Kamin Branch Announcement and Q & As
Associated Hebrew Schools announces new location of Kamin branch
(TORONTO – October 18, 2017) – The Associated Hebrew Schools Board of Directors announced today, that after extensive community consultation and careful exploration, it has decided to move the Kamin branch to Finch Avenue and consolidate from a three-campus to a two-campus school for the 2019/2020 school year.
The Kamin branch will remain at the current Atkinson location for the remainder of this year (2017/2018) and through the next academic year (2018/2019). Starting in September 2019, the Kamin branch will operate out of the Hurwich Education Centre that will also continue to house the Danilack Middle School.
“Now that a decision has been made, the Board has provided a 22-month timeframe to work with educational planners and architects to ready the building,” said Elaine Osher, Board president. “Our goal will be to preserve the unique identities of both the Kamin branch and the Danilack Middle School while also enjoying the ability to have joint programing. Over the coming months, there will be artistic renderings that will help everyone better visualize the concept.”
The Board announcement also underscored its deep appreciation of the community’s participation and shared ideas over the past few months.
“We are excited by the possibilities that will take place in the Hurwich Education Centre (Finch Ave.) and we are energized by the support of our families that rolled up their sleeves and participated in this process. I can assure every Associated family that the Board is 100 per cent committed to ensuring that we remain the school of choice for parents looking for uncompromising academic excellence in a rich traditional Jewish environment that is accessible to all.”
Associated Hebrew Schools was founded in 1907 as the Simcoe Street Talmud Torah. It broke new ground in its use of modern Hebrew language to teach Judaic subjects. Secular courses were integrated to expand the school into a full-day school, and children from across the diverse Jewish community learned side-by-side. As a true community school, Associated families come from across the city and represent all observance levels and socio-economic backgrounds.
We hope the Questions & Answers below provide the additional information you may be searching for.
Q. What happened during the 120-day consultative period established by the Board?
A. Two action groups were established corresponding to the two areas of need: one for enrolment, the other for fundraising. Each action group was headed by board members and open to anyone in the community willing to join the efforts. The Enrolment Action Group developed strategies for increasing the number of students enrolled at Kamin and secured a large committee of parents interested in helping to reach out to potential new families. The Fundraising Action Group had great success in terms of motivating people to come out to the first meeting. Unfortunately, despite much effort to bring forth new donors, and reaching out to past donors, no additional funding was secured and no material commitments were made for future gifts.
Simultaneously, AHS leadership had extensive meetings with UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and some of its partner agencies. Alternative solutions were sought, such as renting space from public and private schools, including Jewish day schools, in York Region.
A survey was circulated to all current Kamin parents to help solicit feedback to be shared with the board. Sixty-five per cent of parents responded. The survey results clearly illustrated that Kamin families of equal numbers had split preferences for relocating to the Lebovic Campus or relocating to the Hurwich Education Centre on Finch Avenue, where the AHS Danilack Middle School is situated.
Q. What is the vision of a two branch school on one campus? What will it look/feel like?
A. Now that a final decision has been made, educational planners and an architectural firm will create a new flow for the building that will preserve the unique identities and programs of both the Kamin branch and the Danilack Middle School. Specifically, the Danilack Middle School will retain its feel of a separate school focused on enhanced autonomy, decision-making and adolescence development. The Kamin branch will continue to thrive as a warm, nurturing and safe elementary experience. The school in its new form will have some new spaces, some shared spaces (used at separate times) as well as some spaces dedicated to single branch use. We are also looking forward to enjoying the ability to have joint programing when beneficial.
Q. Has an architecture firm been consulted to see if this plan is viable for this many students?
A. We have consulted with both educational planners and an architectural firm, both of which have confirmed that this plan is viable. Our oldest and our youngest students will all be able to thrive academically, socially and physically at this location.
Q. Is there sufficient space for both schools in the Finch building?
A. Over two summers, renovations will be made to the current building to create the spaces and classrooms needed to accommodate the increased number of students. Depending on the need, space currently used to house administrative offices can be be remodelled into school space, with the administrative team being moved to an offsite location.
Q. How many classes per grade will there be?
A. We are forecasting one JK class, one SK class, and the possibility of up to two classes per grades 1 through 5. That being said, should the need for a third class in a grade arise, we have the ability to create the additional needed space.
Q. Will there be a nursery class in the Hurwich Education Centre in 2019/2020?
A. Historically, AHS has included nursery as part of its elementary schools. Logistically, this is still being investigated.
Q. Will Kamin teachers and administration move with the Kamin branch to the new location?
A. Yes. Children can expect the same excellent and nurturing educators in this new home.
Q. Will there be bussing from York Region to Finch for Kamin families?
A. Heavily subsidized shuttle bussing from 300 Atkinson will be offered.
We also plan to maintain our current bus routes to the Hurwich Education Centre, and will explore alternative routes depending on our parents’ needs.
Q. How will drop off and pick up work?
A. In the coming months, the administration team will determine the details around drop off and pick up. Some ideas that are being considered are separate areas for pick up and staggering start/end times. All decisions will be made with consideration of carpools and bussing requirements, including for those doing multi-grade pickups.
Q. Parking is already a problem. How will this be addressed?
A. We will be exploring different options for creating additional parking spaces.
Q. Will there be before and after care?
A. Absolutely. As is offered now, we know that before and after care are crucial for many of our parents.
Q. Will the consolidation of campuses help to reduce tuition in the future?
A. Strategic and fiscally driven decisions such as this consolidation will be one step in creating a sustainable tuition relief program in the future while ensuring that AHS remains an institution committed to academic excellence. We understand that there is a great need in our community for tuition relief, and this need continues to be a focus for our Board.
Q. Has 300 Atkinson been sold and who is buying the building?
A. There was significant interest in the building, and we received several bids from schools and developers. The sale process is a lengthy one and is still ongoing. It is important that AHS maintain confidentiality to ensure the integrity of the process. Once a sale is finalized and closed, AHS will provide details to the community.