FROM OUR LEADERSHIP
For Jewish day schools, 2020-2021 was a year when the deep value of a Jewish day school experience shone out across the world of education. Delivering great secular and Judaic learning, being vibrant communities that care deeply for the holistic development of each child, investing in mental health and wellness, and being driven by values that shape a life, our schools overcame the challenges of the pandemic. Enrollment grew as families recognized the quality a Jewish day school offers. Once a part of the rich communities created in day schools, new families decided to stay.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the school professionals and lay leaders who served as frontline heroes this past year. It is due to their dedication that we can envision a vibrant, passionate, knowledgeable, and committed Jewish community, empowered by Jewish day schools, for generations to come.
As the new school year unfolded, we witnessed a changing narrative, from existential insecurity to hopeful promise. We are reminded of the transition in the Torah from Bereshit/Genesis to Shemot/Exodus, from a family struggling for survival amidst scarcity to a growing people equipped with the Torah as they discover their destiny. Liturgically, we mark this transition in the synagogue with a communal call for strength--“hazak, hazak, v’nithazek,” “be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened.” For day schools, this transition to an era of growth also calls out for strength.
Prizmah believes deeply that day school growth is the result of focused efforts to strengthen our schools. In FY21, we ran 55 programs, gatherings, and webinars for 1,094 professionals, lay leaders, and educators across 305 day schools in North America. We are the network for Jewish day schools and yeshivas, enhancing their ability to excel and thrive, by deepening talent, catalyzing resources, and accelerating educational innovation.
"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the school professionals and lay leaders who served as frontline heroes this year.
This report spotlights Prizmah’s four impact areas where we have made significant progress. We invite you to learn more, and join us as we continue our work to ensure that schools are equipped to thrive in an ever-changing world.
Paul Bernstein, CEO & David Friedman, Board Chair
Prizmah is having a major impact on strengthening the Jewish future through creating meaningful connections, customized support, and robust programming for day schools and yeshivas across North America.
PRIZMAH'S NETWORK OF SCHOOLS AND YESHIVAS
Throughout the year, Prizmah serves schools across the United States and Canada. From accessing our resources, to attending webinars and gatherings, to seeking coaching and consulting, we are proud that lay and professional leaders from schools large and small and across the denominational spectrum turn to Prizmah for support and connection.
In communities where we serve a multitude of schools, Prizmah is proud to report on engagement at a regional level.
NETWORK TO LEARN
The Prizmah Network enables schools, communities, and the broader field to connect, deepen relationships, and drive impact, and is built on the belief that peer-to-peer learning and strong relationships will strengthen our schools and our communities for many years to come.
In 2020-2021, we had 1156 registrations for our reshet (peer-to-peer professional development) groups and saw a marked increased participation in all network activities, with a total of 305 schools of all denominations accessing experiences including gatherings, webinars, check-ins, weekly meetups and more on a wide range of topics including Emotional Intelligence: From Theory to Practice, Race and School Culture: A Five Part Deep Dive, Exploring Alternative Tuition Models, and a highly popular series on Rituals from Afar.
SPOTLIGHT: Increased Engagement
The expanded participation in our online gatherings and meetups point to Prizmah’s success at engaging more schools and more school leaders. Behind the numbers is a story of how Prizmah’s strategy led to direct impact. As massive COVID prevention measures spread across the world, Prizmah’s network infrastructure and experience using technology to build and maintain relationships enabled us to pivot immediately and provide the content and connections that school leaders urgently needed. As information changed quickly, we shifted from hosting webinars to opening up weekly
"Every school leader was suddenly in "learning mode," and Prizmah, already on speed-dial for so many professionals, was a trusted guide.
meetups where hundreds of leaders shared on-the-ground experiences, enabling school leaders to learn and apply the very newest of successful practices. Internally, Prizmah created a weekly “trends meeting” to share what we were hearing from schools and reading in the media in order to predict and plan for the next curves in the road. Investing in an iterative relationship-based model of engagement meant creating spaces for peer-to-peer relationships to grow and shifting quickly when needs changed. Every school leader was suddenly in “learning mode,” and Prizmah, already on speed-dial for so many professionals, was a trusted guide.
DIVE INTO NETWORK TO LEARN
Original research, data, and reports on Jewish day school trends to support field leaders.
Resources and thought leadership for and about Jewish day schools and yeshivas.
Investments in professional and lay leaders empower them to transform their schools into vibrant centers of learning and Jewish community. Prizmah helps leaders gain new skills and knowledge so they can drive successes in their schools. Our leadership programs, training, and resources are designed for individuals in various professional roles and for different types of day schools. In 2020-2021, Prizmah supported more than 350 leaders through MeetUps, creating connections that resulted in better decisions for stronger schools. Research documents the impact of coaching on improved work performance, relationships and communication skills. In 2020-2021, Prizmah brought individual coaching to 16 day school leaders and supported an additional 30 leaders through our
signature YOU Lead immersive program. In a year of relatively few leadership transitions, three schools engaged Prizmah’s search services.
SPOTLIGHT: YOU Lead
Now in its 10th year, YOU Lead is Prizmah’s customized leadership development program that offers professionals one-on-one coaching, intensive learning with top leaders in the field of Jewish education, and a strong peer network. At a time when retention of top talent is a critical concern, over 95% of YOU Lead alumni have remained in the day school field, and more than 60 YOU Leaders have taken on an advanced role since participating. Nearly 40% of women who are heads of school at Orthodox schools are YOU Lead alumni. The YOU Lead signature approach combines
"Research proves that leaders who know both their strengths and challenges work more collaboratively, efficiently, and effectively."
leadership skills training coupled with self-awareness building. Research proves that leaders who know both their strengths and challenges work more collaboratively, efficiently and effectively. Coaching, combined with access to a trusted network of peers, enables participants to build on the skills and insights they gain to advance their learning with real-time practice. YOU Lead’s impact is felt by individual leaders as well as by the institutions they lead.
DIVE INTO DEEPENING TALENT
Individualized coaching with proven methodology leads to transformational change.
A customized approach to board training on practice, governance, self-assessment, and more.
Schools require significant and sustainable funding from diverse revenue streams to thrive. Recognizing that the largest sources of revenue in day schools are tuition and fundraising, we work with school professionals in the areas of admission and development. When schools are able to maximize their potential income, educational excellence and affordability, both of which affect retention, are themselves enhanced. In 2020-2021, 344 school leaders participated in 23 Prizmah gatherings, trainings, and customized support to increase and diversify their revenue streams. We launched a study of parents whose children joined day schools, revealing that the enrollment gains of the pandemic were likely to continue and opening up a valued window into the thought process of “near
miss” parents who had once before considered day school and opted out. Through Prizmah’s School Services, we worked with individual schools and communities to develop strategic plans and consult on their specific needs.
"Success in recruiting new families contributes to financial sustainability and positions schools for a healthier future.
Engage: Growing School and Community Partnerships positions Jewish day schools as hubs of communal Jewish engagement so that more families become engaged with the school and consider enrolling their children. This year-long cohort program, a partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and PJ Library, provides funding and expertise so that schools can attract more prospective students and build stronger connections across their Jewish community. Through a previous Prizmah initiative on
engagement and enrollment over multiple years, more than 30 Jewish day schools recruited over 100 new students from previously unknown families within their communities. Success in recruiting new families contributes to financial sustainability and positions schools for a healthier future. Now newly-designed, in its first year, Engage prompted applications that far exceeded initial capacity in partner schools. Funders stepped up their support so that 22 schools could join the cohort—more than double what was originally planned. In a model of community-wide support, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and The Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education made it possible for all Toronto schools to participate.
DIVE INTO CATALYZING RESOURCES
DAY SCHOOL AFFORDABILITY
Tuition models, strategic and financial planning, and affordability initiatives.
“How can schools sustain [their COVID increased] level of fundraising in the longer term?”
Prizmah creates spaces where educational innovation is generated, shared, and can flourish. We offer opportunities for leaders and educators to learn about and experiment with new classroom approaches and emerging educational priorities. Expert-led and data-based professional development make it possible for leaders and educators to learn about and experiment with new classroom approaches and emerging educational priorities.
SPOTLIGHT: Mental Health
Prizmah’s work mobilizing and connecting school counselors has grown alongside the expansion of the role of mental health professionals in schools. Prizmah’s Mental Health Summit grew rapidly from a one day event where we had to cap participation at 110 to a three-day gathering for over 150 professionals from 72 schools and educational organizations. This year we will offer continuing education credits for the first time. The impact of our work is seen in the way counselors take what they have learned through Prizmah’s network (more than 50 school counselors participate actively in our Reshet) and bring resources and modalities directly back to their school. In the past year, over 15 schools engaged with Prizmah professionals for in-
"The impact of our work is seen in the way counselors take what they have learned through Prizmah's network and bring resources and modalities directly back to their schools.
school trainings, and we conservatively gauge that at least 50 times, counselors have brought back to their schools experts they encountered through the network on topics ranging from body image and substance abuse prevention to self-care. Prizmah’s approach enables learning to spiral throughout a school; because of Prizmah’s internal knowledge sharing among those who lead our diverse Reshet groups, dilemmas of practice and innovative solutions raised in one Reshet can be shared with another group, enabling participants immediate access to cutting-edge ideas.
DIVE INTO EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION
Supplying teachers with the tools they need to enhance their students' nuanced learning.
Creating cultures of belonging for every student in Jewish day schools.
FY 2020-2021 FINANCIAL INFORMATION
OPERATING REVENUE AND SUPPORT
Grants & Contributions
Program & Service Fees
Interest & Other Income
Changes in Net Assets
Beginning of Year
End of Year
BLUE DIAMOND GIVING SOCIETY
Prizmah’s work wouldn’t be possible without the support of these generous donors. Friends of Prizmah and members of Prizmah’s Blue Diamond Giving Society form a crucial partnership that builds upon the strength of Jewish day schools, bolsters school leaders, and ultimately keeps students and families connected to Jewish values and the Jewish people.
To join these day school heroes in ensuring Jewish continuity through quality Jewish education, please contact Hannah Olson, Senior Vice President, Development.
Crown Family Philanthropies
Jim Joseph Foundation
The Azrieli Foundation
The Marcus Foundation
Ann and Jeremy Pava, Trustees, Micah Philanthropies
Harold Grinspoon Foundation
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
The Mayberg Foundation & Arnee R. and Walter A. Winshall
The Segal Family Foundation
Paul and Lois Volosov
Lisa Popik Coll and Arieh Coll
Joyce and David Friedman
Moshe and Abbie Greenberg
Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz
Robin and Brad Klatt
Kathy Manning and Randall Kaplan
Shari and Nathan J. Lindenbaum
Lippman Kanfer Foundation For Living Torah
Yehuda and Chani Neuberger
Wilf Family Foundations
Alisa and Dan Doctoroff
Lizbeth and George Krupp
Marty and Hili Scheck
Lisa Capelouto and Paul Bernstein
Alyce and Philip de Toledo
Alana Riss Fine and Brett Fine
Sarena and David Koschitzky
Marcia and Alan Leifer
Lauren and Ezra Merkin
Debbie and Sam Moed
Gail and Elliot Norry
Susan and Scott Shay
Paul E. Singer Foundation
Elaine and Joseph Steiner
Deborah Shapira and Barry Stern
Council of American Jewish Museums
Renee and Steve Finn
Brenda and Harvey Freishtat
Elissa and Bruce Maier
Greater Miami Jewish Federation
Rabbi Suzanne and Andy Offit
Hannah and Erich Olson
Sara and Yossi Prager
Steven and Ruthy Rosenberg
Beth Kaplan and Bruce Sholk
Wendy Lovell-Smith and Colin Smith
Morry and Judy Weiss
Jorge and Tammy Woldenberg
Rebecca and Marc Wolf