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Enrollment on the Rise at Gray Academy – 490 Students for the 2019-20 School Year

by Rhonda Spivak, Sept 10, 2019

Gray Academy is very pleased to welcome 490 students this year, 20 more than last year.


"Students and families are positive and excited about the 2019-20 school year, which is already off to a great start," says Lori Binder Head of School at Gray Academy and CEO of the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education (WBJE). She adds that the WBJE strategic plan, which was launched in 2015, has been extended for another year. "The plan is proving effective, as enrollment and retention are growing"


Binder explains that retention is at a record 96%. "This means 96% of the students who could return did return.” (Editor's note: Retention = the total enrollment from the previous year, less the number of students who graduated and/or moved out of Winnipeg). This figure represents an increase of 7.6% in student retention since the launch of the strategic plan.


Binder notes that "twenty students and their families (10 families) moved out of Winnipeg back to their home country, to other cities in Canada or made Aliyah."


Included in the figure of 490 students are 86 new students, including new Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students and others who are dispersed throughout all grades in elementary and high school.


"Enrollment for Junior Kindergarten is at capacity, and enrollment for Kindergarten is up from the previous year," Binder indicates. "We also have 20 new students in the high school, bringing enrolment there to more than 200 – enough to fill the Berney Theatre completely at assemblies."


Five of the new high school students are part of Gray Academy’s International Student program. Two are from Brazil; three are here from Israel to take part in local hockey development programs. Some former students are choosing to return to Gray Academy after trying another school for a year or more.


"These number convey the strength of our Gray Academy community and the commitment we’ve made to continuous school improvement,” Binder says. “Our recent constituent surveys confirm parent and staff satisfaction is high. For example, 88% of Gray Parents would recommend the school to other families."


Gray Academy also has several new teachers this year in pre-school, elementary and high school, including two alumni. “We now have a total of 16 alumni on staff, which tells us Gray Academy is meaningful to people long past graduation," Binder adds. “Our first staff survey confirms employees value the diversity of Gray’s school community and feel they are making a difference in the lives of children in the school."


She also notes that a new Director of Marketing and Communications, Andrea Ritter, also an alumna and current Gray parent, is looking to build greater awareness and strengthen the community’s understanding of Gray Academy.


Besides new students and staff, Gray is starting the school year with new equipment and technologies. Thanks to grants from the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Gray Academy has new instruments for Drum Line, new equipment for elementary school recess play and several new technology platforms that will enhance communication with internal constituents and the greater community.


Gray Academy is already receiving positive press. A Winnipeg Free Press article highlighted Israeli hockey students attending the school. Gray Academy was also quoted in a recent article in the Canadian Jewish News on affordability of Jewish education in Manitoba compared to other jurisdictions.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.