Friday, March 24th, 2017 / 26 Adar 5777

March 24, 2017
The Power of a PLC

a) Practical Law Company
b) Public Limited Company
c) Programmable Logic Controller
d) None of the above
If you chose "D," you are correct!
PLC in the educational world = Professional Learning Community, a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students.  It is also a term for professional development done collaboratively. 
Being a congregational educator can often seem isolating.  We work within our own congregations, characterized by their unique culture and systems.  We are used to creating and producing on our own. 
CAJE's Congregational Education Professionals Network (CEPN) seeks to give our congregational school directors exactly the opposite experience by modelling what a PLC feels like even in our regular meetings.  Led by Joy Schandler, the Director of Congregational Education, this group's major focus is collaborative learning and sharing.   
Parker Palmer, a revered educator and author writes, "If we want to grow in our practice, we have two primary places to go: to the inner ground from which good teaching comes and to the community of fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft."  In other words, if we want to hone our craft as Jewish educators, we need to engage in two kinds of activities- reflection and collaboration.
Educators will not continue to be great educators and grow in the profession without the ability to collaborate with fellow educators and the time to reflect on the work we do. It's like asking a player on the Heat to practice basketball by themselves and then demanding excellent synchronicity from them on the court when they have to play with the rest of the team. There's a reason players need coaches and team practice!!!
The Congregational Education PLC offers a safe space for educators to share their visions, challenges, and expertise.  They teach each other through their professional experiences and academic backgrounds. 
Our PLC is more than a place to exchange business cards.  It is a place in which we nurture each other's minds and hearts and find inspiration that leads to transformation and change. 



Words of Wisdom 

by Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar 

This week's Dvar Torah features Rabbi Irwin Kula, a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker, who is President of Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. For those who aren't familiar with it, Clal is a think-tank and do-tank committed to making 'Jewish' a Public Good. A thought leader on the intersection of innovation, religion, and human flourishing, Rabbi Kula seeks to inspire people to live with greater passion, purpose, creativity and compassion.
Named one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, Rabbi Kula is our Keynote Speaker at CAJE's Celebration Sunday May 21st.
Below he talks about "The Big Idea" and we've reprinted a few moments of his presentation.
This week's double portion of Vayakhel/Pikudei spends most of the time describing the Mishkan/ Tabernacle whose sole function was to house the Big Ideas (aka The Ten Commandments) and serve as a place in which to meet/experience G!D. In other words, the Big Ideas were so important, an entire structure was created to house them and remind the Israelites (US!) of their importance.
Click to hear Rabbi Kula discuss today's Big Idea that is the foundational purpose of the Big Ten given at Sinai:
Rabbi Irwin Kula On The Big Idea  
Rabbi Irwin Kula On The Big Idea

The Big Idea
The big idea for me is not any program, it's a psychological and spiritual shift that's going to be actually quite difficult to do. It's not going to happen with a few more dollars directed here or a few more dollars directed there.
The big idea is a complete shift from worrying about Jewish identity and worrying about Jewish continuity and worrying about Jewish peoplehood and worrying about the survival of the Jewish people and worrying about Jewish pride-to actually asking everything we do-- every organizational mission, every single thing we teach in every day school and everything discussed in Hebrew school-- simply this question: Is what I'm teaching and what I'm doing, is it adding and deepening the human experience?...    




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