Congregational Education Initiative

Congregational Education Initiative

Congregational Education Initiative (CEI)

CEI is a teacher professional development program, offered jointly by Hebrew College and CJP’s Jewish Learning Connections. The ultimate goal of the intensive nature of the CEI professional development model is to create a long-term effect on teaching and learning within the school, and to transform the school culture regarding student learning, teacher cooperation, and professional growth. Currently there are four sub-programs of CEI:

Philosophical Inquiry with Bible and Parashat Hashavua

CEI is offering professional development in an approach to using Bible to engage students in "doing philosophy--philosophizing" on important questions such as: What is goodness? What kind of life is worth living? The approach helps children make sense out of their experience and develop a world view.  Dr. Jen Glaser, Director of Engaging Texts Network, who developed this approach with a Covenant grant, with lead the training sessions. Educators participating in this seminar will have the opportunity not only to apply the approach in their classrooms, but to be part of a national Community of Practice.

Project-Based Expeditionary Learning

CEI works with selected teachers and educational directors from four schools to introduce project-based learning into their school curriculum and structure. The program focuses on training in the principles and implementation of expeditionary projects. Each school is matched with an experienced consultant to guide the teacher as the project progresses. CEI supports these schools beyond the initial year. This program is in its third cycle working with three new schools and two previous schools. (Deisgner-Trainer: Ronit Ziv-Kreger)

Havruta-Inspired Pedagogy

Havruta learning is an age-old pedagogy of learning in pairs. Based on a theory of havruta learning, developed at the Brandeis Mandel Center, this program shapes its sessions around a beit midrash for teachers. The program introduces and initiates teachers into particular havruta frameworks and modes of learning.  In Havruta learning sessions there are three key components: two students and the text. The modes in which havruta learners engage include three pairs of core practices: listening and articulating; wondering and focusing; and, supporting and challenging. (Coordinator/Instructor: Allison Cook and Orit

Clinical Mentor Faculty Program

This group of supplementary school leaders meets to strengthen the vision and skill for teacher development in their programs, and to become part of a cohort of Clinical Mentor Faculty at Hebrew College.  This professional learning community comes together to learn and practice core skills of mentoring teachers, to share their experiences, and to identify and discuss key challenges and opportunities in the field of Jewish supplementary education. As part of the program, the Coordinator visits each participant’s site to co-observe a teacher and reflect on the observation and its follow-up. This program is currently working with a second cohort of educators. (Coordinator: Allison Cook)

Here are some comments from a recent teacher survey:

"Teachers have developed unique, creative projects that have brought unimaginable responses from students...and people are trying to be more innovative. "

"One thing I have to say: every school would and should be grateful for an opportunity that its teachers will learn, prosper and find joy in learning [with CEI] so it will affect their teaching positively."

For more information, contact:

Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer

Congregational Education Initiative Director