Aug 14, 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.
One of the fellows, Chaya Shochet, will spend the year as a third-grade teacher in her alma mater, Stamford, Connecticut’s Bi-Cultural Day School.
“This is a perfect opportunity to give back to the community and inspire the students the way some of my teachers inspired me,” said Shochet, who graduated from Brandeis University in 2007 with majors in psychology and Hebrew language and literature.
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.
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.
Shochet decided to become a full-time teacher after substituting at Bi-Cultural Day School for a while. With her husband Matt’s encouragement, Shochet decided to apply for the fellowship. “It is comforting as a new professional to have these resources available as I encounter new and different experiences as an educator.”
Elisheva Kilner, the school’s Jewish Education Coordinator will serve as Shochet’s mentor. “I will be there to answer any of Chaya’s questions, help her with the material and to offer some guidance,” she explained.
Dr. Gerald Kirshenbaum, headmaster at Bi-Cultural Day School, believes that the school’s connection to Yeshiva University is critical. “It is important that our school have a direct link to a major educational institution so that we can continue to foster the professional development of our staff.”
In addition to the on-site mentoring, the fellows will engage in professional development via conferences and online seminars.
“This grant demonstrates the importance of the work we are doing,” said Joey Small, the Institute’s fellowship coordinator. “By recruiting and supporting these fellows in their initial years of teaching, the grant helps YU nurture the future leaders and practitioners in the field of Jewish education.”
The Legacy Heritage 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.