Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saul Mirowitz/Solomon Schechter Day School Collaboration

Our first conversations were basic. How old are your kids? What is it about your school that inspires you?

These simple conversations took enormous courage. The Saul Mirowitz Day School and the Solomon Schechter Day School had an eight year history of distancing from one another. With new leadership and a willingness to reach out, the conversation was ready to begin.

Quietly, my Board Chair and I met with the Board Chair and Head of Solomon Schechter Day School to get to know one another and begin a process to which we could not see an end.

The conversation progressed rapidly to hit the heart of the matter. Why do you believe it’s important to sustain your school despite the enormous effort it takes to raise money each year? Why not just merge our schools? And how can we save money and sustain both institutions?

Within six months of meetings, the two schools began to create a plan. The goal: to elevate the functioning of both schools, leverage our dollars, and sustain the philosophic and denominational integrity of each institution. The results: a collaborative atmosphere among the day school community, a willingness to reach out, and a potentially exemplary model for other institutions.

As we move forward, we find that the hardest work has just begun. Now we need to make difficult decisions together, come to agreement, and carve out time from the work of running schools to put our plan into action.

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