November 14th, 2009
Jim Joseph Foundation Directors and the Foundation’s senior professionals just returned from Israel, where we held our Fall Board meeting and conducted various site visits. As part of the excursion, we spent time at the Hartman and Pardes Institutes — two beneficiaries of JJF grant making for educator professional development.
The Foundation has positioned itself as a major supporter of the continuum of Jewish day/high school teacher preparation, certification, and induction programs. We currently fund various forms of teacher education provided not only by Hartman and Pardes, but also by Brandeis and Hebrew Union College (for DeLeT), students for the Jewish New Teacher Project – operated by the New Teacher Center, as well as graduate education in the Azrieli (Yeshiva University), Davidson (Jewish Theological Seminaries of America), and Rhea Hirsch (Hebrew Union College) schools of education.
From its inception, JJF has sought to provide targeted resources to enrich the quality of Jewish teacher education, as well as to increase the number of talented individuals who are attracted to, and then employed and retained in the field of Jewish education. JJF theorizes funding that bolsters the supply of highly trained educators will translate to a greater number of day and high school students benefiting from quality instruction. We believe this instruction, in turn, will be a catalyst in inspiring Jewish teens to pursue life-long Jewish learning.
This past summer, JJF convened representatives from many of it’s grantee teacher education organizations and institutions. JJF’s interest was to capitalize on the expertise of this group of professionals. We are currently talking with one another to see if we can use knowledge, lessons learned, and program successes to inform the field as well as to spawn other similar teacher preparation and professional development initiatives.
Now, after nearly four years in existence (please use this link to read JJF’s first-ever Annual Report), the Foundation is undertaking several efforts to link groups of grantees who have shared purposes and goals, and to leverage their learning in the hopes of maximizing efforts of JJF’s grant making. I anticipate that it will take us a year or so to see if this work bears fruit, at which time I will share what we have (hopefully) achieved.