Supporting Miami's Ecosystem of Jewish Day Schools

Posted on 02/09/2024 @ 05:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

Lehrman Community Day School Lions Basketball Team @lehrmanschool

The simplest definition of an ecosystem is “a community or group that lives in and interacts with each other in a specific environment and requires energy from an external source.” For Miami’s ecosystem of Jewish day schools that source is CAJE.


CAJE’s Day School department has worked in partnership with Miami’s Jewish day schools and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation to ensure a vibrant and healthy ecosystem thanks to the work of the CAJE Day School team: Audrey Maman Bensoussan, Associate Director, School Markets; Valerie Mitrani, Director of Day School Professional Development; Julie Lambert, Senior Educational Consultant and Orly Landau, Teacher Certification for Judaic Studies and Hebrew Language.


How do we do this?


Interconnectedness: A Jewish day school community is composed of various essential components and the interactions of these components contribute to the overall functioning of the community.


Through our professional networks: the Principal’s and Administrator’s Council (PAC), the Coalition of Miami Admissions Directors (CMAD), and the CAJE Mental Health Network, day school leaders and professionals collaborate and support each other in a unique way.


From heads of school sharing ideas on how to increase teacher recruitment in our community, to admissions directors collaborating to develop common recommendation forms for all schools to use for applicants, these networks strengthen each school and the community as a whole.


Adaptability: In the Jewish educational space, change is constant. Our day schools need to pivot, sometimes at a moment’s notice, with changes in curriculum, technology, and methodologies to remain effective and provide the highest quality education.


Through various initiatives designed by CAJE, such as JBlendMiami, the Jewish New Teacher Project, and more recently the MindCET Teacherpreneurs program, schools have built and continue to build capacity to adapt to change swiftly.


Feedback Loops: Through needs assessments, ongoing communication, and regular feedback, CAJE and the schools strive for continuous improvement. CAJE partners with schools to determine what educational gaps need to be addressed and work together to identify the necessary expertise and to customize professional development solutions to meet each individual school’s needs.


Balance: The beauty of the Miami Jewish day school community is its diversity. In our work with schools, CAJE aims to strike a balance between innovation and tradition, adapting to educational advancements while preserving core values and principles. For example, CAJE’s South Florida Jewish Day School Robotics Initiative provides both co-ed and single-gender competitions to allow all children to participate comfortably.


Resource Management: As a central agency, CAJE can access and maximize resources for professional development, academic support for students, and equipment necessary to provide a well-rounded education for each child. Over the last 5 years, CAJE has advocated for and leveraged close to one million dollars on behalf of Jewish day schools.


Understanding a little about how CAJE’s day school department supports our day schools and provides enriching and quality professional development can help stakeholders and the community appreciate the interconnectedness and complexity of their Miami educational ecosystem, fostering a deeper sense of community and stewardship.