Epstein’s New Year
OpinionsRosh Hashanah 5779

Epstein’s New Year

David Abusch-Madger is head of school at The Epstein School.

David Abusch-Magder
David Abusch-Magder

Our Jewish tradition has great wisdom in how it marks time. We honor both time’s linear progression across the years and throughout our lives, while also celebrating the enduring cycles that repeat year after year and hint at the cycle of lives across generations. The High Holidays speak to both the progression and the cycles of our lives and of our institutions. It is a time to reflect on our actions, celebrate our accomplishments, redouble our efforts, and plan for the future.

At The Epstein School we are engaged in just this sort of activity, as we have built on our past and are planning for our future by launching our 20Chai initiative, which was seeded with more than $5 million in cash and endowment gifts. The purpose of this new and timely initiative is to enhance and continue to deliver an exceptional education and create a new way to invest in our current and future Epstein families. We know that choosing Epstein is an investment for our families. 20Chai is our platform for ensuring excellence and addressing affordability.

Our two-pronged approach focuses on excellence and affordability efforts while continuing discussions around these key issues that are facing Jewish day schools locally and nationally. We want to see our efforts impact the broader community and the lives of Jewish students across Atlanta and the country. We know that for real, sustainable change to occur, these efforts must extend beyond this initiative at Epstein.

On a day-to-day basis at Epstein, this initiative will help us continually innovate and improve our academic program that is led by our specialized STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and Hebrew language programs.
The 2018-19 school year began a few weeks ago and students are already enjoying the benefits of our renewed focus and energy. We were able to recruit and retain top teachers and create new positions to enrich learning. Our new Teacher Innovation Fund will encourage our educators to think differently and fund bringing their new ideas to life in the classroom.

Our new STEAM coordinator is focused on integrating hands-on learning into all subject areas across the school, including additional MakerMorning activities, expanded coding and reverse engineering instruction, and STEAM in the Chagim projects.

Cultivating the unique Jewish identity of each student has been and remains a cornerstone of the Epstein experience. With new professionals and new ideas, we have formed a Jewish Life committee that will develop ways to enhance Jewish experiences throughout the school, including Shabbat B’Yachad, holiday celebrations, and tefillah.

However exceptional our education, there are some families for whom tuition is too great to achieve their dream of enrolling at Epstein. Pay it Forward, our new program that provides additional avenues for access to Epstein, is an investment by our community in these families. It will be available to students beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. The innovative tuition reduction program is designed for current and new families who are in the beginning stages of their careers and financial lives. It is an investment in the future of these students, their families, and our community.

As we begin 5779, I am excited by what this year and the future will bring. I know it will be a year of growth and learning for our students, our families, and professionals. May it be a year filled with health, happiness, learning and growth for you and for our whole Atlanta community:

‏שנה טובה ומתוקה

Shanna tova u’metuka.

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