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Formal Hebrew at Glen Eira College in 2012? Counting Down to Decision Day

November 29, 2011 – 8:05 pm6 Comments

D-Day for the Free Jewish Education Movement. You can help by filling out a simple survey!

By Jonathan Schauder
I’m writing to share the great news that Glen Eira Secondary Collage (located at 76 Booran Rd, East Caulfield) has been very receptive to the proposal we presented in August 2011!

To remind everyone, the vision submitted to the School was simple. We hoped to respond to the community need for Jewish education options via a simple three pronged proposition:

1.        Introduce Hebrew as a formal in-school hours language elective from years 7-12, along side the French, Chinese and other language electives on offer;

2.        Introduce Religion and Society (Judaism) as a VCE humanities subject; and

3.        Provide support to coordinate out of school hours services for secondary students on an individual-interests basis.

The process and feedback has been very positive and successful to date!

In fact we the School have been so helpful that Hebrew is all but ready to be introduced as soon as 2012 if demand, governance and logistics issues can be managed.

We thank the School community for their excellent approach.

Lesley Lamb, Principal of Glen Eira College recently released the following public statement:

Glen Eira College Principal, Lesley Lamb, has shown her commitment to working with the community to provide an excellent, inclusive education.  The school welcomes the interest of the Jewish community in introducing some targeted Jewish language and culture programs at the school.  To this end, the school is liaising with some current Glen Eira parents to gauge whether the level of interest warrants proceeding further down this track. While there are many pragmatic, educational and governance issues to work through, the College Council and staff are supportive in principle.  A  broad consultation process will be pursued to ensure any programs implemented are consistent with government guidelines and introduced in a staged and controlled way.

The Next Step: Decision is Coming – December 12th as a Critical Deadline!

On December 12 2011, the Year 7 Orientation Evening for enrolled or interested families will conduct a final canvassing of the level of demand to commence Hebrew in 2012 for the Year 7 group. If the demand is there, the school is likely to be very supportive to proceed. Our coordinating group is optimistic!

If the demand is not there, we will focus on commencing the roll out in 2013 or look for other options on what to do.

If your friends, family, or friends of friends have not yet heard about the possibility – please let them know ASAP. Time is now critical – especially if the idea of formal Hebrew classes might change their thinking about where to enrol their Year 7 child in 2012.

We are so buoyed by the pace of the possible program that we are now on the look out for teachers that might be interested; and funders who would like to contribute to the program. I thank those who have already been in touch!

Support from everywhere

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all those who have supported this initiative and continue to contribute positively including: UJEB, CJC Hebrew Immersion, Lamdeni, JCCV, Spiritgrow, the AJN, and of course this web-site!

In particular I’d like to thank the working group of leaders, parents and experts who stepped forward to bring this vision to life – especially Robert Hain and Danni Miller.

Fill in a survey!

Finally we are using a survey to establish interest in the longer term for this concept. If you’d like to complete and submit the survey we’d really appreciate it. So far around 50 families have expressed future interest. These families are not Year 7 parents in 2012… they range from having kids starting in 2013 through to a family with twins interested for 2021!

The data will help us not only to make better decisions but of course also help us keep everyone informed. A survey can be accessed by emailing emmajonny at optusnet.com.au

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world – in fact it is the only thing that ever has.” Unknown

Jonny Schauder is one of Melbourne’s leading consultants in the area of Change Management, High Performing Teams and Leadership. He is a Psychologist and has lectured on Negotiation and Influence in the Monash Business School MBA, and is managing director of The Change Agent Network.

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  • frosh says:

    For the sake of the community, let’s hope this venture succeeds.

    It’s not only the burden that school fees put on individual community members, such as can be seen in this example; it’s also the burden that it puts on the community as a whole. All the money that goes to prop up the school system needs to be seen in terms of opportunity cost. Imagine some of the programs that could be funded if a significant proportion of those funds were freed up.

  • Trent says:

    The first 2 points seem reasonable, but it depends on how they are implemented.

    1. What will be the cost of the language teacher? If other languages are offered why not?
    2. If there are other Religion and Society courses in VCE humanities why not? Is there a general religion and society course?
    3. This last point could easily cause an issue, why is it up to the school to perform this function? Should schools organise out of school hours activities on an individual basis for whatever those individuals want? For example; sport/chess/tai-chi/ethical debates/music/historical re-enactments/atheist discussion groups?

  • Jonny says:

    Thanks Frosh. Thanks Trent. The third point is support at a very operational level like the use of a room if needed. All coordination etc for before and after hours activities would be managed by the community.

    Yes R&S is a generic course bit the teacher can make choices of emphasis. For example you must do a major focus on one of the ancient religions/societies like Aborigines… But there are lots of choice including ancient Israelites. And one major religion like Catholisism, Islam etc and of course Judaism is an option. This is the basic curriculum that all private schools use to teach their philosophies and comparisons at VCE level.


  • Jonny says:

    Apologies for my typos… iphone plus big fingers… LOL

  • Gabbi says:

    Thanks for this tremendous initiative. As a parent of a toddler, I’m also hoping it works out… it may even force a shift in the Jewish Day schools…

  • Jonny says:

    Thanks Gabbi
    Its all gone well. The School is now working on all the operational issues. But all seems on track! By the time your little one hits secondary, GEC will be both a great Jewish and academic option. Thanks for your support!!

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