School Partnership Master’s Program to Provide Scholarships for Five Towns Educators

Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration is launching a new program this fall as part of its School Partnership Master’s Program. The initiative offers classes over five semesters to educators who wish to pursue a master’s degree in Jewish education while continuing in their teaching careers. The inaugural cohort is comprised of 16 participants, who currently teach at yeshiva day schools in the Five Towns and other areas of New York’s Long Island.

“I felt that this would be a fantastic opportunity to participate in graduate-level studies in Jewish education at the acclaimed Azrieli School of Jewish Education while still being able to continue in my current position as a rebbe,” said participant Rabbi Yossi Bennett ’98YUHSB, a 12th grade Judaic studies teacher at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov in Lawrence, NY. “I feel that a degree from Azrieli will open many new doors for me in the field, both in the education and administration areas, in addition to educating, equipping and preparing me for new challenges to come.”

The program builds upon existing relationships with these schools that were developed through Azrieli’s Institute for University-School Partnership. Participants of the program will receive full scholarships, supported by Azrieli and the Jim Joseph Foundation, as well as the local yeshivas. To foster a sense of unity among the area yeshivas, a different school will host the weekly classes each semester.

“This program fits in with Azrieli’s general mission, which is a deep and abiding commitment to harbatzas [spreading of] Torah, using the most modern techniques and technologies,” explained Dr. David Schnall, dean of Azrieli. “We have a very interesting mix of people and backgrounds, those with strong credentials who have been teaching for many years, and those who are new to the field.”

The program will include coursework in cognition, educational psychology, models of teaching, classroom management and curriculum assessment, accompanied by programs given at Azrieli. These include an orientation on professional development and workshops on using a Smart Board and other technology. Classes will be taught by Azrieli faculty, with fall semester courses led by Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program and Dr. Chaim Feuerman, the Golda Koschitzky Chair in Jewish Education and chair of the Mendheim Student Teaching and Administrative Internship Program.

Each participant will also be observed and supervised in a classroom setting while they teach. In addition, they will take classes on differentiated instruction, which offer strategies and techniques to enable teachers to meet the needs of more students more of the time.

“We want our graduates to be aware of student differences and the various types of learning, and how to respond to and accommodate a mix of students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Glanz, director of the master’s program at Azrieli.

Close to 20 schools were asked to nominate two teachers, and the nominees then applied and were chosen by Azrieli faculty, based on their admissions essays.

Participating teachers come from Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaways (HAFTR), Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB), Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC), Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, Yeshiva of South Shore, Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island and Torah Academy for Girls (TAG).

Next year, Azrieli hopes to expand the program to educators in other communities. Long Island was chosen as a starting point, because “we have a long relationship there and it is an intense educational community with a large concentration of yeshivot that we feel would best benefit,” said Glanz.