With the support of the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Federation was proud to bring two well-known presenters to the Jewish Day Schools Professional Development Day on February 19th: Larry Thompson, who spoke about creating a “culture of calm” in the classroom, and Lev Stark, who shared with the school administrators eight strategies to increase their school’s connection to the digital world. Approximately 150 educators attended.
We were also honoured to feature Tal David, of the Centre for Israel Education, who was able to demonstrate how educators can make key links from biblical times through to modernity using the story of Israel’s water supply. Other workshop topics ranged from fostering resilience in the classroom, working with gifted and “twice exceptional” students, differentiated instruction for Judaics and teaching Gemara to diverse learners, to using core competencies to design lesson plans.
A separate stream, specifically designed for early childhood educators from the JCC, Vancouver Talmud Torah and Vancouver Hebrew Academy, featured Maxine Handleman, the highly regarded author of Jewish Every Day: The Complete Handbook for Early Childhood Teachers. She spoke about incorporating Jewish experiences in the classroom.
An online survey distributed to participants at the end of the program revealed that this was one of the best-received professional development days that we have offered. Among the many comments received, this response from Raquel Freiwirth, a teaching assistant at Vancouver Talmud Torah, was one of the most enthusiastic: “I loved the presentation!” she wrote about Thompson’s workshop. “He was engaging and charismatic. The stories that he shared with us were unbelievable. I really think that I will be able to apply in my classroom something of what I learned at the Pro D day.”