HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


Deepening Talent

Deepening Talent

Jewish day schools are ecosystems that cultivate growth and vitality for all its stakeholders, from students to board members. In this issue, you will discover ways to recruit, preserve and deepen the talent in your school. Learn about the shifting paradigm of professional development, from individual study to a culture of collaborative exploration. Articles offer inspiration for schools throughout the field to support the abundant talent found in their midst.

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How Would your Day School Board Perform on a Stress Test?

by Alicia S. Oberman Jun 13, 2019 Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund

An exercise stress test reveals how your heart functions during physical activity. The purpose of a stress test is to measure how blood pumps through your heart when it is working its hardest. It can reveal benign irregularities, or it can indicate a severe and fatal condition that requires immediate and emergent treatment.

Sit Next to Me: An Invitation for Second-Stage Mentoring

by Erica Brown Jun 13, 2019 George Washington School of Education and Human Development

There is a brief, tender exchange in the Talmud about second-stage mentoring between two great sages. In a debate about the minutiae of purity and impurity, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi offered a resolution of a dilemma before his colleagues. Engaging in rigorous debate can result in praise. It also summons the risk of rejection or intellectual humiliation. R. Zeira dismissed Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, stating that his contribution to the argument was minimal. But Reish Lakish, the passage says, “honored him [R. Yehoshua ben Levi] and said to him: ‘Sit next to me’”(Hullin 122a).

Better Teaching Through Data

by David A. Farbman Jun 13, 2019 Gateways

For several years, the Maimonides School, a Modern Orthodox PreK–12 school in Brookline, Massachusetts, struggled with a growing population of learners who had learning disabilities. In classrooms every day, some portion of students found it difficult to read (both in Hebrew and English) or, in settings that largely centered around frontal teaching, to process information or behave appropriately. As a result, many students either stayed and struggled or left the school.

Building a Culture of Excellence

by Rebecca Lurie Jun 13, 2019 Solomon Schechter Day School of Boston

When I submitted my candidacy to become Schechter’s head of school, I was what some refer to as a “non-traditional” candidate. I had never worked in an educational setting, and while I am a parent of three kids, I did not have professional experience with elementary-age children. My prior experience was in the field of talent management, most recently at Staples, Inc. As I found my footing in the world of education, I surrounded myself with experts in the field, and I was also eager to find transferable concepts or themes from my for-profit experience.

A Culture of Trust Deepens Talent

by Joshua Wise Jun 13, 2019 Magen David Yeshiva, Brooklyn

If you, like me, are a child of the ’80s, it’s likely that you will remember the many public service announcements that were aired over and over, especially during Sunday morning cartoons. We kids were exhorted not to take medicine that looked like candy, we were warned about “Stranger Danger,” and we all knew to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” But there was another, more ominous PSA that has stuck with me for years. It featured a father confronting his son over drug paraphernalia found in the child’s closet. The father kept pressing the son as to how this could have happened.

Research on Supporting New Teachers

by Deena Rabinovitch Jun 13, 2019 Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University

The most important determinant of a teacher’s success in her profession, not just in her first year but throughout her career, is the strength of a school’s plan of support for new teachers. Here are composite portraits of four typical first-year experiences, based on research I’ve done with graduates of the Legacy Heritage Jewish Educators Program at Stern College over the past 10 years. The program is an undergraduate major at Stern, in which students major in Judaic studies with a concentration in Jewish education.

Build Them, Don’t Buy Them: Cultivating Excellence in Novice Teachers

by Maury Grebenau Jun 13, 2019 Yavneh Academy, Dallas

As school leaders, one of our primary responsibilities is making sure we have well-trained, talented teachers in our classrooms. The challenge of finding quality teachers, especially for school leaders in areas that don’t have large numbers of teachers within driving distance, is significant. Judaic teachers and experienced general studies teachers are scarce and tend to be expensive, with better-funded, selective private schools or Jewish day schools in larger communities more readily able to snatch them up.

Machar: Cultivating New Day School Professionals

by Carl Haber Jun 13, 2019

The Machar Fellowship is a pilot professional development program run by Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in partnership with deToledo High School in Los Angeles and the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan. Originally conceived by Gann’s former head of school, Rabbi Marc Baker, Machar creates an on-ramp to the Jewish leadership pipeline by recruiting recent college graduates and developing their talent through work in Jewish day schools, mentorship and peer support. Their work experiences have ranged from marketing and admissions to classroom teaching and program design.

Technology in a Jewish Studies Classroom

by Bracha Dror Jun 13, 2019 Third & Fourth Grade JS/Hebrew Teacher, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago

Today, education and technology go hand in hand. Just as general studies teachers regularly implement different technological tools, many Jewish Studies teachers are also exploring technologies that bring new ideas, tools, and activities to their classrooms.

ST2EM: STEM Squared with Torah

by Dr. Christine L. Coleman, Rabbi Yonah Krainess Jun 13, 2019 Yeshiva of Flatbush

In the fall of 2017, Yeshivah of Flatbush set out to build upon our STEM program for grades 1–8. We decided to make our program unique by adding another “T” for “Torah” in STEM and created ST2EM (pronounced “STEM Squared”). We wanted our students to make connections from the Torah to STEM learning. Our goal was to develop a STEM lesson framework that we could train our teachers to use in the classroom. ST2EM lessons would contain a hands-on activity and a culminating assessment during a 40-minute class period and would include teaching our students about STEM careers.