Tefilah carries the potential of being the most impactful part of the Jewish Day School experience. Unfortunately, many schools report that tefilah is the most challenging and frustrating part of their program. There is little if any professional training or networking available for tefilah leaders. PCJE is about to change that.
PCJE believes that it is critical for those who oversee tefilah to reflect on themselves as “pray-ers” and to grapple with what it means to be a tefilah educator. They also need colleagues, a common language, resources, programmatic ideas and the confidence to improve the field if change is to happen.
To increase the likelihood of school-wide change and ultimately reach a greater number of teachers, PCJE will hold a Tefilah Education Conference for Day School Administrators at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown, MD from June 24-28, 2019. PCJE will host a maximum of 15 school administrators and/or key tefilah leaders best able and empowered to lead the tefilah education change process in their schools.
The conference will include both reflective pieces (e.g., “Myself as a Pray-er”, “What it Means to be a Prayer Leader”, etc.) as well as the practical steps necessary for instituting change within schools. Participants will work through the tefilah education guide developed by PCJE educators Dr. Susan Wall and Rabbi Zvi Hirschfield and engage in hands-on workshops to apply their newly acquired knowledge. Administrators will also learn how to lead the teachers in their schools through this process of reflection and change.
PCJE will recruit administrators from a range of schools and communities, including those from schools in more isolated locations. Following the conference, PCJE will provide support to the administrators as they lead their schools through the tefilah change process. Participants will also join a network of tefilah changemakers from previous PCJE tefilah conferences.
1. Getting Started: Putting Tefilah on the School Agenda
– Identifying and Convening a Leadership Group
– Assessing the Current Reality: How to Gather Information
– Creating a Vision for Tefilah
2. Overarching Tefilah Goals
– The Need for Goals for Tefilah Education
– How to Choose and Prioritize Overarching Goals
– Narrowing in on Key Prayers
– Ages and Stages
– Setting Clear and Age Appropriate Benchmarks
– Ordering Your Benchmarks by Grade Level
– Assessment Rationale
– How to Assess
– Providing Feedback Based on the Assessment
4. Teacher Training
– Why Teacher Training
– How to Involve the Teachers from the Start
– When to Begin
– Which Teachers to Include
– Who Should Facilitate
– Professional Development Sessions such as, “Myself as Mitpalel,” “Myself as Tefilah Educator,” “From Kavanah to Keva”
– From Theory to Practice
5. What Works in Tefilah
– What Works for Students
– What Works for Teachers
– What Works for Curriculum
– What Works for Milieu/Setting
The conferences costs $500/participant (includes program, room, and board); limited travel subsidies available. Pardes will coordinate complimentary shuttle service from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport to the retreat location.
The retreat will take place at the beautiful Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown, MD. It is a picturesque location that is conveniently located 45 minutes away from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.