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MIFGASHIM  January 2009

MIFGASHIM January 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 37

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 17:36:37 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (222 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 37


Contents:

1.	Responses:  Impact of Ben Gamla Schools on Jewish Day Schools (Siegel, 
Weissberg, Elster, Posen)

2.	Queries:  Alumni Relations

3.	Marshall Memo: Can Cell Phones be Instructionally Useful?


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Responses:  Impact of Ben Gamla Schools on Jewish Day Schools (Siegel, 
Weissberg, Elster, Posen)

I think Steve Lorch’s points (Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 34) are correct, and in truth I 
don't think that Hebrew charter schools should have any negative impact on day schools 
that are able to clearly define their mission and what makes them unique.  

If anything, I think Hebrew charter schools are good because they push the private 
schools to be more clear about what they represent and challenge them to perform 
better.  In the same way that private American schools are challenged by charter schools 
and forced to carve their own niche in the market, successful Jewish schools will do the 
same.  

The only challenge is that sometimes not all of the people who send to their children to 
the private schools share the vision of the school and that can cause schools to lose 
enrollment if they are not able to convey the importance of the school to the parents. 
  
Rabbi Adam Siegel
Principal
Ben Gamla Charter School
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


I’ve been following and involved in the Ben Gamla school since its inception. I’ve 
moderated a meeting with the members of ADCA and the founder of Ben Gamla, Peter 
Deutsch for a rather candid discussion on the impact of Hebrew Charter schools. 

I believe that there will be a place for Hebrew Charter schools in the future. Day schools 
should not totally ignore them but should find a way to co-opt the schools after-care 
programs. They should be absolutely thinking proactively. 

I don’t think there will be much of a difference between community and denominational 
schools’ impact. I think the beneficiary of the Hebrew Charter school programs will be the 
ones that capitalize on the after-care programs. 

In our community the Jewish Education Center – an Orthodox outreach program has 
capitalized on Ben Gamla’s aftercare program and provide a 5 day a week 2 hrs a day 
Jewish educational program for those kids who are already taking 1 hour of Hebrew 
language instruction a day and 1 hour of Hebrew culture a day.  This will be tough for day 
schools to deal with in terms of competing with 20 hours a week of Hebrew/Jewish 
education. 

I don’t believe there will be any significant impact on the Orthodox denominational 
schools since none of the classrooms nor the school building can have a mezuzah on the 
doors. That, for many in the traditional community will make a difference.

There is much more to be said – there are strategies and tactics that can be developed if 
the Jewish community and particularly the Central Agencies recognize that this will reach 
more Jewish children than all of the congregational schools and day schools – as we 
move into the 21st century.

Dr. Leon Weissberg
Executive director of the JEC
Boca Raton, FL
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


Four considerations:

I.	To be sure a Hebrew Language Charter School is not a Jewish Day School.

II.	This is a public school in America. I really believe in the benefits of everyone 
learning a second language, and of everyone learning Hebrew!" (Sara Berman- Steinhardt 
Foundation on New York's Hebrew Charter School)

III.	For some marginally -Jewish families, the choice between a tuition-charging school 
and a free charter is a no-brainer". (Marvin Schick - " Say It Ain't So Michael") 

IV.	"... a Muslim mother wanted to enroll her son in the school under the premise that 
Judaism and Islam share much in common and an Hispanic mother who told him she felt 
if Jewish parents were sending their children to the school it signified the school was 
offering a quality education.". (New York Jewish Week)

One conclusion....

Impact on day schools? Schools may lose or not attract those families for whom language 
acquisition is a prime value and for whom Tradition and Community and Continuity are 
secondary.  

Shulamith Elster
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


Could you please explain what in your opinion are the advantages and values to 1) being 
in a Hebrew Language School and 2) the lasting values of a birthright trip?
 
Please try to explain what in your opinion has been the main impact of the birthright trip 
to the students who went on it in terms of having learned something about Judaism, being 
inspired to keep on learning about their Jewishness from any angle - religious, cultural 
etc., changing of their life styles and knowledge concerning their Jewishness. 

What do you expect from children who learn the Hebrew Language in a charter school if 
that is not reinforced with any other Jewish learning? Is it any different from learning 
Chinese, Latin, Spanish?

Felix Posen
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Queries:  Alumni Relations

I work in the development office of a K-8 school that was established over 50 years ago.  
We are now for the first time tracking down and soliciting alumni for donations.  

Compared to my former job in a high school, I am finding that it is more difficult to raise 
money from elementary school alumni than from high school alumni.  Perhaps it is 
because children have more of a say in choosing a high school than elementary school 
and thereby are more loyal to the former than the latter.

Has anyone else had this experience?  And does anyone have any ideas for good ways to 
tap into alumni?

Thanks,
Tzvi
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


3.	Marshall Memo: Can Cell Phones be Instructionally Useful?

In this Education Week article, Andrew Trotter reports that some schools are getting 
students to use their cell phones for instructional purposes. The most common school 
policy on cell phones is “Turned off and out of sight,” aimed at preventing students from 
using cell phones to cheat, disrupt classes, bully, communicate with adults outside the 
school, and take photos of teachers and peers to share inappropriately. 
But it has occurred to some teachers that these devices, which are in virtually all 
students’ pockets, might be put to good use. Here are some of the ways:

-	Making podcasts using Gcast, a free Web-based service that allows anyone to 
create a page to host podcasts and upload audio files, as well as create more specialized 
channels and playlists;
-	Taking field notes and snapping photos to share with classmates and compile in 
reports;
-	Reporting on family trips to museums and historical sites;
-	Organizing one’s schedule and homework, including using Soshiku to provide 
“assignment due” messages to their cell phones (http://www.soshiku.com); 
-	Using messaging sites at which teachers can assign homework and give quizzes;
-	Serving as “clickers” for responding to classroom questions and surveys by using 
Polleverywhere.com, which lets anyone post a poll or multiple-choice questionnaire that 
others can respond to using cell phone texting. 

“Indeed,” writes Trotter, “more educators are concluding that cellphones may be the only 
realistic way their schools can offer the 1-to-1 computing experiences that better-funded 
schools provide with laptops.” 

For example, in a Kansas high school a Spanish teacher created a channel that allowed 
her students to call from outside of school and record themselves reading Spanish poetry, 
a French teacher had students make podcasts about recipes for French dishes, and an 
English teacher had her students use their cell phones to interview someone who had 
experienced war.

One resource is the recently published book, Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell 
Phones to Education by Liz Kolb (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). 

Kolb lists 100 educational uses of cell phones, but also cautions on going overboard. For 
example, classroom activities shouldn’t require the use of more sophisticated “smart-
phones” that only some students can afford. But Kolb says that once smart-phones 
become more affordable and widely used, students will be “walking around with 24/7 
connection to the world that they can use for research purposes, publishing purposes, and 
connecting purposes.”

“Students Turn Their Cellphones On for Classroom Lessons” by Andrew Trotter in 
Education Week, Jan. 7, 2009 (Vol. 28, #16, p. 10-11) 
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/01/07/16cellphone.h28.html 

The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12 education. Individual 
subscriptions are $50 for the school year at http://www.marshallmemo.com.

__________________________________________________________________________
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