Research and Evaluation on Educator Professional Development Initiatives

May 31st, 2022

Educator professional development initiatives are an integral part of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s strategic philanthropy. Following an open RFP in 2017 to create more professional development opportunities for educators, the Foundation invested in ten new programs. Since that initial investment, the Foundation has commissioned extensive research and evaluation conducted by Rosov Consulting to learn about these specific educator training programs and to more deeply understand other programs across the Foundation’s professional development initiatives portfolio.

Stacie Cherner, Director of Learning and Evaluation at the Jim Joseph Foundation, and Alex Pomson, Principal and Managing Director at Rosov Consulting, shared key learnings in eJewish Philanthropy on designing and measuring high-quality educator training programs. On the Foundation’s blog, Kiva Rabinsky, Chief Program Officer at M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, shared how learnings from the report influence how M² balances work and play in their design of professional development experiences. And, Robbie Gringras and Abi Dauber Sterne, both formerly of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Makom, shared how a new Israel education initiative came out of the PDI. 

Jim Joseph Foundation Professional Development Initiative

Taking Stock and Offering Thanks: Year 4 Learnings (full report) This report shows that the PDI programs fulfilled their core goals:

  • Shared Outcomes Survey data indicate that, overall, the programs helped participants become much more knowledge about and more accomplished in performing the professional tasks for which they are responsible, what we called “ways of thinking and doing.”
  • Clinical interview data indicate that these professional outcomes have been quite durable, although with the passage of time interviewees found it increasingly difficult to draw causal links between what they know and can do today and what they gained from their programs.
  • Survey data also show that, taken together, the programs have socialized participants into professional communities that the participants very much value. Again, interview data depict how important these communities have been, especially since the start of the pandemic, and how, in the words of one interviewee, “relationships have become partnerships.”
  • Finally, survey data reveal the degree to which those program participants who started out with less intensive Jewish backgrounds have had an opportunity to grow and feel more confident as Jewish educators.

A Picture of Learning Coming Together: Year 3 Learnings (full report) This report includes the following sections:

Case Studies on Peak Moments of Educator Professional Development Programs  

How Educator Professional Development Programs Pivoted During the Pandemic

Research Supported by CASJE on the Career Arc of Jewish Educators