Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MetroWest Day School Alumni Development

What a whirlwind three months it has been!

I am the new coordinator for MetroWest Day School Alumni Development. My job is to work with Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/ Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Hebrew Academy of Morris County and Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union to locate and engage their more than 3,000 alumni.

My first step was to meet with representatives from each of the schools to inventory their alumni outreach. Each school is in a different place in terms of alumni outreach and development. I spent some time getting to know the schools and their professional and lay leadership.

From those meetings we set goals in seven key areas we feel are required to develop a robust alumni program:

Leadership Cultivation

My job is not without challenges. Other Jewish day schools with existing successful alumni outreach programs have long-established high schools. In MetroWest, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School graduated its first class only nine years ago. Hebrew Academy of Morris County is a preK through grade 8 school. We are cognizant of the difficulty of creating strong affinity for an elementary school.

My three top goals at each of the schools are to find and target young professionals, people who are still close enough to their student experience to make alumni involvement more meaningful. I want to implement programs that create value for both current students and alumni -- integrating the alumni into the school. Finally, I want to create regular avenues of communications and events that are cyclical and constant, such as monthly e-newsletters, Facebook fan pages, set annual reunions and gatherings.

My initial contact with our MetroWest day school alumni will be through a survey. We feel that it is important to have alumni buy-in before planning programs and other initiatives. So we want to find out what alumni want to do, how they would like to be contacted and how they would like to help their schools. We are actively recruiting for steering committees, reunion committees, mentoring programs and other programs.

We are so excited to be a part of this experiment and cannot wait to share more with you as our program develops.

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