JTS Re-launches Its Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Program
May 19, 2021, New York, New York – The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) proudly announces the re-launch of Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks, a professional development program of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS. Throughout the 18 years this program has been in existence, it has provided high-quality professional learning for day school Judaic studies leaders and teachers, elevating their teaching of Tanakh and rabbinics. JTS received funding from the Mayberg Foundation and other funders to continue this program.
The Standards and Benchmarks initiative transforms how day schools teach sacred texts, inspiring students toward greater curiosity, inquiry, and meaning making in their Judaic studies. After completion of the two-year program, faculty members advance their skills, know how to animate student learning, and have a clear vision for the teaching and learning of Tanakh and rabbinics. The re-launch of the program includes a cohort of six new schools and builds upon experiences gleaned during the last fourteen cohorts, feedback from participants, and current effective practices in education. Alumni services are provided to previous participating cohorts.
“Having conducted Standards and Benchmarks in over 90 day schools, we know that this program deeply changes a school’s approach to learning texts and reflects the values of The William Davidson School for excellence in Jewish education; it greatly impacts Judaic studies leaders, teachers, and countless numbers of students,” said Dr. Shira D. Epstein, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education.
“We are pleased to join with other foundations dedicated to excellence in Jewish education by supporting the work of Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks,” noted Mayberg Foundation Executive Director Todd Sukol. “The program’s outcomes align closely with the ultimate goals of the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC), which we launched almost a decade ago to catalyze radical improvement in Jewish day schools. The Standards and Benchmarks team has supported teachers in an important shift in instruction with a focus on Jewish texts’ relevance to the individual learner. We see this as a crucial component of effective day school education that will have lasting impact on each child and, ultimately, the Jewish people.”
The program is open to K–12 schools of all denominations across North America. Day school leaders who are interested in learning more are invited to visit www.jtsa.edu/jewish-day-school-standards-and-benchmarks.
About The Jewish Theological Seminary | JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.