Engage positions Jewish day schools as hubs of communal Jewish engagement for families.
This year-long cohort program provides funding and expertise to enable day school professionals and colleagues to attract prospective students to their schools and build stronger connections across their Jewish community as they support families in making Jewish decisions that fit their needs.
While COVID-19 has contributed to an overall enrollment increase in non-Orthodox day schools, preschool enrollment has experienced a sharp decline of nearly 18%. Families for whom preschool was a first point of connection to the Jewish community have missed an important locus of engagement.
With preschool as the single most important feeder for kindergarten, in order to sustain stable enrollment, Jewish day schools need preschools to regain their families. Day school professionals are poised to deepen their relationships throughout the community in order to engage families in all they have to offer.
Engage builds off the success of a previous Prizmah initiative, Day School Engagement and Enrollment (DSEE), which enabled more than 30 Jewish day schools to position themselves as hubs of Jewish engagement. DSEE schools have attracted more than 100 new students from families previously unknown to them and over 300 new students from families with a previous connection of some kind.
Day school professionals and their PJ Library program partners apply for a limited number of spots in Engage. There is no cost for participation in Engage, which provides the following benefits:
- Participating day schools receive grants of $2,500 to support engagement activities or initiatives.
- PJ Library program partners receive $500 towards their involvement.
- School professionals and PJ Library program partners expand their relationships throughout the community with organizations such as other Jewish schools, Jewish Family Service organizations, Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and camps.
- Over the course of the year, at seven virtual meetings, the cohort strengthens their skills in capacities critical for engagement: relationship-building, stewardship, market segmentation, use of data, and more.
- Schools and Pj program professionals are required to plan a minimum of four engagements or initiatives.
- Cohort members support each other through an active Community of Practice.
- Schools that submit data through DASL (link) receive customized reports with a focus on recruitment and retention.
- Admission professionals receive specialized training on how to mobilize ambassadors from their school in engagement activities.