Published with permission of the Jewish Scene, Volume 13, Number 6
by Scott Ostrow, Development Director at Bornblum Jewish Community School
Bornblum celebrates its 32nd birthday, rolling out its 2019-2020 school year theme, “Illuminate Your World.”
“The theme captures the current energy and spirit at Bornblum,” said Ken Zakalik, board member and chair of the school’s new Marketing Advisory Council. “It’s a time of innovation and forward-thinking. We wanted a theme that expressed how we are brightening the future of our school, our students and our community, both literally and figuratively,”
In a literal sense, this summer the brightening of the school included painting of bright accent walls, large blue stripes down the lower school hallways, installation of LED lighting throughout the school, landscaping upgrades and installation of new colorful and welcoming furniture in the school’s foyer and library.
Bornblum also added a Middle School Coordinator, is in the process of hiring a shared school counselor in partnership with Jewish Community Partners, Jewish Family Service and Margolin Hebrew Academy, and will introduce a new social emotional growth program for students.
The Board of Directors will create a three-to-five year strategic plan for the school. And thanks to generous grants from The Belz Foundation and Memphis Jewish Federation, the school has also made security enhancements over the summer.
Of all the new initiatives, school leaders are most excited to launch the new Mishpachot (families) program. Each student will be part of a mishpacha (family) that includes students in every grade. Mishpachot will sit together at Kabbalat Shabbat and other programs, provide cross-grade social opportunities, and work together throughout the year with a service theme each family will choose. Each mishpacha will develop a crest and banner which will be hung permanently in the gym. In subsequent years, new students will be added to existing mishpachot, and current students will stay in the same mishpacha for their entire time at Bornblum.
Speaking about the mishpachot program, Bornblum’s Head of School, Daniel R. Weiss, says that, “The program is designed to foster a sense of belonging, family responsibility, and opportunity for leadership and growth for students and their parents.”
In addition to launching its Mishpachot program, Bornblum will focus on the needs of families throughout the year. This summer, a revamped Bornblum Parents Association, led by a team of highly committed and creative parents, began planning parent and family events for the year. Bornblum will also be offering parent education programs, the first of which will be a presentation by Grace McClaren of First Responder Training to teach parents and others who have contact with children to recognize the signs of mental health crisis and how to intervene as First Responders.
Thinking about all of the new opportunities at Bornblum, Daniel says that, “With so many great things going on at Bornblum, it is an amazing time to be a part of the Bornblum family.”