HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Mission & Vision

Mission & Vision

The key to a school's success is the articulation of a strong mission and vision statement and an administration and board that stick to these ideals. Mission and vision differentiate a school from its peers and proclaims the unique value proposition that the school offers. Reconsider the purpose and mission of Jewish day school education from a variety of perspectives. Then, gain advice for composing a mission statement and discover the range of uses that such a statement can serve.

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Establishing an Integrated Community and School in Israel: A Continuing Challenge

by Ayelet Lehman Sep 03, 2014

What is the mission and vision for a Jewish day school that can unite a population with a wide variety of Jewish beliefs, affiliations and practices? This article provides perspective by describing how this challenge has played out at an intentionally pluralistic school in Israel.

Crafting Effective Mission and Vision Statements

by Ray Levi Sep 03, 2014

Finding just the right words that convey what makes your school special and unique, different from other schools while similar enough to have broad appeal, is a tall order. Levi offers suggestions for this essential work.

The Power and Practice of Visioning

by Robert Leventhal Sep 03, 2014

A seasoned consultant to Jewish nonprofits, Leventhal draws on his extensive experience to offer guidance to schools on the procedures and successful practices of writing mission and vision statements.

Today’s Models and Tomorrow’s

by Jonathan Woocher Sep 03, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & VisionFinances

It’s no secret that these are challenging times for many day schools. Keeping the seats filled, dealing with growing needs for financial assistance, incorporating new pedagogical approaches and technologies, recruiting and retaining talented teachers, satisfying parental desires for the highest quality general education while staying true to a Jewish mission—all these are now part of the daily work and worries of day school leaders, volunteer and professional.

A New Theory of Vision

by Jon A. Levisohn Sep 03, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & Vision

The world of Jewish education has been thinking about “the vision thing” for a decade or more. Of course, that phrase reminds us that the concern for vision has a long history. Back in 1987, then-Vice President Bush was criticized for lacking a vision at the outset of his presidential campaign. His unscripted and exasperated use of that memorable phrase—“the vision thing”—at once affirmed the importance of vision while also betraying some confusion as to what the critique was all about.

A Mission and Vision of the Present

by Rivy Poupko Kletenik Sep 03, 2014

Lehmann makes many compelling points in his inspiring and richly ideational piece, but I would like to offer a response to some of his core underpinnings.

Pluralism: An Inquiry

by Steven Lorch Sep 03, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: PluralismMission & Vision

Lehmann argues that pluralism, which he defines as “the intersection and interaction of ideas, practices and values within our schools, Jewish community and American society,” is a conceptual category that may help Jewish day schools make a compelling case to prospective parents. He adduces an additional rationale for pluralism, beyond the pragmatic goal of increasing enrollment, namely that it will “help our students live with complexity, contradiction and ambiguity,” seemingly implying that its effectiveness as a marketing strategy is insufficient in itself to justify its use. I agree. In this response, I will argue that pluralism is an appropriate educational approach at the high school level, but not in elementary school. In addition, I will propose a stronger defense of pluralism as an approach to knowledge than Lehmann does.

Enacting the Case: A Response from a Practitioner’s Perspective

by Susie Tanchel Sep 03, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: PluralismStudents

Lehmann’s call for creativity as a central goal of Jewish day schools is in line with current educational trends. Creativity is frequently listed as one of the core capacities we need to develop in our children so they are prepared to enter the workforce many years later. Some might contend that the demand for creativity, and the accompanying innovative thinking, flies in the face of our passionate and deep commitment to the values espoused in our ancient texts. However, I would concur with Lehmann that we are blessed with a long tradition of our people creatively reinterpreting our holy texts for their time. At JCDS, Boston’s intentionally pluralistic K-8 community day school, we believe that it is our responsibility to encourage our children to add their voices to this conversation so that one day they might contribute their own original insights to this tradition. In practice, this means our students need to believe, as we do, that these texts are part of our sacred corpus and that they remain relevant for our time, and thus are worthy of careful study.

A Compelling, Yet More Demanding, Vision for 21st Century Day Schools

by Michael S. Berger Sep 03, 2014

I presumed from its title that Rabbi Daniel Lehmann’s essay would offer new and persuasive ways to frame (market?) day school education to a wider Jewish audience—to the population we may call “Pew’s Jews.” But as I read—and reread—this thoughtful and thought-provoking essay, I quickly saw that it was less an advocacy brief for what most day schools currently offer than a clarion call for our day schools to radically reimagine what they do and offer students and families, in the hope of connecting to “the needs and aspirations of this generation of Jews.” But as with any re-visioning, we have the responsibility to inspect its arguments and weigh its costs vs. its benefits in order to appreciate what this bold reshaping involves.