Mandel Center receives repeat Covenant Foundation grant

$200,000 gift will support the development and retention of Jewish Day School teachers

A graduate of Brandeis' DeLeT program for Jewish day school teachers receives guidance from experienced colleagues at a local Jewish day school as part of the Mandel Center's Induction Partnership

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University, dedicated to improving Jewish education through the study of teaching and learning, is the recipient of a major grant from The Covenant Foundation.

The grant, $200,000 over four years, will make possible the wider use of an innovative school-based approach, developed by the Mandel Center, to support new teachers as they take their place at Jewish day schools across the country.

Created in 2005, this model of “induction,” including resources and a toolkit, has been used successfully in select Boston-area Jewish day schools. The center developed the model with support from the Mandel Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, and an earlier grant from the Covenant Foundation.

On May 19, representatives from each of the local partner schools will gather at Brandeis to report the improvements the Induction Partnership has made on their schools. Heads of schools, local educational leadership, and Covenant representatives will be on hand to hear about the project’s successes and discuss how to sustain this work in the Boston day school community.

The event will also focus on the next step of taking the model to sites outside of Greater Boston. The new grant allows the Mandel Center to expand the program to three additional communities nationwide, including Seattle, Wash., Detroit, Mich., and Northampton, Mass.

“The ongoing support we’ve received from The Covenant Foundation has been fantastic, and has enabled us to bring comprehensive, school-based new teacher induction to seven schools in the Boston area,” said Vivian Troen, director of the Induction Project at the Mandel Center. “Now, with the Foundation’s additional funding, we can take what we’ve learned and created locally – including a rich knowledge base, materials, resources and a toolkit – to other day schools in smaller communities across the country.”

Troen said that many Jewish day schools are not organized to support and sustain new teachers at the beginning of their careers, when their effectiveness as educators is defined. The center’s new teacher induction model and toolkit aims to correct this trend.

“This is exciting, groundbreaking work, encompassing unique concepts of distance coaching and learning, web-supported online professional learning communities, and a new model of collaboration for professional development,” Troen said. “The ultimate goal is to demonstrate that when Jewish day schools invest in building induction capacity, they can create lasting improvements in the practice of new teachers, and all teachers.”

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Foundation and the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA).

The Mandel Center is a partnership between the Mandel Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, and Brandeis University, which has enabled Brandeis to establish the Center's home on the Brandeis campus and to recruit talented researchers and teacher educators to carry out a distinctive program of research and professional development.

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