Beyond Tactics: Taking on Social Media Strategy and Networked Culture in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy

There are three pillars required for advancing a networked strategy and maturing a school’s use of social media:  Strategy, tactics and culture. 


While you can work on one or the other, the glass ceiling will always remain low if you neglect the others.    Thus, as I reviewed the dozens of excellent applications for the 2012-13 Jewish Day School Academy these past few weeks, I was paying close attention to each schools’ ability to fully engage in this intense and powerful experience, and to take advantage of the opportunity.   Over the next nine months, these 20 schools will build and flex their social media muscles through training, experimentation, sharing and culture change. 


While social media has been heralded as the latest and greatest new marketing and community building tool over the past several years, and many have jumped on the bandwagon, few organizations are really leveraging these tools for building relationships and strengthening networks.  Those organizations that are using social media to mature their social culture and adapt their work for a networked age are seeing much more than a rise in ‘likes’ on their Facebook Page.  They are engaging new audiences, networking with other organizations, empowering new leaders, and listening carefully to their constituencies.  They are revising job descriptions and titles of their staff, letting go of time consuming tasks that, while traditional functions of their staff, failed to really return results that were mission centric.


It is our hope that has these 20 schools matriculate through the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, they will not only advance their own schools, but will become pioneers for the field as a whole.  Joining the 9 schools that graduated from the first Academy last year, they will chart a path of maturation that others schools can use as a map for their own work.  They will develop projects that can serve as models to be adapted for other schools.  They will test new tools — like social fundraising platforms – that others can observe and learn from.  And they will develop social media policies that can serve as a resources and inspiration for others.


The cohort chosen represents a diverse group of Jewish day schools from across the country seeking to mature their operations, and take important risks to move themselves and their communities forward.  Some are just beginning their social media journey.  Others have been developing their work for some time, and are seeking to take their work to the next level.  The group includes schools in major cities and small communities; large, mature schools and young start ups; Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and community schools.  

We intend to share much of the journey with you, so please come along for the ride.  All representatives from Jewish Day Schools are welcome to participate in our ten-part webinar series at no cost thanks to support from The AVI CHAI Foundation.  You can sign up at can expect to see blog posts here and on The AVI CHAI Foundation’s blog, showcasing the schools’ work and their learning process. You can also join our Facebook Group where day school leaders interested in social media and networked strategies and discussing important issues, sharing case studies, and asking questions:

And now, announcing the 2012-13 cohort of the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.  Drum roll, please…

Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Baltimore, MD
Team Leader: Joan Feldman

Brandeis Hillel Day School, San Francisco, CA
Team Leader: Sonia Daccarett

Carmel Academy, Greenwich, CT
Team Leader: Nora Anderson

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, MD
Team Leader: Kimberly Dudash

Charlotte Jewish Day School, Charlotte, NC
Team Leader: Gale Osborne

Denver Academy of Torah, Denver, CO
Team Leader: Kathy Bashari

Gann Academy, Waltham, MA
Team Leader: Laura Ayer

Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Beverly Hills, CA
Team Leader: Lisa Arnold

Jewish Community High School of the Bay, San Francisco, CA
Team Leader: Maura Feingold

LanderGrinspoon Academy, The Solomon Schechter School of the Pioneer Valley, Northampton, MA
Team Leader: Linda Minoff

Milwaukee Jewish Day School, Milwaukee, WI
Team Leader: David Hercenberg

Robert M. Beren Academy,

Houston, TX
Team Leader: Samantha Steinberg

San Diego Jewish Academy, San Diego, CA
Team Leader: Joshua Nunn

Scheck Hillel Community School, Miami, FL
Team Leader: Tara Solomiany

Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Team Leader: Tova Ovits

Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Flushing, NY
Team Leader: Ariela Silberman

Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School,  Knoxville, TN
Team Leader: Miriam Wilhelm

Temple Beth Am Day School, Pinecrest, FL
Team Leader: Cari Altman

Westchester Day School, Mamaroneck, NY
Team Leader: Daniel Shor

Yeshivat Ha’Atid,

Bergenfield, NJ
Team Leader: Tamar Snyder

You can download the official press release for this program below. This post has been cross posted on The AVI CHAI Foundation’s blog.

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