On Measuring Success

On Measuring Success

I read your article, “Day Schools Cultivating a Secret Resource: Parents” (May 16), with great
interest. Abrams Hebrew Academy participated in the Measuring Success survey
two years ago and used the results of that survey to address areas of
perceived weakness in our school.

This year, our parents participated in the
survey again, and we were heartened to see that opinions about the areas
identified in the first survey as weak were substantially improved. A
majority of Abrams parents would recommend the school to their peers, and
that is great news for us. I totally agree with Measuring Success’ managing
director, Sacha Litman, that the greatest driver for recruitment is perceived
quality, and positive word of mouth is the most important element in
increasing enrollment.

Abrams also participated in a three-year Yeshiva University benchmarking project
led by Harry Bloom. The concept was that lowering expenses would
limit the rise of tuition and make day school more affordable.

Although Litman states that there is no correlation between lowering
tuition and increasing enrollment, after 33 years as director of Abrams
Hebrew Academy, I vehemently disagree. It is fine to survey people who are
already part of the day school community, but what about the Jews who, when
faced with $50,000 a year tuition, determine that it is unaffordable and do
not even pick up the phone to inquire about the school? These Jewish
families, the “vanishing Jews,” contribute to the dwindling enrollment in
day schools because they are discouraged from even making that first call by
the high tuition fees.

Once families are in the school, involved in the community and confident that
their children are receiving a superior education in a nurturing environment, 
tuition is not a barrier. My question is how Measuring Success or any other
survey measures the “vanishing Jews” and the reasons why they don’t
even take the first step in enrolling their children at a Jewish day school? 

Director, Abrams Hebrew Academy Yardley, Pa.

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