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MIFGASHIM  January 2009

MIFGASHIM January 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 35

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 7 Jan 2009 16:56:05 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (190 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 35


Contents:

1.	Responses:  Impact of Ben Gamla Schools on Jewish Day Schools (Tirschwell, 
Stakely, Alter, Katz)

2.	Marshall Memo:  What Kind of Home Reading Support Makes a Difference?


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Responses:  Impact of Ben Gamla Schools on Jewish Day Schools (Tirschwell, 
Stakely, Alter, Katz)


Ben Gamla opened its first school in Hollywood, Florida, one of the communities that we 
serve. In its first year (this is year 2), this Hebrew language charter school significantly 
impacted both the community and the Orthodox day schools in terms of enrollment. 
Though its opening affected the community school more, it surprisingly affected the 
Orthodox school as well.

ISM says that parents are happiest about a school the day they choose it, and then doubt 
that choice every day after.  

I feel that the way to proactively minimize the impact of Hebrew charter schools on day 
school enrollment is to keep speaking about the unique value of the day school 
experience- prayer, holidays, values, and Jewish knowledge. 

The Hebrew charter schools are watched very carefully by the ACLU’s of the world to 
make sure that they are not inspiring Jewish children to lead Jewish lives, which is the 
core mission of a Jewish day school.

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell
Weinbaum Yeshiva High School
Boca Raton, FL
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~

 
It is my opinion that Jewish charter schools will not have an impact on JDS.  

If the JDS in the area are strong, then the presence of any other school, strong or weak, 
free or low tuition is of no consequence.  Ditto if the JDS is weak.  Here's my thinking on 
why that is so: 
 
Strong schools are sought after regardless of cost.  It's not about the money; it's about 
perceived value.  A strong school should always be asking, "Are we being the best we can 
be?"  

If they learn of a startup, it should make them try harder, be better, be clear about who 
they are and what they stand for so that they can target their marketing---and then they 
will be just fine.  

Other good schools keep my good school on its toes, keep it from being complacent.  
New good schools are not threats; they are reminders, incentives, wake-up calls. 

Rheua Stakely
School Consultant: Board professional development, admissions, and financial aid
781-631-0255
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


As I watch the evolution of the Hebrew charter schools, the question that I continue to 
ask is whether there is a way for Jewish Day schools to change our paradigm and take 
advantage of this phenomenon.

What if we were to open a charter school that begins the school day at 12:30 in the 
afternoon every day?  That would allow our community to enroll all our kids in a full 
morning of Judaic studies at a different location.  The students would daven there and 
learn all Judaic studies with the exception of Hebrew language.  After lunch they would 
begin their “public school” day at 12:30 in a charter school and would take their regular 
classes plus Hebrew language.  The obvious advantage is funding.  Our community would 
only need to raise significant dollars for the Judaic piece of the curriculum.

This model would be different than just sending our children to public school and then to a 
Talmud torah (which in the experience of the American Jewish community seems to have 
been a dramatic failure) because A) the children are spending a good four hours in the 
morning, davening and then learning Judaics.  B) They continue to be immersed in a 
culture where this is the norm since virtually all their friends are doing the same thing. C) 
Maybe the 12:30 start time would be odd enough that those who are not committed to 
significant Judaic studies would have little interest in attending, essentially creating a 
self-selecting process?  Why would others put their children at such a disadvantage as to 
have to begin their school day in the afternoon? 

One of the questions I do not know the answer to is whether this would satisfy any needs 
for enough contact hours- if our kids are only in public school for around three and a half 
hours a day.

This would also raise numerous logistical and philosophical questions.  What would the 
impact be of our loss of elements of control over the secular studies, and would we be 
willing to live with those implications?

Rabbi Daniel Alter
Head of School
Denver Academy of Torah
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


I think that the Orthodox day schools will not be greatly impacted by the Ben Gamla 
schools as we have a different product. My guess is that the vast majority of our families 
want a modern Orthodox education for their kids and Ben Gamla doesn't offer that. 

Possibly, families that send their child to an Orthodox school but who aren't that religious 
may be interested in an almost free alternative and perhaps a few of our families who 
are really struggling right now to pay ANY tuition may be interested in Ben Gamla.

I suspect that the day schools that may be impacted by Ben Gamla are the Jewish 
community day schools as I don't think those parents are as committed to the religious 
elements offered at their schools. As economic times worsen, Ben Gamla will seem like a 
more viable/acceptable alternative.

The two ways I think we can be proactive are:

1. Make our schools the absolute BEST we can make them, both physically and 
scholastically...so that they are TRULY superior to any Ben Gamla school.

2. Raise funds from the general Jewish community to subsidize Jewish education for 
everyone so the costs aren't so prohibitive and not that much different than that at a BG 
school. Federations even in small cities somehow manage to raise millions for a capital 
campaign.  Imagine if they were to do something like that for Jewish education!!!

Dan Katz
President of Hillel Day School Boca Raton
[log in to unmask]
 

~~~~~~~~~


2.	Marshall Memo:  What Kind of Home Reading Support Makes a Difference?

In this Review of Educational Research article, researchers Monique Sénéchal and Laura 
Young report on their study of different ways for parents to support their K-3 children’s 
reading development. The authors looked at 16 intervention studies involving 1,340 
families, and found that overall, the effects of parent involvement were quite positive.
 
However, there were marked differences among three different approaches:

	• Parents reading to their children – Although this is always a good thing for parents 
to do, the studies showed very little impact on children’s reading achievement – an effect 
size of only 0.18. 

	• Parents listening to their children read books – The impact of this was much more 
robust, with an effect size of 0.52. This does involve some parent training on the basics 
of listening to children reading.

	• Parents tutoring their children in specific literacy skills with activities – This was 
the most effective intervention, with an effect size of 1.15. However, it does involve 
more extensive parent training and the selection of the most effective activities.

“The Effect of Family Literacy Interventions on Children’s Acquisition of Reading From 
Kindergarten to Grade 3: A Meta-Analytic Review” by Monique Sénéchal and Laura Young 
in Review of Educational Research, December 2008 (Vol. 78, #4, p. 880-907), no e-link 
available

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