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January 2010

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The Jim Joseph Foundation
Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project Newsletter
January/February 2010  Shvat 5770

Dear Hevre,
I (Susan) just returned to Israel from the day school conference co-sponsored by Ravsak, SSDS, PaRDeS,and Yeshiva University. It was a "nachus moment" to see eight of our alumni attending and/or leading sessions. This conference was the first time the four networks joined together, with the understanding that many of the same issues challenge all of our schools. There were multiple sessions offered, a number of which discussed aligning technology to the goals of our schools and classrooms. We hope to add a new page to our website in the next few weeks that will provide useful links to help you in harnessing technology for your own teaching.

The staff is excited to see the extent to which many of you are using the forum. You have proven to be a real support for your colleagues. We encourage more of you to raise questions and ask for help as you need it.
2010.01.26 almond tree
The winter rains have finally arrived (thanks for your prayers. Keep them coming). The almond trees are fully in bloom. We wish you all a tu bishvat sameach.
Kol Tuv,
Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project staff:
Dr. Susan Wall, Abby Rosen Finkel, MA, Debra Weiner-Solomont, MSW

The Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project is funded by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Dvar Torah - Stephen Belsky  (Cohort 4)
Stephen Belsky is completing his final year in the Rabbinical Ordination program at Chovevei Torah, in New York. He hopes to return to classroom teaching in September, 2010.
Stephen BelskyA few years ago, one of my students pointed out that the aima chashekha gedola - the fear and great darkness that fell upon Avraham right before God revealed that his children would be "enslaved in a land not their own" - may be a foreshadowing (pun intended) of the Plague of Darkness.  Generations later, as the predicted oppression and promised redemption were approaching their climax, God instructed Moshe to stretch out his hand towards the heavens, so that very darkness would descend on Egypt...Vayimash choshekh.. 
But what was this Darkness?

Save the Date for the PEP Alumni Fall Retreat   2010/5771 

Pearlstone Retreat Center
Plans are well underway for the PEP Alumni Fall Retreat, Thursday October 28 through Sunday October 31, 2010 (20-23 Cheshvan, 5771).  This year's retreat will be held at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center, Reisterstown, MD. The Conference Center is under new management and we have heard only positive reports about the lodging and food service.
We are delighted to announce that this year's retreat/conference will be shared with graduates of DeLeT - The Day school Leadership through Teaching graduate fellowship. While our graduates sometimes teach different subjects or different grade levels, both programs are committed to the value of professional and visionary day school teaching. This joint venture will enable us to draw on the staff resources of each program, as well as the expertise of our most veteran graduates. We have a great deal to both share with and learn from one another. At the same time, we will make sure that we meet separately as PEP alumni, and as cohorts. There will be ample time to schedule individual meetings with PEP staff and veteran alumni. We will be forming our planning committees shortly, and welcome your input.
Online Learning Continues with Sefer Shmot
Levi CooperLevi Cooper 's online learning on Parshat Hashavuah using the commentary of The NETZIV will continue through the end of Sefer Shmot. You can find the weekly guide and sourcesheets on the website. You can receive them directly to your inbox; just send Debra an email requesting this. Click here to be a part of the discussion forum.
The online learning has been an experiment as part of our Alumni Project. We know that the content has been at a very high level. We would love your feedback as to how useful it was for you.
Tefilah Action Research

tefillahAt the retreat, Yonatan Yussman (Cohort 1) led a session on tefilah in day schools. The goal of the workshop was to lay the groundwork for an action research project on tefilah to include some of the schools in which our graduates work. We hope to introduce small experiments in at least ten different schools to document what impact these changes might have on the prayer experience for our students in middle and high school.
The data gathering phase of the project will begin shortly. If you would like to be part of the research, please contact Susan or Yonatan.
Summer Curriculum Workshop 2010
This year's Summer Curriculm Workshop is scheduled for July 7 - 22, 2010 / 25       Tammuz - 11 Av, 5770. We look forward to having graduates of Cohorts 7 and 8 join us, along with other novice elementary, middle and high school teachers. We have an excellent staff already in place and only a few more places available in the program.
Please forward the flyer to your colleagues and urge them to apply as soon as possible. 

Focus on Sean Herstein (Cohort 1)
Newsletter SeanSean is currently teaching Judaic Studies at the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School.
In high school I was inspired by my band director to go into education.  Four years later, my plan to become a music educator had turned into something else. Still interested in teaching, I switched majors to Jewish Studies and decided that I needed to do some learning in Israel if I was going to have enough background knowledge. I was fortunate to meet some Pardes alumni at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and, after some meaningful conversations, I determined that a year of learning would help me to fill in my knowledge gaps. One year of learning at Pardes quickly turned into three with the announcement of the Pardes Educators Program.


Education Corner: Ali Feldman Gutfreund         (Cohort 1)
Ali Feldman Gutfreund is a marriage and family therapist in Miami, Fla. She co-authored the book: "The JGirl Guide: The Young Jewish Woman's Handbook for Coming of Age". Ali previously taught at the Heschel School in Toronto, SSDS of Manhanttan and RASG Hebrew Academy in Miami.
Bullying: What to be aware of in our classrooms
Bullying has become a buzzword in many schools over the past ten years and although 2010.01 bullyingthere are tremendous resources for tackling the problem, it still seems to be a pervasive concern in schools throughout the nation. (Don't think day schools are immune.) This year, the annual Association for School Counselors is devoting their entire week-long conference to providing more resources for teachers, principals and parents on how to effectively deal with bullying. Studies show that between 15-25% of U.S. students are bullied with some frequency (Melton et al, 1988; Nansel et al, 2001). There are even some states that have adopted laws against bullying!
Bullying can have many devastating effects, ranging from plummeting self-esteem to even suicide. Many of you will remember the Missouri teenager who killed herself after being bullied through cyberspace back in December 2007. Particularly at a developmentally key age where children's and adolescents' sense of self is evolving, it is vital that they feel safe, nurtured and supported in their school environments. Further, bullying can also cause other problems later in life. Children who bully are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school. And 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24 (Olweus, 1993).
From an educator's perspective there are some key characteristics to look out for in your classroom.
PEP News
The newest PEP cohort has several students who left teaching in order to return to school and study in the Educators Program. We are proud to highlight Tamara Frankel, Cohort 10, who received her BA/B.Ed in the Jewish Teacher Training Program at York University in Toronto, then taught Jewish history at CHAT. Gail Kirschner asked Tamara a few questions.
Gail:  why didn't you go directly to graduate school after completing your undergraduate studies?
Tamara:  I was told that getting some teaching experience first would make me appreciate school more and make the degree more meaningful. I didn't believe it, but it was true! I have found that my learning is more applicable paired with my experience; things aren't abstract to me - I can really visualize them in the classroom.
Gail:  What do you think would have been different had you gone directly into a Masters program?
Tamara:   I think that I might have burnt out faster without that break between my first and second degrees. Now I really appreciate being in school - not to mention the stipend!
Gail: What do you see as the best part of going back to school and being part of PEP?
Tamara:  I believe that being reflective is the key to good teaching. I know that as a teacher, you get caught up in the routine and demands and often can't think about the big picture. You just can't be as reflective to the degree you would want. Now, as a Pardes Educator, I am learning how to be reflective every step of the way, and I'll be a better teacher because of this ability. 
PEP Alumni... Is there a teacher in your school who might consider PEP at this stage of his/her career? Please tell your colleague about PEP, the enriching Pardes Beit Midrash, living in Israel, getting an MA  and re-connecting with the reflective element of being a teacher.  Someone you know could be another Tamara!

From the Field
Sarah Hendel (cohort 7, Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy, Greenwich, CT) had her 5th graders, who were studying Shmot, create pictures of Moshe and the burning bush. Burning bushEvery picture was accompanied by an artist's statement explaining the student's choice of shapes, colors, details, and the title of the picture. Sarah then showed them actual artists' depictions of the bush and they discussed how to analyze art, and how each piece of art was an individual interpretation of the text by the artist. The students then did a gallery walk of one another's creations, with guided questions that led them to investigate one another's art, learning about how their classmates interpreted the text of Shmot.

Gayle Adler (cohort 4, Herzl/Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy, Denver, CO) had her 4th graders each make a fancy yad out of cardboard at the beginning of the year which she yadlaminated for them. The students keep the yad in their Torah folder, and whenever they read Torah text (individually or as a group) they use the yad. Of course, singing with trope makes it feel even more like an authentic Torah reading experience. 

If you have a short description of something you did in class that could be helpful to your colleagues, please write it up and send it to Debra. We'll hopefully include one or two in each future newsletter and begin to post them on the website under curricular materials.
The Website: A Work in Progress

We continue to rework the Pardes Educators Alumni Support
Website with a greater websiteemphasis on sharing materials in a way that you can easily          access and search
At this time of the year we want to call your attention to the    Job Opportunities page  with its many new job listings. There are separate pages for teaching, administration and summer educational job opportunities. In addition, the positions indicate the denominations of the institutions. We hope this will be more helpful and user friendly.     
Don't forget that you can access the  forum and blog through your gmail account.  Please contact Debra if you have any questions.
Educational Resources and Opportunities
A reminder that we have joined the Spertus College E-Library for our alumni. The Feinberg E-Collection contains the full-text of nearly 16,000 books and 25,000 articles in the area of Jewish studies. Please contact Debra for more information. A reminder that we are also a member of the Lookstein Center e-Community. You need the username and password for both of these resources.
Other resources:
The TALI Education Fund just launched a website-Visual Midrash-a collection of Fine and Folk Art on Biblical themes.  The site was created by Dr. Jo Milgrom and Dr. Joel Durman. 
 My Hebrew Programs is a new site which includes versions of two useful programs: Hebrew Sign Maker and Selected Tehillim. 
Jewish Ideas Daily is a new site featured in Lookjed, where you will discover a selection of Jewish opinion, thought and analysis, pulled from sources around the globe. 
Alumni Updates
Mazal Tovs:

Yael Krieger (Cohort 8) on her recent marriage to Joshua Laden.

Professional News:                                                                                                         
PEP Alumni were in attendance at the RAVSAK Conference along with Susan Wall and Abby Rosen Finkel.                                                                            
Marc Baker (Cohort 1)  presented a session at the conference entitled: Pluralism in Action. Amanda Pogany (Cohort 2) and Deborah Anstandig (Cohort 8) spoke as part of a panel on mentoring new teachers. 
Jen Truboff (Cohort 6),  Adam Tilove (Cohort 6),  Andy Shapiro Katz (Cohort 1) and Jessica Lissy Trey (Cohort 3)  were in attendance as well.
Zvi Grumet's article entitled "Moses and Mentoring" now appears online in the RAVSAK Journal Hayidion
Thanks to everyone for sending us updated contact information.  Please keep us posted about changes of address (home, email) moving jobs, etc. 
We are sorry if we missed something. Please help us by sending in your news!


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