Though this month's issue is intended to reflect back on the Prizmah conference, we first and foremost want to extend our thoughts and offer our support to schools and organizations that have received security threats in the past couple of weeks. 

We know your top priority is keeping your students safe, so we sent an email yesterday announcing the measures we 
are taking to support our schools. P lease don't hesitate to contact us if we could provide any assistance to you or 
your school. 

The first Prizmah conference, which took place last month in Chicago, offered a mix of tried-and-true experiences and calculated risks. For many, there was a palpable sense of optimism and new beginnings - which is exactly what we had hoped for. 

Prizmah's CEO,  Paul Bernstein, writes about his  conference experience and the ways he hopes Prizmah staff and conference attendees will use the positive energy 
as a springboard for new beginnings in Jewish education.

Snapshots from the 2017 Prizmah Conference 

If you were at the conference, by now you've had the chance to settle back into your  routine in your schools and communities. Now that some time has passed, we are thinking about what new insights still linger from our time together. How are you building on the things you've learned and the connections you've made?

If you weren't able to attend, we'll try to fill you in on what you missed. Take a look at our presentation,  Snapshots from the 2017 Prizmah Conference, to either relive the experience or get a sense of what it was all about. 


All Inclusive: Bringing a Mindset of Inclusion to Every School

"If 20% of our American population has special needs, can we afford to continue to exclude this significant segment of our Jewish community in our schools, synagogues, and programs?"

This question, posed by Shira Ruderman, Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, was the central theme behind her impassioned presentation to all conference attendees, which focused on a comprehensive vision of inclusion and mindset. 

In our effort to help Jewish day schools in this mission, we are proud to recap and share Shira's presentation. We also asked  Alan Oliff of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies to build upon Shira's vision by sharing his thoughts on where the Jewish day school field stands today and what is possible for the future.


Be sure to check out our gallery of photos - and if you see yourself, feel free to download and share on social media using the hashtag #Prizmah17! 

Because photos can only convey so much, we invited the sketch-noting artists from CreativeConnection to illustrate conversations at the conference as they occurred, in real time. As is the case with any work of art, finding meaning is often open to interpretation and is a subjective activity. We invite you to find a partner, flip through, take some time with one or more that catch your eye, and see what messages stand out for you! 

(CASJE)  session, Nurturing Success in Day School Leaders: From Research to Practice, at the conference, it's not too late to benefit from their insights on leadership research. Their latest study identifies three key actions that school boards, school associations, and program providers can take to motivate leaders' participation in continued professional development. 

What does successful leadership in our day schools depend on? Find out in our newest podcast hosted by Prizmah's VP of School Services,  Jane Taubenfeld Cohen.  In this episode, Jane speaks with Dr. Bruce Powell, Head of School at the  de Toledo High School  in LA  and Rabbi Marc Baker, Head of School at  Gann Academy  in Waltham, MA. Learn about Dr. Powell's existential triangle (academic excellence, development, or admissions) for school leaders and Rabbi Baker's existential pillars of leadership (vision, strategy, and culture/talent) - and more! 

We are so thankful to our Prizmah supporters and Prizmah conference
sponsors and invite you to learn more about their work:

The Hardest Conversation: Dismissing Faculty and Staff

Though we've tried to convey much of the joy, inspiration, and optimism present at the conference, we also know that many challenging conversations took place there as well. We'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that many of our leaders have tough decisions to make in their schools in the coming weeks and months, especially with regards to staffing. In his latest article, Prizmah's Director of Leadership
Services,  Rabbi Maccabee Avishur,  shares some insights on how to lead a difficult conversation with staff members who will not be re-hired next year.