It’s hard to believe the year is winding down already. Our students can rightly boast of many spectacular achievements:
- Our TCK mock trial team just won first place in the regional competition.
- Our TCK budding scientists and engineers took first-place in the Toronto Weizmann Physics Competition and competed in Israel in the international competition.
- Our TCW DECA team qualified among over 6,000 students in the provincial competition and earned a place at the International DECA competition in Orlando, Florida.
- Our TCW Tigers added two more league championships to make it four for this year’s Junior and Varsity Girls’ Basketball championships and the Varsity Boys’ and Girls’ Hockey championships.
- Students from both campuses in Grade 10 recently returned from a mini-mester in Eilat where they conducted field research in marine biology with post-doctorate students from Ben Gurion University.
I say: Spread the word! We’re on fire! Every day, we have over 1,100 reasons to be proud. Each student is contributing something important to the school and brings honour to the Jewish community.
Spread the word because I hear concern in the community about declining enrolment. Yes, our enrolment is declining, as it is in all schools in Toronto due largely to demographic shifts. Sadly, this has meant, for us, that we have had to lay off teachers. However, we have developed a long-term plan that ensures that TanenbaumCHAT will remain the premier place for educating Toronto’s Jewish teens.
Spread the word about what we are doing to retain our edge. Let the community know that we are:
- Intensifying recruitment efforts by hiring a full-time recruitment and admissions director and establishing a parent Recruitment and Volunteer Engagement committee.
- Managing expenses more tightly, eliminating tiny classes (<4 students) that drain the budget, and implementing cross-campus programming that minimizes duplication.
- Adding Advanced Placement (AP) and other advanced Jewish Studies and General Studies courses starting 2016-2017 as well as offering summer school courses starting 2016.
- Raising the academic standards of grads by requiring Grade 12 students to take G12 English at TanenbaumCHAT and not through an outside service – effective the 2016-2017 academic year.
- Piloting a new Jewish Studies curriculum in New Stream written by the Melton Centre and tested in Jewish day high schools in the USA.
- Developing the Jewish Studies curriculum so that students in the upper grades starting 2016-2017 have a wider variety of Jewish Studies courses from which to choose.
- Utilizing technology to link the two campuses so that we can continue to offer a broad range of courses and minimize course cancellation due to lower numbers.
If you hear negative rumours such as we’re closing a campus, please assure them we have marshalled the creativity, grit, and vision to retain two campuses of enduring significance.
Let me conclude by saying how much joy I have experienced at TanenbaumCHAT and what a privilege it is to lead this great institution. Although we are living through challenging times, I see opportunity and excitement in the years ahead. The administration, board and I welcome your questions and ideas. We are stronger when we work in partnership.