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The Glen Eira College Model Blossoms in 2013

March 19, 2013 – 4:47 pm43 Comments
GEC Purim carnival 2013

Picture from this year’s Purim Carnival held on campus at Glen Eira College

Jonathan Schauder is reinforcing and living the mission to grow the Free Jewish Education Movement.
The United Jewish Education Board (UJEB) estimates that more than 1200 Jewish students are currently enrolled in the State Primary Schools which surround and feed into Glen Eira Secondary College, located in the heart of the Caulfield Jewish demographic.

If one makes the basic assumption that a sixth of these families will come through to High School every year that is 200 Jewish teenage students deciding which State Secondary College to attend.

A small number will enter the private system. The rest will want a State-based educational option that delivers a structured, coordinated and in-depth approach to Jewish identity and community opportunities. And that is what we are committed to providing:

A high quality program for state secondary students to explore, develop and live their Jewish identity. And to have that experience delivered in a diverse cultural and premiere educational and social context.

To be clear our mission is to compete strongly for Jewish families in the State system; and to complete the spectrum of educational offerings available to families in Melbourne. The aim is that every State school which doesn’t properly service its Jewish students will begin to feel the pressure of Jewish students being drawn to Glen Eira Secondary College as a growing cultural community hub.

As it stands, the School is unzoned. This means we are genuinely delivering as close to free Jewish Education as possible for literally any child and family who seeks to access it.

That ambition continues to inspire our commitment.

In 2013 and 2014 the Vision is Simple: Build the Jewish SCENE
Over the next two years we aim to build the Jewish SCENE at Glen Eira College.

SCENE represents the five areas of key focus and priority:

–          Social connections – intra and inter school relationships

–          Community hub – a central community meeting place and premium facilities

–          Educational excellence – Hebrew, Religion and Society and on campus cultural activities. Quality after and before school programs of unprecedented relevance to teenagers

–          Networked community services – Collaboration by the full gamut of local Synagogues, movements and families ion the delivery of services

–          Excited students and families – Growth in involvement and activity

Extra-ordinary Progress
In 2013, I believe we have crossed into the new world, where the College SCENE will be celebrated as a central Jewish Community program. A School where Jews not only feel welcome, but also where their wide ranging needs are understood, accepted and met.

In my earlier articles I suggested that to be a “School for Jews” and not just a “school where Jews go” like McKinnon Secondary, Bentleigh Secondary or Brighton High…  Glen Eira College would have to step up its coordinated and structured approach to Jewish family engagement.

And it has.

Now, before I get attacked by the private school sector, I’m not suggesting the Glen Eira Secondary College will ever exceed the complete immersion and peak exclusivity achieved at a Private Jewish Day School.

And no, before I get questioned again by the multi-culturists, Glen Eira College will always be multi-cultural; and all activities and strategies will be respectful of the divide between religion and state. That is a value and platform totally supported by everyone in our movement. Most parents, who choose the State system as their educational vehicle, find enormous value in identity-building from being involved in cultures different to their own.

But what I am writing to update is that we have now planned for the student body at Glen Eira College to have access to around 320 hours per year of scheduled language, culture, history and community activities at school.

Before, during and after hours, the parent group together with cooperating community groups have filled out the Jewish framework at the school very impressively. The before and after school elements will be delivered seamlessly on site at the School immediately following or before the school day. And the School is enthusiastically providing all it can in class time and lunch times.

The structures and systems are now in place to respect the Jewish calendar, include Jewish culture, encourage Jewish activity, and celebrate Jewish input and values. And these approaches will only improve as more parents and student get involved.

What the framework now envisages
In August 2011 all I hoped for and called for was the simple delivery of Hebrew language, Religion and Society and some formal education after school. Now in 2013 the model includes all of the following wide ranging core ideas and programs – and the possibilities keep coming – if you have any ideas or can offer support please share your thoughts on GECJscene@gmail.com:

  1. Hebrew in year 7 and 8: Three hours per week  (30 minutes per day) for each student in class time. This will continue to grow into years 9, 10, 11 and 12. We have around 30 students enrolled in year 7 and 8 currently. Next year we expect to double that number. And we continue to strive for full funding for the program. A goal we have all but achieved this year.
  2. VCE Religion and Society in years 11 and 12: Aiming to commence in 2014 as a formal subject.
  3. Roots Project in year 9: Program and plans are being finalised.
  4. Jewish Identity and Learning after-school for years 7-12: two hours per week, four streams of learning –Torah, Spirituality and well-being, Jewish values and leadership, and Israeli and Jewish History. This is titled: “J-EDI”, The Jewish Education and Identity Program.
  5. Informal Jewish Leadership for years 7-12: two hours per week delivered by the graduates of the Israel By Choice program. The streams will follow a basic plan of: Jewish self-identity, being a Jew in Melbourne, being an Australian Jew and being a Jew in the world.
  6. Israel and Jewish World Tour Breakfasts with the AZYC and SKIF: One breakfast per month, the AZYC and SKIF Bogrim will take the community that comes along on a tour of a Jewish city or site using Google Maps.
  7. A full festivals calendar and plan: Festivals like Purim, Chanukah, Yom Haaztmaut and Yom Hashoah delivered on campus. Religious Holidays like Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur delivered off campus in collaboration with the Synagogues within close proximity of the School. Our Purim Carnival was successfully held on campus on 25 February and involved the whole school.
  8. Two JSN Camps per year – years 7-12: For all Jewish kids, one of the camps delivered by Israeli Shlichim. The next is on April 5 as a Shabbaton.
  9. Kosher food and Jewish texts: At the canteen and library respectively.
  10. An active Jewish Student Network: on campus, including the ideas for Hebrew radio and newspaper projects.
  11. A mentoring and coaching program for any student that needs to “catch up”.
  12. Year 10 international language and culture tours to Israel: being explored and considered.

And with close to 50 people now engaged in the leadership and delivery of the activities, I continue to be grateful, astonished and proud of the changes we have achieved.

Glen Eira College has its open day in the second week of April. I invite you all to come to tour the facilities and explore the school.

I dedicate this update to my Grandparents: Joyce and David Altschuler who passed away recently. They always believed that you had take responsibility to be the person who changed your own part of the world for the better.

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  • letters in the age says:

    It just keeps getting better….


  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks letters… Thanks for publishing Galus!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    For those interested:

    Open Day / Night – Wednesday 24th April, 2013

    Parents are invited to an Open Night at the college which provides a presentation of college policies and curriculum. Time is scheduled for questions and concerns to be addressed. Time is available to tour the college so that parents can view classes, activities and services in operation and to speak with current staff, student and parent representatives.

  • Stephen Raitman says:

    Great Stuff.
    I want more information. I hope it remains open to all as I have a daughter in Gr 5 this year.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Stephen my guess is that the school has capacity for at least 800-850 students and has only just peaked over the 500 mark for the first time this year. So it will stay unzoned for a while I think. My second child, Ben is in grade 5 and I think it will be a huge year in the Glen Eira College Jewish story when that group hits year 7…

  • I love the roots project idea – perfect way for each student to learn their family history and cultural identity in a multicultural environment! According to this recent New York Times article, the excercise might have broader benefits as well:

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Yes, not a specifically Jewish exercise in this context Rach but you can just imagine the richness and beauty and challenge of a multi cultural class sharing their histories with each other. Very powerful and I think year 9 is the right age for it!

  • Totally agree Jonny! And to those naysayers who either think that you can’t teach Jewish identity outside the Jewish school system, or who think that you can’t bring Jewish education to a public school, it’s a fabulous example of a creative way to teach individual cultural identity in a multicultural context.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    I hope the school has a public exhibition when the time comes. Identity is all about what makes us different and what keeps us the same.., I think the roots experience in a multicultural context will amplify identity learning. I hope it will be a real celebration.

  • While we are on the topic of education, Galus Australis has a pair (1 Adult + 1 child) of passes to Scienceworks (Victoria) to give away.

    Like our Facebook page (If you haven’t already) and then name your favourite fictional and real/historical scientists to go in the draw to win (via commenting on the Facebook thread of this latest article on free education). The draw will take place on Friday afternoon.
    See https://www.facebook.com/galusaustralis

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Rachel, last comment for tonight… The notable aspect of the model is that Roots, RS, Hebrew, Yom Hashoah, Canteen etc will all be managed and delivered by the school, not the parents, as part of the “normal” year…

  • Shirlee. says:

    What an excellent initiative.! Kol ha kavod

    With the exodus of Jewish children from private Jewish day school into the public school system in Sydney, we could well do with a like programme here. That is of course if there isn’t something like that in place which I haven’t heard about

    A few questions for you however.

    You say “our mission” Who please is this “our”?

    Who is funding this? Not specific people if it’s being privately funded, just a general who? – private or government?

    BTW, as of this year Holocaust study is compulsory for NSW school students

  • Andi says:

    You’ve called one of your programs JEDI? You didn’t grow up in the 80’s did you ;-)

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I would love to see the kids at GEC do a Roots project. My kids all did theirs in year 7 at Mt Scopus and I felt then that they weren’t really ready to do it then, as they were just not quite mature enough.

    I had a lot of fun ‘helping’ them but I htink year 9 is a better time to do it – my boys are now in year 9 at GEC and may miss out but it would be great to see other kids getting the benefit.

    And yes, it’s a beautoful thing to see the kids talk baout their different cultures etc.

    Since our boys have gone to GEC, they have invited many frioends over for shabbat dinner and it’s been great for them to share that.I think in some ways it heightens their Jewish identity to see it from an outside perspective.

    keep up the amazinig good work Jonny!

  • Shirlee. says:

    @ Andi………..

    I wish !! :-(

    I know there is talk going on at the moment due to the high number of children being taken out of private schooling. It’s getting a bit over the top price wise. I don’t know of anyone with children and/or grandchildren at public schools.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Shirli. Yes would love to see the model replicated in Sydney. I’m a very middle of the road Jew and realised that this mission couldn’t be owned by any particular ideology or sector. Consequently I funded year one with some help from others and since them it has all been self funded.

    Government funding completely funds Hebrew with the year 7 numbers and is now totally self sustaining. The year 8 numbers still requires parental subsidy due to the small class size.

    I’ve learnt that as a rule of thumb is you can get 14 or more in a class the Govt can fund it of you have a helpful administration.

    Yes the Shoah studies is being driven by the school as curriculum for history. The festivals and activities are funded by UJEBs secondary arm called the Jewish Student Network together with my parents committee called Horim.

    I’ve been running the show for about 24 months now and will be looking to hand over the whole project to JSN by the end of the year once we have created a sustainable platform and governance model.

    All the specialist services before and after school are being voluntarily delivered by local Shuls, families, youth movements and IBC!! It is an enormous collaboration!!

    The idea is that any child can access all the setvices that they and their family are interested in.

    Religion and society should achieve sufficient numbers for govt funding, but that’s a work in progress.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Mandi could agree more… Year 9 ideal!! And having to bring your culture into a diverse group is the greatest identity defining experience a person can have. Builds confidence, commitment, courage and of course requires a person to answer tough questions and decide where they stand in the scheme of things. By year 10 I expect the GEC kids in year 7 to be very confident Jews in a multi cultural world!!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    That was meant to say couldn’t agree more!! Sorry chubby fingers, a small iPhone and late for my daughters 5th bday party!!

  • Shirlee. says:

    I had a look at the BJE web site and can’t see anything akin to what you are doing. One of my cousins I know teaches Jewish Studies at a few State schools but that is through the Yeshiva.

    I’ll ask around after Pesuch.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Better to look at http://www.ujeb.org.au/ and look at the Jewish Student Network…

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Yom Haaztmaut at Glen Eira College has been confirmed for April 19 on the quad. The theme is “A Day in Tel Aviv…”. Should be great eating, dancing and music!

    The Holocaust memorial assembly will be first day back in term two…

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Oh and JEDI stands for
    Ed &

    To quote yoda…

    Catchy title we needed…thought cute it was…

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    I reckon that it is incumbent on anyone who spends time and words on this site to say something about this Glen Eira College and all should be saying ONLY great things about it.
    As I care about both education and Jewish stuff, Jonny’s project offers one of the most laudable combination of the two.
    From what we can read, the College is very much in its formative stages. Support so far has been well above simple enthusiasm. It also looks that a lot more is needed so that a learning istitution of the kind this must become will attain a status equal and better than the established ones.
    It is a given ( or two ) that Jewish communal support must come forward in a manner that there would be no doubt that Glen Eira will succeed. Given the standard official State policies, the financial assistance will be, I supposd, dependant on the success of the profile intended and that means that the COMMUNITY must build that factor.
    I am from Sydney, currently on a long and who knows how long stay in Europe and can odder at this stage my “vocal” enthusiasm. There are, however thousand more people like me – not precisely where I happen to be now – who could assiste in a more practical way, even if from other Ausssie places than Melb.
    Fact is that , if this Glen Eira succeedes then the entire principle of Jewish educational institutions practically available without sacrifice by Jewish families is, once again, a tangible, available reality. Factionalism, regionalism, tribalism, name whatever, must be overcome. Yeshivot should contribute in any ay they can to an educational edifice that may NOT look EXACTLY like their , so important, structure. All and any other Jewish organisation cannot possibly justify its reason of being without contributing to what this learbing institution wants to be.
    One must not hear retorts like ” our funding is earmarked already this year for OTHER projects ” or “this is not within the profile of our organisation ” or any other excuse.
    If this school becomes a solid, reliable place, then the future of Yidishkeit in Australia will be the same.

    I thought I placed a few words, but , of course, a simple Jonny your stuff is fantastic would have sufficed…………

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Otto for the encouragement. Very much appreciated.

  • Shirlee. says:

    I’ll look into this after Pesuch. I know someone who is interested in this issue. He has been telling me about how many Jewish children are now attending State schools and the concern in regards to their Jewish education.

    Otto is a friend of mine and is a ‘good guy’ When he comes home, he told me 6 months,I’ll speak with him about it too.

  • letters in the age says:


    Looking at whats going on in the labour party in the past couple of days…

    those lovely virtues you speak of sadly will corrupt the values of the school system….

    Who would be crazy enough to emulate that???

    Crazy analogy but me thinks it has elements of truth …..


  • letters in the age says:


    Resign and save your faux yiddishe soul …..

    Let funding for schools be taken over by a new gen of people that are sincere like Johnny et al

    They are fantastic leaders!!!


  • letters in the age says:

    Happy passover!!!

  • Shirlee. says:

    Chag Pesach kasher v’sameach !!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    no crazy analogy at all. In fact anything that happens on the political scene in Aus. is relevant to anything you want to approach as a topic. Not so sure that the current rules of this site allow for comments on seemingly “anything” that could be deemed “irrelevant” particularly from my “pen”, but the tribulations of the Labor and the uninspired presence of the opposition, would drive someone with a more “geschtalt” view to consider that no politician in Canberra could give a toss about issues such as the one we are now discusing here. And that goes for our Jewish presence in politics. You may get “encouragement”, congratulatory notes and some other polite comments, but tachles type of consideration, help even institutional/departamental kind will be very hard to extract. That is why only the community can be relied on.

  • letters in the age says:


    You misinterpreted my comment….

    Crazy is good….quirky et al



  • letters in the age says:

    Obama and the passover dinner at The White house…..

    Lovely picture…

    Pure class in respecting Jewish traditions…

    He gets it…..!

  • letters in the age says:

    Danby finally becomes a Minister of Arts et al

    Congrats but if it takes that long and your tenure is limited for 5 months only….???

    Lame duck me thinks….

    (Ducks for cover)

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Danby Minister for Arts !!!
    The highest office of oxymoronic value…..
    How can a Govt. Dept. “control” …. arts.

    As I am still in Spain I can imahine Picasso being told by Mr, Danby what to do and which direction the tail of the torro should face on his canvas or pottery !!!

    Incidentally a matza crisis was resolved by the kind and warm Rabbi and his Rebbetzin at Chabad House in Perpignon, the only place in that part of Sthn. France where I could honour Pesach the right way.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    The Yom Hashoah assembly has been moved forward to today and has been planned around the history and consequences associated with the following film clip:


    The clip is a from a Polish Hebrew School that was unfortunately destroyed. It is a very poignant and powerful choice by which to show kids the cost and tragedy of unbridled Antisematism and intolerance generally. That they are singing hatiknvah also leads into Yom haaztmaut next term.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Timed to be part of the Passover week, I very proud of Glen Eira College and its leaders.

  • Jonny says:


    Michael Danby spoke well at the Assembly, as did Jamie Hyams, Mayor of Glen Eira Council.

  • Shirlee. says:

    @ letters in the age

    I fully agree with you and I am not the only one. She had no choice. Poor Michael, nice enough guy but he thinks the sun shines out of her ‘you- know-where’

  • Shirlee. says:


    I have inquired and the answer is that we are not running anything like you programme in Sydney

    However the JCA has spoken with “THEM”, whoever them is, and is looking closely at “their” model.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Aaaaa, JCA s looking at the model. I reckon they were talking about model airoplanes made of paper, same paper you sent your letter. To make it even more labour intensive, they throw the same model from one office to another and guess what, the one landing on the CEO’s office gets a prize, the Glen Eira Prize and a suitable picture of the whole Executive at the Prize ceremony will be on page 3 of the AJN. The caption” Another Job Well Done !!!”
    I once asked AJN to give $10.00 to a Chanuka celebration in Bondi Junction and the reply was that it will be discussed at the March Executive meeting. You believe it , but the reply was exellently promt, within 1 minutes. Tha’s the JCA I love and respect…. or was it an automatic reply !!!??? Still love’em .

  • Shirlee. says:

    Otto, please …. Genig

    You know who I spoke with about it. A very reliable and key person in the JCA who is a close friend.

  • letters in the age says:

    Keep it nice people…

    Resorting to deragatory remarks diminishes your credibility


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