Celebrating a Decade of Day School Collaboration

Close to 100 Jewish day school lay and professional leaders and donors from across Greater MetroWest gathered on November 17 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our community’s unique day school collaboration and to welcome leaders of the new national day school organization, Prizmah, which developed from the merger of five individual organizations.

The event, held at the Golda Och Academy Upper School, marked a decade of extensive, integrated work among the diverse Jewish day schools. Coordinated by Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the collaborative efforts include marketing, teacher professional development, and tuition grants, all with the goal of enhancing excellence, affordability, and long-term sustainability. The collaboration began with three schools in 2006, and now includes four schools: Golda Och Academy in West Orange, Gottesman RTW Academy in Randolph, the Jewish Educational Center (JEC) in Elizabeth, and Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston.

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Day Schools Set a Precedent for Community Building

street_fair_volunteers.jpgLast Sunday I travelled to New York’s Upper West Side with fellow day school leaders, parents, alumni, teachers, and students to represent our community and our Jewish Day Schools at the Columbus Ave. Street Fair. Our location could not have been more ideal at 75th and Columbus, and the weather held up nicely despite the forecast for rain.

We coordinated our booth to be next to a Kosher food truck selling bbq fresh from West Orange, and together we distributed “Make the Smart Move” balloons and cool swag to our New York City neighbors. The real treat was meeting young families who were interested in learning more about us.

Who are you? What school are you here from? Where are you located?

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‘Quest for Teaching Excellence’ Conference Held at Kushner

Paula Gottesman could not have been happier. The philanthropist supporting the Jewish community of Greater  MetroWest’s Vision 2025 education innovation talked about the “profound influence” teachers have on their students and how glad she was to see instructors from three different schools working together to improve that influence.

She was the donor behind the November 6 ‘Quest for Teaching Excellence’ Conference, a joint professional development day hosted by the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, and including teachers from the Golda Och Academy and Gottesman RTW Academy.

“The thing I’m most excited about is the collaboration and assistance between the schools, instead of rivalry,” said Gottesman, who attended the program. “Now everyone has benefited from it. I’m so pleased by the way the schools have bought into the opportunities offered to them. The quality just goes up for everyone.”

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Gottesmans Roll Out 10-Year, $10 Million Income Tuition Cap Program

97_200_200.jpgFour Jewish day schools of Greater MetroWest will have their tuition capped at 18 percent or less of a family’s Adjusted Gross Income for qualified middle income families, regardless of the number of children in the family.

This affordability initiative is part of a new 10-year program, known as “Vision 2025,” funded with a $10 million grant from the Paula and Jerry Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community of Greater MetroWest NJ. It makes Greater MetroWest one of the first in the nation to guarantee tuition breaks across an entire community in a coordinated effort.

In a recent interview with RAVSAK, Paula Gottesman shared why she started working on easing the burden of middle income families. “The day schools had scholarships for families who couldn’t afford to pay much, and the wealthy could, of course, afford to pay full tuition. There was a big group in the middle that was not ‘needy,’ but day school education was just not within their budgets. These were families, making about $75,000 to $100,000 in salaries, but tuition for several children was too much of a burden,” she said.

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Four New Jersey day schools to cap tuition for a decade

Jewish-Telegraphic-Agency-logo.png(JTA) — Four northern New Jersey Jewish day schools are promising to cap tuition for middle-income families for 10 years.

A $10 million grant from the Gottesman Foundation will offset the cost of keeping tuition flat at Golda Och Academy, the Gottesman RTW Academy, the Jewish Educational Center and the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, the New Jersey Jewish News reported.

Each of the four schools has agreed to limit total tuition expenditures to 18 percent or less of a family’s adjusted gross income, regardless of the number of children in the family. The program aims to help middle-income families who may be reluctant to apply for or do not qualify for traditional financial aid.

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Gottesman grant caps day school tuition

GottesmanCom_300_400_90.jpgTuition will be capped at all four Jewish day schools in the Greater MetroWest region beginning this year, thanks to a $10 million grant from the Gottesman Foundation. 

The tuition cap program will be in place for 10 years. The cap will apply to all families meeting the criteria for middle-income families, with income ranging from $150,000 up to $325,000. Each school will set its own criteria. 

The announcement makes the Greater MetroWest area among the first to guarantee tuition breaks across a community in a coordinated effort to make day schools more affordable. 

The four schools are Golda Och Academy in West Orange, the Gottesman RTW Academyin Randolph, the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, and the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston.

The full price of tuition ranges from $12,500 to $17,500 for kindergarten and $19,000 to $28,500 at the high school level across all four schools.

The cap is just one part of a new 10-year program, named “Vision 2025,” being funded under the grant from the Paula and Jerry Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

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UJA-Fed. Makes Big Day School Push

first.jpgIn a move that thrusts UJA-Federation of New York more directly than ever into the effort to bolster day school education, the charity announced this week that it is has raised $50 million for a matching grant initiative that will launch in September.

The new Day School Challenge Fund has a goal of eventually raising $200 million. It has been in the works for several years and is designed to strengthen schools’ long-term financial health by establishing endowment accounts, which are the lifeblood of many private schools and universities.

According to the rules of the Fund, UJA-Federation will match on a 1:3 basis the money raised by schools that meet the initiative’s eligibility requirements. Participating schools can first contribute to their accounts in September; for every $3 contributed, UJA-Federation will add $1; the schools can start drawing 5 percent interest on the total a year afterwards.

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Hebrew Academy renamed for benefactors

GottesmanGroundbreakCom_300_200_90.jpgThe Hebrew Academy of Morris County is being renamed “Gottesman RTW Academy,” in recognition of a $15 million challenge gift from its leading benefactors, Paula and Jerry Gottesman of Morristown, and in tribute to the school’s founding families: Rubenstein, Turner, and Wertheimer.

The naming gift is one of the largest for any Jewish day school in North America, and marks the second time a Jewish day school in Greater MetroWest has been named with a $15 million gift.

In a ground-breaking ceremony March 2, Jerry Gottesman announced the new name to a crowd of about 300 that included members of school families, alumni and alumni parents, grandparents, community leaders, and friends.

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “If You Want to Save the Jewish Future, You Have to Build Jewish Day Schools”

sacks.jpgThough Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest Jewish leaders of our time, not everyone is privileged to be exposed to his words in person. Monday night, the attendees of the iJED Day School Conference had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The crowd of day school leaders and educators was spell-bound as Rabbi Sacks painted pictures – with almost equally vivid and engaging strokes – of exchanges between European leaders; words of Torah; and jokes about the Academy Awards and Jews and Chinese food. All of these components were masterfully woven together toward one central message: the vital importance of Jewish day schools, throughout Jewish history, today, and for our future.

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Parley helps day school staff boost skills

KushnerConfLineupCOM_300_160_90.jpgAbout 300 teachers from three Jewish day schools in the Greater MetroWest area came together on Friday, Dec. 6, for their largest-ever gathering, to share expertise and forge connections for mutual support.

The Quest for Teaching Excellence Conference, held at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, was organized under the auspices of the Greater MetroWest NJ Day School Initiative.

Shaped around the theme of “Teachers Teaching Teachers,” it brought together staff members from Kushner, Golda Och Academy in West Orange, and the Nathan Bohrer-Abraham Kaufman Hebrew Academy of Morris County in Randolph, as well as a small contingent from the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth.

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