IR18: April 25-26, 2018

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

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IR18 Pushes day school stakeholders to consider the essential questions and systems for making day schools effective

Don't miss IR18's inspiring speeches delivered by JEIC Funders, Manette Mayberg and Arnee Winshall.

The Innovators Retreat is an annual, intimate convening of Jewish day school provocateurs including educators, philanthropists and consumers committed to their role as change agents. At the 2018 Innovators Retreat, participants were part of a conversation and creative process. The program included robust discussions and critical thinking that revealed participants' own, concrete understanding of the theory of change in schools. 

It's all about a healthy ecosystem...

Like many structures in nature, the Jewish Day School is an ecosystem. Unlike nature, the components in the ecosystem of the Jewish Day School are all living, breathing components. And just like an ecosystem in nature, if the components do not work in sync with each other, that ecosystem will eventually degrade and destroy itself.

The various components of the Jewish Day School ecosystem can be termed the “stakeholders”. These stakeholders are composed of: Educators, Funders and Board Members, Parents, Students, and Influencers (all those that indirectly affect the school such as members of the clergy, national education organizations, and curriculum developers). These exist as discrete components since they each influence the system through their own decision-making capacities.

In a well-run school, these components interact seamlessly like a well-oiled machine. In other schools, the gears grind, create friction, and eventually, radically under-perform.

What are the perspectives of each of the Jewish Day School stakeholders? How do we begin to understand each other’s viewpoints so that we can have our schools function increasingly well? How do the stakeholders feel and perform as they go from out-of-sync to in-sync and how does a Head of School create this ordered alignment? What is the life force of each component/stakeholder and how can we best use each life force to synergize the others?

This was just one aspect of “Connecting the Dots” that participants encountered at IR18. 

Attendees participated in structured critique sessions designed to enhance innovative Jewish education models presented by four JEIC School Challenge Grant recipients. They also helped create a blueprint for effective Jewish day schools and lend their voices and expertise in creating more productive paradigms.