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MIFGASHIM  June 2009

MIFGASHIM June 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 80

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 29 Jun 2009 15:15:20 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 80


Contents:

1.	Lookstein Podcast: Planning for Next Year
2.	Day School Graduation Speeches
3.	Marshall Memo: Six Principles of Reform that Apply to Jewish Day Schools


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Lookstein Podcast:  Planning for Next Year

In this week's Classroom Teaching, Mark Smilowitz discusses planning for next year. 
Summer is not only a time to get a head start on planning your lessons, but it's also a 
good time to reflect on the larger framework of your year-long course. 

Here are a number of suggestions, including how to identify core ideas and key questions 
in your subject. Listen to the episode or subscribe at http://www.lookstein.org/podcasts/


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Day School Graduation Speeches


USA Today had a brief column on ten stellar college graduation speeches.  (See 
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-05-12-best-speeches_N.htm)

Inspired by USA Today’s idea, we have begun to assemble excerpts from speeches from 
this year’s day school graduations.   Below is a sampling of some of the wise words our 
administrators shared with their graduates.  More excerpts follow later this week.


~~~~


Tzivia Garfinkel, Head of Jewish Studies, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago, 
IL:

Let me tell you a story, a story of two Davids - an unlikely and surprising pair - but one 
that is worth our attention . . . 

Every Wednesday morning I teach a class which is Torah L’shma, pure learning, to a 
group of day school parents. And, this year our theme was "King David to David Ben 
Gurion - An exploration of Jewish leadership.”

King David to David ben Gurion had nearly three thousand years between them….I 
realized that "From King David to David Ben Gurion" would make a good subtitle for our 
trip to Israel. 

Each of these Davids was an agent of change. Each David changed the trajectory of 
Jewish history. Each had a dream. a vision. a hope. an inspiration.  They were two very 
different Jews!  David alef - chosen by God to be annointed king - David bet - founder of 
the state and its first prime minister chosen by himself (!) and his peers.  
 
And, to this day we continue to derive inspiration from each of them - either in the Siddur 
which is filled with the words of David Ha-Melech as the author of Ashrei, of Halleluyah, 
of Shir ha-Maalot - all from the book of Psalms in Tanakh. Or from David Ben Gurion 
whose legacy is the very state of Israel which is certainly a part of us as we experienced 
it together as a class - on Tiyul 2009: From King David to David Ben Gurion. 
 
My hope is that each of you will have dreams and visions that you seek to realize - 
visions and dreams inspired by what you have learned, come to value, and done here at 
the Day School. 


~~~~


Jill Kessler, Head of School, The Pardes Jewish Day School, Phoenix, AZ:


Along with your parents, we have taught you to think for yourselves, be articulate when 
speaking and writing, show Kavod, and care deeply for others and the world around you.  
Go forward with confidence because you can.  

You have been given a great foundation.  I know that you will all experience much 
success as you move forward.  

Be curious, ask questions, stay open to new ideas, continue to enjoy and nourish the 
friendships you have formed, strive to go beyond what is asked of you, never say you 
can't, and always have heart.  These are my wishes and hopes for you.  

Finally, let your Jewish identity guide you, give you comfort, and be the compass for your 
obligation to the community in which you live.  May you be blessed in your comings and 
goings.



 
~~~~~~~~~


3.	Marshall Memo: Six Principles of Reform that Apply to Jewish Day Schools
	
In this Education Week article, Canadian educators Michael Fullan and Ben Levin spell out 
the six principles that were used to drive a province-wide reform effort in Ontario, which 
has about 2 million students in 4,900 schools. Test scores in higher-order literacy and 
numeracy have increased 10 percentage points, the number of underperforming schools 
has been drastically reduced, the high-school graduation rate has improved from 68 to 77 
percent, and staff morale and public confidence have improved. 

Here are Ontario’s fundamentals:

• Develop the entire teaching profession. 
“We all know that the quality of the teacher trumps all other in-school factors,” say Fullan 
and Levin. “The challenge is to help tens of thousands of teachers get better at what they 
do.” The province decided not to use performance pay because it’s unproven in the 
research, opting instead for incentives for intensive professional development toward a 
high standard of practice that’s based on evidence of performance.

• Focus on a small number of ambitious priorities. 
Ontario decided on three – literacy, numeracy (incorporating higher-order skills and 
making connections to the rest of the curriculum), and high-school graduation. In each 
area, the province set measurable goals in partnership with schools and districts. 

• Create a two-way street between instruction and assessment. 
“Most school systems make the mistake of loading up on testing as the driver of reform,” 
say Fullan and Levin. “They install too many tests, too narrowly conceived, with punitive 
consequences – a recipe for failure.” A better approach, they argue, is keeping instruction 
and assessment tightly aligned and in balance and constantly identifying and spreading 
instructional practices that are producing measurable results. 

• Foster effective leadership. 
Articulating general standards is not enough, say the authors. The development of teacher 
leaders, building administrators, and system leaders needs to be wedded to the system 
priorities – in this case, literacy, numeracy, and high-school graduation – with the goal of 
changing the culture of the organization. 

• Intervene early. 
This goes for helping struggling students and improving low-performing schools.

• Focus money on these fundamentals. 
“Otherwise, it will be squandered,” say Fullan and Levin. “Schools often seem to behave 
as if any new activity requires money. In fact, a main requirement is to use existing 
resources in a more focused manner.”

“The Fundamentals of Whole-System Reform: A Case Study from Canada” by Michael 
Fullan and Ben Levin in Education Week, June 17, 2009 (Vol. 28, #35, p. 30-31); this 
article can be purchased at http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2009/06/17/index.html 

__________________________________________________________________________
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The Mifgashim List is a project of
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora,
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