Sep 2, 2009 — Throughout North America, schools in smaller Jewish communities often struggle to find qualified teachers that will develop the next generation. A new grant from Legacy Heritage Fund Limited will address this problem by providing support to attract, train and retain more high-quality teachers for placement at Jewish day schools.
The Legacy Heritage Teacher Training Fellowship is funding five qualified recent college graduates this year—and will fund 20 in total over the next three years—to teach at schools across North America while studying towards master’s degrees at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.
“This fellowship will improve the quality of Jewish education by providing training for young talented people interested in making a difference,” said Scott J. Goldberg, PhD, director of YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership, which piloted the program last year.
Legacy Heritage Teacher Fellows will receive a full-tuition scholarship for three summers of coursework culminating in a master of science in education from Azrieli with two years of teaching in the intervening months.
One of the fellows, Jonathan Moses, will spend the year as a teacher in Philadelphia’s Stern Hebrew High School.
“Ever since a young age I have felt a propensity towards chinuch [education],” said Moses, a Philadelphia native who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in linguistics and a minor in cognitive science.
The school’s “fresh manifestation of an age-old philosophy” is what drew Moses to Stern. “It has quickly become an integral part of the community in which I grew up.”
Veteran teachers at the host school will mentor the fellows through classroom observation and weekly meetings. Azrieli faculty will train both the fellows and their mentors during the summer at Yeshiva University, and will provide ongoing support and guidance to the mentors and the fellows throughout the school year.
Rabbi Rafi Eis, limudei kodesh [Jewish studies] teacher and Israel advisor at Stern, will serve as Moses’ mentor. “The first year of teaching can be overwhelming,” explained Rabbi Eis. “I will look to help Jonathan reflect on his practice and support him. We will meet weekly and sit in on each other’s classes – seeing how we can keep improving.”
In addition to the on-site mentoring, the fellows will engage in professional development via conferences and online seminars.
“If our rebbeim and morot are to have a positive impact on their students, they simply must receive training in pedagogy, differentiated instruction, classroom management and be exposed to current thinking and best practices in education,” said Rabbi Mordechai Wecker, head of school at Stern Hebrew High School.
“Yeshiva University is uniquely positioned to support these efforts and play a critical role in enhancing the professionalism and effectiveness of our Judaic studies teachers.”
The Teacher Training Fellowship is open to students from all colleges. Visit the Institute’s Web site at www.yu.edu/azrieli/schoolpartnership for more information or to apply.