As the school year winds down and educators look toward the less-hectic pace of summer, here’s a slate of professional development opportunities for you to consider. Click through to learn more and let us know in the comments below what you plan to do to enrich your professional life this summer!
Dates: May 25
In this DigitalJLearning Network professional development workshop, participants will spend time in small groups outlining classroom goals and learning how to find tech tools that best support achieving those goals. Participants will experiment with tools and have the chance to network with other like-minded educators over bagels and coffee. This workshop is ideal for teachers of all subjects K-8.
Dates: May 25
The Five Towns Early Learning Center crafted a vision for their outdoor space 8 years ago with the input of the teachers and children. The design and activities that take shape are based on the theory that imaginative play develops skills such as creativity and flexibility, as well as social skills such as negotiation, collaboration and empathy. Participants will meet with the school’s director and teachers and spend some time observing children at play.
Date: May 26, 2017
Hone your chops as a Jewish thought leader in the digital age! Join ELI Talks for a live, deep dive workshop on knowing (and speaking to - not at) your audience, capturing your big idea, brushing up your presentation, and grounding it all in Jewish text and tradition. Participants will walk away from this hands-on experience with tools, tips, and resources from the grand tradition of Jewish discourse and best practices from the digital age alike. Be ready to make your case for your project or idea in the most compelling, compassionate, and skillful way.
Dates: June 4-6 and June 22-24
The Jewish Education Project is collaborating with local Music Together centers in NYC and Long Island to bring the internationally recognized early childhood music education program Music Together® to the Jewish community for families with young children (birth-age 7). Jewish family engagement specialists, educators, song leaders, and musicians are invited to apply for this three-day in-person Teacher Training Workshop.
Dates: June 22
The Building Racial Equity series, developed by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, are interactive trainings for those who wish to sharpen their skills and strategies to address systemic racism and advance racial equity. Unlike “diversity trainings” which primarily focus on interpersonal relations and understanding, these trainings emphasize how to challenge and change institutional racial inequities. The next training will take place in Los Angeles, CA on June 22.
Dates: July 23 - July 30
The integration of the principles of non-violent communication in the hard work of confronting racism and classism allows for people to be honest, uncover biases and roadblocks, and keeps folks accountable to one another and their own principles, all in a spirit of love and forgiveness. The program is built around: 1) Gaining tools for ongoing personal healing (internal); 2) Building skills for empowered communication to strengthen human relationships (interpersonal); 3) Developing daily practices to transform the way you relate and interact with others in support of social justice––in organizations, agencies, companies and institutions (institutional).
Dates: June 30 – July 2
Excellent teaching is the foundation of student learning. Attend the 2017 Conference on Teaching Excellence for proven solutions, game-changing ideas, and the tools you need to transform student learning. This conference, in Denver, Colorado will offer hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves professional learning for innovative, creative, and dedicated educators.
Dates: July 9 –12
The National Museum of American Jewish History invites Jewish educators from communities across the United States to join together for an innovative professional development program designed to empower teachers to re-envision Jewish history education in America by promoting historical thinking, empathy, and self-identification. The Institute provides a unique opportunity to engage with the Museum’s collections, learn from the experts in the fields of American Jewish history and education, and collaborate with Museum staff and fellow teachers sharing knowledge and best practices.
Dates: July 13, July 20, October 26
Throughout the history of social movements, many organizations have had different approaches to creating change. Sometimes different strategies, structures, and cultures have had tensions or been in conflict with each other. However, many successful social movements have realized these tensions and figured out ways for different organizations and agents to work together to create change. This webinar series offered by the Ayni Institute is designed to provide both a basic and advanced understanding of social movement ecology, and is part of developing further materials for new trainings.
Date: May 22-July 2, & July 10-Aug 20
Check out these 6-week online courses offered through The American Museum of Natural History. Each provides access to cutting-edge research, world-class scientists, and powerful classroom resources. All courses are available for graduate credit at an additional cost.
Date: July 16-20, July 23-27, Aug 7-11
Studying the Holocaust allows students to wrestle with profound moral questions raised by this history and fosters their skills in ethical reasoning, critical thinking, empathy, and civic engagement—all of which are critical for sustaining democracy.
In this five-day, seminar—featuring the fully revised, printed edition of Holocaust and Human Behavior—teachers will: Learn current scholarship on the history of the Holocaust and new research focused on human behavior, group dynamics, and bias, Increase their ability to facilitate respectful classroom discussions on difficult issues such as racism, antisemitism, and other forms of exclusion in a way that invites personal reflection and critical analysis and explore interdisciplinary collaboration and how Jewish sources can enhance the conversation around historic and contemporary case studies.
Learn more here!
July 30 – August 10
Join Pardes for a two week dynamic, interactive study of Jewish texts in a vibrant community of students from around the world. Grapple with the great Jewish books and ideas, experience how classic Judaism tackles contemporary challenges and be inspired by our renowned faculty. Every Tuesday, participants will tour key sites in Jerusalem, and hear guest speakers. In addition to study, participants will socialize and spend Shabbat meals together. Classes accommodate all levels of Hebrew and text study experience.
July 12 – August 20
Storytelling for Influence will help you create impact inside your organization. Whether you need someone to back your organization, invest in your idea, or get excited about following your lead, storytelling can position you to succeed.
June 26–August 4
The Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture, established in 1968, is the oldest intensive Yiddish summer program in the world. This 6-week program offers classes from beginner to advanced levels and a wide variety of cultural and enrichment activities. Under the auspices of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Bard College, the program offers peerless instruction in the Yiddish language and an in-depth exploration of the literature and culture of East European Jewry and its diaspora communities. The Weinreich Program treats Yiddish as a living language and emphasizes spoken Yiddish. We believe this approach will be helpful to all students, whether they plan to make Yiddish an integral part of their daily life or use it mainly for research.
Dates: August 6-8
Join ASCD and Scholastic in Chicago for an event where educational thought leaders address district-wide literacy improvement. During this three-day institute, participants will review essential strategies for high-quality literacy instruction and collaboratively discuss the keys for planning, implementation and sustainability.
Dates: August 6–9
NewCAJE is the annual premier national conference for Jewish educators. Each year, participants have the opportunity to network with hundreds of Jewish educators, choose from hundreds of workshops, enjoy today’s biggest names in Jewish music, and advance their careers!
This year’s conference will be held at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, approximately 30 minutes outside of Berkeley.
Date: Aug 13-15
Join fellow early childhood educators as you explore and celebrate the beauty of God’s creation, learn about the forest school movement in early childhood education, mess about with natural, recycled, and artistic materials, open your heart to new professional relationships and pedagogical approaches, and prepare yourself for a new year.
Learn more here!
Dates: August 25-27
Momentum is a training institute and movement incubator, giving progressive organizers the tools and frameworks to build massive, decentralized social movements.
Momentum is hosting the first ever Digital Summer Camp to bring together talented digital organizers leading some of the most important movements of our generation to share and teach one another digital skills and tactics. Fully half of the time will be reserved for unstructured conversation (and summer camp games) in a retreat space that will allow digital organizers to unplug and detox from the internet as we learn. Applications are reserved for members of our Digital Community of Practice, but sign up for updates about webinars from the presenters.
Over the past 21 years, JWA has collected and shared the stories of thousands of women online and through public programs. But there are always more stories to tell; every day we learn about inspiring women whose stories have not yet been chronicled, many of whom belong to underrepresented groups within the Jewish community. Building on decades of expertise in oral history, and a commitment to amplifying Jewish women’s voices, both known and not yet discovered, JWA is creating Story Aperture, a robust and scalable story collection model that can be used to capture and share Jewish women’s stories from around the world.
Facing History’s approach to pedagogy, classroom resources, professional development, coaching, and support equips teachers with the tools and strategies they need to help students engage with issues like racism, prejudice, and antisemitism and become more thoughtful, responsible citizens. Through webinars, workshops, courses, and seminars, Facing History offers the opportunity for educators to gain a new perspective, add more tools to their teaching toolbox, learn compelling content, and benefit from the experience and fellowship of other teachers.
“Education holds the key to changing the world and making it better. For education to achieve all that it can, we must have teachers who believe in the moral, ethical, Jewish ideas we teach and who are committed to inspiring their students”
—Rabbi David Eliach, A Covenant of Dreams: Realizing the Promise of Jewish Education, 2009
“There are children, grownups, everywhere
That would love to hear your voices
Singing for our health to be bright
So that we can join together...and paint our world with healing and hope”
-From the original song, Painting Our World with Healing Hope, by Karina and Debora Zilberman
“Families that share stories about parents and grandparents, about triumphs and failures, provide powerful models for children. Children understand who they are in the world not only through their individual experience, but through the filters of family stories that provide a sense of identity through historical time...Through sharing the past, families recreate themselves in the present, and project themselves into the future.”
—“Do You Know…” The power of family history in adolescent identity and well-being
Read more about Dr. Marshall Duke and his work, here.
“There are people out there who are educating their hearts as we speak. They’re getting on with the work, they’re loving their kids, they’re loving their students, they’re loving their communities. We must retrain our vision toward those people—we must develop eyes to see and ears to hear where that love is already happening—that is worth our energy and our care and our time, to tend that love, to show that love ourselves.”
—Krista Tippett, Founder and CEO, The On Being Project
"Civil discourse requires us to listen generously and to act as though—and to really believe—we could be open to persuasion. We each may think: 'I did not cause this situation, I am not to blame.' Yet we each have the capacity to help society turn the corner, if we honestly ask what went wrong and what we can do about it."
- Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University and Joseph William Singer, Bussey Professor of Law, Harvard University
The Wow Metric of Success: Jewish Life in Bloom on the Farm: Spring has arrived, and the Jewish community is busy planting with purpose. In Vaughan, Ontario, the yellow coltsfoot and purple-blue scilla are just starting to flower at the Kavanah Garden, a half acre community garden that’s part of Shoresh, the Canadian-based Jewish environmental organization that includes the Kavanah Garden and Bela Farm. Last Sunday, on “Yom Manual Labor” volunteers gathered to turn the soil, plant seeds, paint outdoor tables and participate in construction projects with the Shoresh team, preparing the garden for growing season.
“Our Jewish community is only as strong as its ability to include all members in the fabric of Jewish life. Doing so helps each of us recognize the unique strengths we all bring to the Jewish community, and that community cannot possibly be complete until we actively and intentionally welcome each other.”
-Meredith Englander Polsky, 2017 Covenant Award Recipient, Director of Institutes and Training, Matan, and Developmental Support Coordinator, Temple Beth Ami Nursery School
“From all of my teachers, I have grown wise.” Psalms 119:99. Framing Jewish Education, a project of The Jewish Lens and supported by The Covenant Foundation, was created to engage teachers, students, and families in conversation about the value of Jewish education and to illustrate the power of great teaching and learning via a curriculum based on visual literacy and text.
“For me, study is a divine and daily imperative; I study a page of Talmud daily so that I am not only teaching. My teaching is constantly being fed by my learning.” —Erica Brown Associate Professor, George Washington School of Education and Human Development. Director, Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership, 2009 Covenant Award Recipient
The Covenant Classroom means something different to every educator but common goals are to motivate, engage and be inclusive of all learners. In this volume, we’ve collected an array of Teachings on Inspiration and Motivation in all areas of Education.
#ThankATeacher It has been twenty-five years since The Covenant Foundation first opened its doors, and we continue to be humbled by extraordinary Jewish educators from across North America and across the spectrum of Jewish life who have devoted their careers and considerable talents to the field of Jewish education. Now, in celebration of a quarter-century-old tradition of honoring Jewish education and educators, and to kick off a year of public engagement around great teaching, we’re proud to share The Covenant Foundation voices app with you: a new digital way to give and share your gratitude.
“There are just two outcomes that really matter: First, that students feel Judaism is the fertile ground in which they get nurtured to grow, and second, that they find Judaism joyful.” Rabbi Joy Levitt, Executive Director, JCC Manhattan
“What would it look like if we bet on Jewish early childhood education for the long-term, as our tradition instructs? The task might seem large, but the reward, we know, is great (Pirkei Avot 2:15).”
“Countless leaders have been inspired by the story of the Jewish people leaving bondage in Egypt – those whose names we know, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and those whose names we never will know, whose every-day acts of kindness and resistance fuel social change. This story, our story, has become a cornerstone of modern social justice work.”
—Abby Levine, Director of The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
This is how I see a “Covenant Classroom”: a place where challenging topics are passionately discussed; a place where complex ancient texts are grappled with; a place in which self- esteem grows, and motivation to learn increases exponentially because of it. An environment in which each Jewish soul is given the confidence to continue the eternal search for meaning.”
—Dr. Sandra Ostrowicz Lilienthal, Curriculum Developer and Instructor at The Rose and Jack Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education of Broward County and 2015 Covenant Award Recipient
“When powerful, new approaches to learning are introduced through digital tools, meaningful disruptions occur along the way… When this happens, new approaches which previously seemed inaccessible, are suddenly within reach.”
—Barry Joseph, Associate Director for Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives, American Museum of Natural History
“The future of Jewish teen engagement can in fact be found in 3D printers, and in text-people, and in service, and outdoor education, and in anything that brings teens into contact with authentic learning experiences and passionate, caring, knowledgeable educators.”
—Charlie Schwartz, Senior Jewish Educator, Director, BIMA & Genesis, Brandeis High School Programs
Portal seems like a particularly apt metaphor for entry points into Jewish life and learning because ultimately we want those experiences to be deeply experiential and transformative. We also want them to be accessible. A portal has no toll; passage is free. At the same time, a portal is particularistic, not a generic entrance. It conveys a sense of magic, ritual, and power. Similarly, we want to convey that Jewish life is rich, layered, and meaningful beyond what is immediately apparent. We want the encounter with Jewish life to take you on a journey that is profound and surprising. And, given that each of us may enter through the same portal but have a completely different experience of what is on the other "side," the possibilities are endless.
— Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director, The Jewish Women’s Archive
"We need a new kind of creativity in the classroom that’s going to reach Jewish kids… If a teacher is imaginative, he or she is going to connect to students’ hearts and souls.”
—Dr. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary, Board Member, The Covenant Foundation.
"There are four types of students... The sponge absorbs everything. The funnel brings in on one side lets it out the other. The strainer lets out the wine and retains the lees. The sieve lets out the flour dust and retains the fine flour." —Pirkei Avot 5:15
"There’s a misconception that a venture must depend on large grants from big donors. It makes more sense and it’s more sustainable to test out an idea, and see whether it has the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives."
— Ariel Beery, founder, PresenTense
I think [creating new Jewish texts] is a really good description of what we’re trying to do. These days we’re increasingly creating products that are intended to be shared on the web. We’ve felt and continue to feel that this medium, and virtual communication as a whole, is being under-tapped for its possibilities for making art.
— Reflections from Sam Ball on the New Jewish Filmmaker Project