Change is the New Normal

Posted on 02/26/2021 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: Jewish Schools & Educational Services

“Change has become part of the texture of life itself,
and there are few things harder to bear
than constant flux and uncertainty”
 
~ Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (z”l)  

The education world has experienced change over the past year in unprecedented and deep ways. In education, we often talk about how we are called upon to metaphorically drive the bus while changing the tires, looking under the hood and getting people on and off safely. This holds true during the pandemic more than ever.
 
At the start of the pandemic, the Jewish day schools that took part in CAJE’s #JBLENDMiami initiative for over 6 years found themselves ready and able to quickly pivot to the virtual space. It was not easy, but because of the ongoing collaborative learning environments within each school and among the network of schools, they were successful. 
 
A year later, as we reflect on the work we have been doing with our partner schools, we are proud that through the CAJE Day School Department we have been able to support all of Miami’s funded day schools in navigating the change and uncertainty.
 
How did we do it? By leveraging local and national resources and partnerships to bring the very best to our schools.
 
Over the summer, we secured BetterLesson, a partner in our #JBlendMiami initiative, to provide a 3-part series for our schools to explore the scenarios of online, in person, and hybrid learning. Schools received concrete strategies, tools, and resources while working collaboratively with one another on the details of their plans.
 
In the Fall, we worked with Nancy Penchev, iLab teacher and Instructional Technology Coach at Scheck Hillel Community School, to create and lead two 4-part CAJE EdTech Boot Camps to introduce and support teachers in their knowledge and application of online learning tools to improve the virtual learning experience. 

The CAJE-Better Lesson Leadership Series for Instructional Leaders is an ongoing program where principals, departments heads and instructional coaches gather to identify successes and challenges, explore new ideas and strategies, and share best practices.
 
In the coming weeks we will be launching Pedagogies for Concurrent Learning in partnership with two national organizationsPrizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools and the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge. Concurrent learning is defined as an environment where teachers are educating students in the classroom and concurrently those learning from home at the same time— a new reality now in most of our schools as a result of social distancing measures.
 
Pedagogies for Concurrent Learning consists of virtual workshops​ and 1:1 coaching facilitated by BetterLesson. In addition to learning how to improve instruction in a concurrent setting, this “train-the-trainer” model will also prepare participants to develop a professional development plan for their school faculty, which is what research shows helps build capacity for high quality instruction.
 
CAJE is proud to be able to leverage these opportunities and partner with our powerful network of funded Jewish day schools as they embrace the changes that will have a lasting impact on the ways in which we educate future generations.