Update on the location of the Kamin branch
By: Dr. Rabbi Mark Smiley, Head of School & Elaine Osher, President, Board of Directors
It’s back to school for students but your AHS community has been hard at work all summer.
Thank you to the Board of Directors, our school leadership and so many parents and volunteers who filled out surveys, attended meetings and joined our action groups. It is this dedication that is making sure that the Board can keep to its resolution of a meaningful 90 to 120-day community feedback period prior to making a decision as to the best place to move the AHS Kamin branch.
After an intensive series of parent and community information sessions, two action groups were established. One focused on fundraising and the other on enrolment. Each group was led by two Board members to ensure there was ongoing and direct feedback.
The Fundraising Action Group set a goal to securing financial gifts that could potentially affect the decision of the location of the Kamin branch. Donors were identified consisting of both longstanding AHS donors, community donors and donors who were identified by northern parents in the Save the North initiative (a grassroots organization of parents and community members advocating for Jewish Day School presence in York Region).
Throughout the summer, these donors were approached at the giving levels that were set by the group for impacting the Board process.
The Enrolment Action Group identified the need for three healthy (full) Grade 1 classes in the north campus. The parent ambassador program volunteers were engaged to help generate enthusiasm for re-enrolment, new enrolment and support for the new location of Kamin, once decided. This work is ongoing.
The Enrolment Action Group also moved forward with a task of enhancing relationships with feeder preschools. Lastly, the Group identified some additional enhancements to make enrolment more accessible to working parents, such as programming and daycare enhancements.
While these two action groups were hard at work, AHS leadership intensively continued conversations with UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, concerning both location options and funding.
AHS also conducted a survey of all current Kamin families and all prospective families (identified by our list of parents who have inquired about school over the past two years but have not yet enrolled.)
A more intense marketing campaign was also developed for roll out starting this fall.
The Board has been apprised of all the details from this work and is scheduled to deliberate on the finding and make a decision on the future location of the Kamin branch in October.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency and open communication. We will update this blog again when a decision is made. We will also continue to use our online Community Conversation Facebook Group.
In recent days, the AHS Atkinson building was listed officially for sale making the search for a new home for the Kamin branch a more concrete reality for many.
As Kamin Principal, Karen Sitnik, so eloquently said in her blog, “Just like when we move houses, we take with us all of our special things (iPad, toys, etc.). Even if we are in a different building, you will still be with your friends, amazing teachers, have SMART Boards, do exciting projects, and have Rosh Chodesh and holiday celebrations.”
AHS is so much more than its physical walls. Wherever the Kamin branch winds up, it will thrive, and that is a fact of which we are 100% certain.