Ades Foundation Seeks to Enhance Quality of Jewish Day School Education

Posted on 06/10/2022 @ 06:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

The best complement I think I’ve ever heard about a teacher was when one of their students said: “It doesn’t matter to me what she’s teaching -- the biology of worms, the history of clouds, or the phone book -- I would still take her class, because I know that she would make it completely fascinating.”
Anyone who cares about making education better quickly comes to realize that focusing on teachers is the key to improvement. As we all know from our own experience of schooling, when teachers are knowledgeable, interesting and excellent in conveying their subject matter, magic is going to happen in that classroom for the vast majority of its students.
And research supports what seems so intuitive. The most important factor contributing to a student’s success in school is the quality of teaching. And if we want learners – i.e., our students— to have an exceptional education, then we need to make sure there are many, many exceptional educators in our schools.
That is exactly why Daniel & Gisela Ades, founders of The Ades Family Foundation, and its CEO, Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl, a thought leader in the national Jewish community, have decided to provide grants designed for educational faculty seeking to advance their professional practice by enrolling in a degree-seeking program, seeking additional / advanced certification in their subject area, or seeking additional certification in a new subject area.
Daniel and Gisela Ades describe their motivation for this initiative:

"One of the primary purposes of our foundation is to help the incredible Jewish Day Schools we have here in the Miami area to become even better. And there is no better way to help a school grow than to help its faculty grow. As CAJE has become the trusted convener and staunch supporter of Jewish education throughout our community, they were the natural partner for us in executing this program.”

Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl explains why this particular structure was chosen:

“By focusing our grants on faculty who enroll in degree or certificate granting programs, rather than lectures, conferences, or workshops, we are setting the bar high and encouraging long term, rigorous, and sustainable professional development across all of our area schools. At the same time, by allowing our schools to select the educators whom they think will benefit most from the program, and by allowing their faculty to choose their desired area of study, we hope to honor the diversity of our community’s schools and the diverse interests and passions of the men and women who have devoted their lives to bettering our children’s future.”

Since the mission of the Ades Family Foundation is to provides grants and professional support services to other qualified non-profit organizations in the United States and Israel that focus on Jewish education, Jewish community, Israel education, and Israel advocacy, it was decided to channel these grants through Miami’s Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), which works directly with our Miami-Dade community day schools and shares a similar capacity-building goal.
Together, CAJE and the Ades Foundation determined that grant money would be allotted towards continuing education awards covering 80% of a teacher’s annual tuition and expenses up to a maximum of $6,500 per year. The educator’s school would contribute up to an additional 10% of the total cost of tuition and expenses and grantees/award winners would be expected to contribute a minimum of 10% of tuition and expenses themselves.

Of course, there are some caveats:
  • The program will be reevaluated annually, and teacher applicants must apply each year; previous award winners are not automatically renewed.
  • The award is open to both Judaic and General Studies teachers, PreK-12th grade.
  • In addition, at the close of each semester, recipients must prepare a brief report detailing how the learning / growth influenced them and in what ways their learning made a contribution to their school’s educational vision.

During this upcoming 2022-2023 school year, the Scheck Hillel Community School will pilot this grant program and if successful, it will expand to other Jewish day schools in the Miami-Dade community.

If the primary outcome is a more educated teacher workforce, a wonderful secondary outcome is the retention of some of our “best and brightest” educators, at a time when schools are finding teacher retention to be a critical need.
CAJE is thrilled to be a catalyst for channeling a local philanthropy’s effort to increase day school quality in our community and hopes this project is, with a slight nod to Humphrey Bogart, the beginning of a beautiful partnership. 

To learn more...
Contact Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar of CAJE or
Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl of the The Ades Family Foundation.