Jewish Day School Social Media Academy 2012-13

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development.  The Academy runs throughout the 2012-13 academic year, and includes live events, online training via webinar, and private coaching and consulting for each school.

Last year the first Academy included 9 schools in the New York and New Jersey area.  Participating schools' achievements included advancing their use of social media tools, developing social media policies, raising over $18,000 through Facebook Causes (which was then matched to total over $36,000), and introduced new networking strategies into their marketing and communications plans.  Now we're opening the Academy to schools nationwide.

Participating schools will benefit from:

  • Social media training from Darim Online
  • Up to 10 hours of private social media consulting from Big Duck
  • Support from The AVI CHAI Foundation, including matching funds for a social fundraising campaign (that you’ll design with the help of your coach) and reimbursement of expenses.

We’re looking for up to 20 Jewish Day Schools that are eager to take advantage of this opportunity, are willing and able to devote the time and focus to the Academy, and are willing to take risks and try new things.  The Academy is designed to encourage and support pioneers who are innovating and sharing what they learn and achieve.

Developing and strengthening networks is the key to success in social media–and the schools that have the most success get everyone involved. To participate in the Academy, you will need to assemble a team of fellows to participate. While the teams may be made of up to five members, we expect two of them to play a core role. These two lead members of the team will attend live trainings, participate in webinars and conference calls, respond to conversations in an online community, and work closely with a coach. Other members of the team can participate as much as they'd like. These two lead members should be a senior leader (e.g Director of Communications or Marketing, Admissions Director, Development Director, etc.) and a person who will be primarily responsible for leading the social media work for the school  Schools are also welcome to have a lay leader or volunteer join their team.

There will be three live events during the Academy.

  • First, our kickoff event will be a full day in October shortly after Sukkot.  We’ll have one full day event in New York City, and another based in Los Angeles (or at a second convenient location once the cohort is selected).    Schools that are not in the Los Angeles or New York areas will be eligible for travel subsidies.
  • In February, at least one team member is expected (and more are encouraged) to attend the North American Jewish Day School Conference (NAJDS) in Washington DC February 3-6, 2013.  We’ll piggyback our cohort meeting onto the tail end of the conference.
  • The graduation from the Academy will be scheduled for May or June in New York and again at a convenient west coast location.

Throughout the year we’ll offer a series of webinar and conference call trainings to build skills and share experiences with various tools, strategies and case studies, including for example, “social fundraising”, “content curation” and “network weaving”, as well as looking at tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.  Webinars will be recorded so you can replay at your convenience.

Each school will be assigned a coach from Big Duck who will work with your team throughout the year on a project, fundraising challenge, and developing your school’s social and networked culture. You will have up 10 hours to meet with coaches by phone or webinar, and in cases where schools are geographically situated near Brooklyn, New York, in person as well.  Coaches will help teams create a strategy, use tools effectively, develop your project, design your fundraising challenge, and navigate internal processes as you move through the Academy.  Your work with your coach will focus around the following 3 areas:

  • Each team will work on a specific project during the Academy.  You will be asked to propose a goal and project in your application, and your coach will help you fine tune this strategy in the Academy.  Projects are typically focused around deepening your network through one specific online tool, or integrating social media into other forms of active communications.  Schools will be asked to share their project in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars (where schools share what they're working on with the Academy) throughout the year as their work develops.
  • Once schools have developed a level of fluency with key social media tools and have matured their online networks, they will be invited to participate in a social fundraising challenge.  Using a social fundraising platform (such as Facebook Causes, Kickstarter or Razoo, for example), schools will design and launch a campaign.  The AVI CHAI Foundation will match up to $10,000 per school raised through this effort.  Each school will work with their coach and the Foundation to design the parameters of this experiment. Schools will be asked to share their experience in blog posts and/or Sharefest! webinars.
  • Working in networked, transparent ways means doing our work differently. Not only do we use different tools (such as social media) but the ways we work need to shift as well.  Sometimes this is easy and obvious, and other times it is challenging, uncomfortable, and hard.   Through the Academy we’ll talk about these challenges, support you as you face them head on, and provide examples of how others have addressed the same issues.  Each school will be given copies of The Social Media Policy Workbook for Jewish Organizations, written by Darim Online with Idealware, and will be encouraged to work on one or multiple attributes of maturing their social culture.  This may mean, for example, creating a social media policy, or revisiting job descriptions.  You will be not forced to make any policy changes during the Academy — rather we want to help you identify where you can mature your organization and support you in doing so.

Each participating school will have expenses related to their social media work reimbursed by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Schools selected to participate in the Academy will be provided with specific guidelines on such reimbursements.

Please see our FAQ: Jewish Day School Social Media Academy for additional details about the program.

Applications open:            July 11, 2012

Application deadline:       August 3, 2012, 5pm eastern.
Cohort announced:           End of August
Academy begins:              Following Sukkot, Mid-October.  Dates to be confirmed.


The application is available online, We recommend that you review the questions and draft your answers in advance.    You can download a PDF here of the full application or scroll down to the attachment below to preview the application questions.

 Tweet about this program using #JDStech

Any questions?  Please check our FAQ about the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy. You can also email us at [email protected]

Thanks to the AVI CHAI Foundation for funding the 2012-13 Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.

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