Earlier this month, a select group of novice Jewish day school teachers took part in a unique week-long Summer Curriculum Workshop, which was developed and run by the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. The SCW was held at the scenic Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD.
The participants – most within their first two years of teaching Judaic studies in a day school – spent several hours each day preparing new curricular units, based on an “Understanding by Design” model, under the guidance of expert educators from North America and Israel. Each day also included pedagogic workshops on teaching Jewish text through the lens of 21st-century learning, as well as sessions which allowed participants to share and reflect on successes and challenges from the previous year. The program was enhanced by text study sessions and informal programming.
Aviva Golbert, Director of the Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop, commented, “For novice teachers, the reality of school life can be daunting. The Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop provides crucial support to ensure that these passionate and skilled Judaic studies teachers remain in the field. The program boosts the professional growth of new teachers, reinvigorates them for the upcoming school year, and provides them with an expanded, diverse, yet like-minded cohort of fellow educators.”
The program, now its eleventh year, is largely subsidized by a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.