOW project b.Market Analysis: focus groups & surveys with key stakeholders (educators, teachers, lay leaders, parents(9with kids in system, grads, never enrolled, drop outs), students, rabbis, c. Assets Analysis: document review covering broad range of information on enrollment, current programs, community institutions (within and outside Jewish community), funded programs, etc. Visioning and Planning Summit – June 6, 2010 Implementation, engagement & continuity planning a. Action step implementation b.Communications/engagement c. Continuity planning


Outcomes & Products As a result of WOW: •

At least a 20% increase in the number of eligible individuals receiving supplementary Jewish education

Participants’ (students and parents) increased satisfaction with the supplementary education they receive (as measured by continuation past Bar/Bat Mitzvah and surveys of parental and student attitudes)

Evidence of the impact of supplementary Jewish education on participants in terms of what they know/feel/do (as measured by engagement in a range of Jewish activities and appropriate performance assessments geared to individual program goals)

01/24/11 | 9


Community Effects • The community will recognize the benefit of systemic, collaborative planning • The community will develop a shared vision for a system of quality supplementary Jewish educational opportunities • The community will use data to inform program planning & implementation • Jewish education staff will demonstrate greater capacities to catalyze and support change and improvement in supplementary education • Consumers will use information about high quality supplementary education options to make better personal choices for their families • Individuals will be able to move more easily among options resulting in more intensive and enduring Jewish educational journeys.

01/24/11 | 10


What might WOW Columbus look like? •

New supplementary education programs specially designed to effectively engage hard to reach populations such as children of recent immigrants and intermarried families

A cluster of “magnet schools” created by a group of congregations to allow members to select from options that emphasize Hebrew literacy, music and drama, social action, or family learning

Retreats and other special programs held during school vacation periods to provide concentrated experiential learning for students from a wide range of settings, including those outside traditional venues

Four-day-a-week after-school program developed by the JCC and congregations that combines recreational, Jewish, and general learning activities

Professional Development Fellowship Program to enhance educators’ ability to integrate rich experiential learning opportunities for students and families

01/24/11 | 11


Focus Group Analysis Data