Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faculty Growth

As the continuous growth and development of our faculty has been, and continues to be, one of our top priorities here at the Academy, I wanted to make mention of those faculty members who took of their precious summer vacation to pursue professional development opportunities and further the process of making themselves better teachers and our school a better school.

Back in July, Mrs. Gersten and Mrs. Perl went with Mrs. Tsuna and Mrs. Walker to a three day SDE conference in Chicago on Differentiated Instruction. Mrs. Tsuna led our Middle and High
School faculty in a session during In-Service in which she shared
some of the valuable tips and techniques she learned at the conference. At our wrap-up session at the close of In-Service, Mrs. Tsuna's presentation received high praise from all who attended.

Our two new Upper School Judaic Studies faculty recently completed rigorous programs in continuing education. Rabbi Kugielsky spent his second summer at the Jewish Education Leadership Institute Program at Loyola University, from which he will be receiving his Masters Degree in Education. Rabbi Stein completed the Educational Leadership Advancement Initiative through the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education at Bar Ilan University.

Speaking of Rabbi Stein, he and Mrs. Perl are currently in New York participating in the first "Academy" of this year's Jewish New Teacher Project. JNTP is a subsidiary of the New Teacher Center in
Santa Cruz, CA. Their mission is to train veteran teachers to become effective mentors for new teachers, thereby preventing "new teacher burnout" and improving student performance. Both Rabbi Stein and Mrs. Perl have been paired with Academy teachers who are still in the beginnings of their teaching career and will be working with them throughout the year, with the guidance of the Jewish New Teacher Project, to help them reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and grow in their effectiveness in the classroom.

Mrs. Kugielsky, our new 4th grade Judaic Studies teacher, attended a three-day workshop on using the Tal Am curriculum, while Morah Yehudit was in Israel teaching similar sessions for Judaic Studies teachers from across the globe.

I had the privilege of attending Yeshiva University's National Leadership Conference in Orlando together with several of our community's lay leaders. It was both thought-provoking and inspiring as it brought together lay and professional leaders of Orthodox communities from across the country to discuss the most significant challenges and the greatest opportunities that lie before us in the months and years ahead.

At the event Josh Kahane, incoming first Vice President of our Board of Trustees, received an award from Yeshiva University President Richard Joel for his work as part of a task force that is looking at ways to grow small and mid-size Jewish communities across the country.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that ALL of our faculty read pertinent educational literature over the summer which they shared with their colleagues at In-Service. After all, every teacher at the Academy understands and appreciates that the more we grow, the more our students will grow. The more we learn, the more our students will learn. We're all, therefore, hard at work doing our own learning and growing so as to see even more of the same from every Academy student.

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