In an effort to make Jewish education more affordable for some, The Epstein School is starting a new Pay it Forward tuition reduction program made possible through $5 million in cash and endowment gifts the school recently raised. The money will launch a new 20Chai initiative to enhance the school’s high education standards and address affordability concerns, said Head of School David Abusch-Magder.
“Excellence is essential to families wanting to be part of our community, however, for some tuition is too great to achieve their dream of being an Epstein family,” Epstein wrote about the initiative. Pay it Forward will be available to students beginning with the 2019-20 school year. Applications will be online in October.
The program is designed for current and new families who are in the beginning stages of their careers and finances. Traditional financial aid will still be available.
In addition to addressing affordability, the new 20Chai initiative allows Epstein to recruit and retain top teachers and create new positions to enrich learning. The new Teacher Innovation Fund encourages teachers to think differently because they can get funding to bring their ideas to life in the classroom. Professional development grants also allow teachers to enhance their own learning from top institutions such as Columbia University’s Teachers College, Jewish Theological Seminary, The School of Hebrew at Middlebury Language Schools, the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute.
Also financed through the 20Chai initiative is the school’s new coordinator of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), who is focused on integrating hands-on learning of subjects across the school, including additional Maker Morning activities, expanded coding and reverse engineering instruction, and STEAM in the chagim (festival) projects.
“Our team is excited to have the opportunity to grow learning opportunities like TILT, which stands for technology and innovation learning time, throughout the school,” said Aaron Griffin, principal of school-wide programs and digital learning. “We are also focused on aligning STEAM philosophies and components into Judaic studies.”
Epstein will continue to innovate and enhance as the year goes on and in future years, said Tali Benjamin, director of strategic marketing and planning.