by David Borowsky, Board Member at The Silver Academy
For those of you that haven’t heard the news, Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC for short) has been a game changer for Jewish Harrisburg, particularly The Silver Academy.
As some of you may know, The Silver Academy has struggled financially since its inception. For decades, Rabbi Silver would spend his summer with an outstretched hand announcing that the School was in dire straits. Thanks to your help, that is all changing. In the last academic year, the Silver Academy has brought in nearly $400,000 in EITC contributions. This influx has transformed our scholarship program and, in turn, has opened up resources for the school to use to develop and grow. Our school has been awarded the opportunity to bring in an additional $600,000 in EITC funds this year. With your help, we can use this opportunity to transform Jewish education in Central Pennsylvania.
Prior to the implementation of a regimented EITC program, Silver Academy’s student scholarships were funded through the generous support of our gracious donors. Notwithstanding their valiant efforts, those generous donations were not meeting both our scholarship need and our need to bridge the gap between what is covered by tuition and the actual cost of running our school. This forced us to confront year-over-year shortfalls. Thanks to EITC, however, the school is inches away from being able to fund scholarships without relying on donations. In turn, a scholarship program that is fully-funded by EITC would allow us to use those generous donations which in years past would have been used to fund scholarships to instead foster growth and develop new curricula and programming for our students. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the programs that have been made possible by EITC thus far to give you a sense of what is possible if we all work together.
First and foremost, EITC has allowed the school to explore new curricula and programming. This year, we have joined together with other schools in smaller Jewish communities throughout Pennsylvania for a multi-year middle school program focused on social justice. Highlights of this program include interactive group projects and field trips to Washington, D.C. and Israel. We have also added the Better Together program, which takes students to the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg throughout the year to engage in meaningful study and interact with pillars of the Harrisburg Jewish community. We will also be hosting the Gretna Theater Troupe for a special performance and learning experience. In this vein, EITC has also given us much-needed resources to integrate new teaching materials into both secular and Judaic classrooms. We are also expanding extracurricular activities that we offer. This year, we are adding a Mitzvah Club, an Entrepreneur Club, a Coding Club, and a D&D Club, while continuing to offer the Musical Theater Club (featuring Frozen, Kids this year!) and Student Council.
EITC has freed us up to
to invest in our greatest resource—our teachers and staff. We have hired an Assistant Head of School to serve as a full-time administrator, managing the daily operations of the school thereby allowing the Head of School position to remain part-time. We have also scheduled several teachers and faculty for professional development opportunities, allowing for better instruction and a better school experience.
In short, thanks to EITC, The Silver Academy has been able to use funds which otherwise would have gone to support student scholarship, to continue to support the nurturing and well-rounded educational environment that we have come to love. EITC truly has been a game changer.
If you are interested in supporting Jewish Harrisburg at almost no cost to you, it’s time to pick up the phone and jump on the EITC bandwagon. For more information, contact Kimberlea Konowitch, Director of Development at the Silver Academy, 717-238-8775 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.