In Five Years, Who Will Teach Our Children?

Posted on 02/18/2022 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Crisis that we knew was brewing is now here. Every form of Jewish education in Miami and around the country is struggling with a lack of qualified teachers to fill openings. 
With the influx of new families moving down from the Northeast in particular, Miami Jewish day schools are scrambling to find teachers to fill open positions. But our cost of living in the Greater Miami area coupled with steeply increasing prices for houses in safe neighborhoods has made it difficult to attract new teachers.
What is CAJE doing to help our schools find a potential solution to this local crisis?
First, we reached out to our national partner, Prizmah, to discover what they are doing in this area. Second, we began brainstorming possible solutions at our Principal and Administrator Council (PAC) meetings. Third, we formed a Recruitment and Retention Task Force at CAJE from interested volunteer leadership to discuss the issue and find solutions. 
In December, Prizmah, in partnership with the Nachshon Project Graduate Student Fellowship, put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) asking communities if they wanted help in undertaking a fully funded research project on a topic of our choice related to the field of Jewish day schools and yeshivot.
CAJE jumped at the opportunity!
We already had research from the CASJE study, which had surveyed our Miami school communities (all forms of education, not just day schools) in addition to 7 other communities around the country.
Working with the heads of our ten funded schools, we crafted the RFP with the aim of collecting deeper, more detailed data from our day school teachers and administrators themselves so we could gather their perspective on how to improve recruitment and retention in an anonymous way.
We are so excited to report that CAJE’s RFP was selected!
After weeks of working with Prizmah and the Nachshon fellows to craft the survey, we are proud to announce it should be going out to all of our funded day school classroom teachers and administrators next week (G!D willing).
After we collect and analyze the data in March, we will meet with Heads of Schools and discuss what they have learned, what’s working well and how CAJE can help them improve the things that need improvement.
This community-wide project on behalf of our day schools is only possible because there is an agency like CAJE that has the relationships, the experience and the time (perhaps the most precious asset) to undertake it.
As the “central agency” for Jewish education in Miami, we are ready, willing and able to give our teachers a voice on the issues most important to them and anonymously relay their suggestions to school leaders—so that our entire day school system continues thriving into the future.