NEXT | Gratz College

Gratz College’s NEXT program supports excellence in Jewish education by strengthening the skills of professionals teaching in the Jewish community. Online, asynchronous courses are taught from a pluralistic perspective by innovative instructors who are experts in their fields and are committed to elevating educational experiences for diverse learners. Course topics and content reflect contemporary issues and best practices. All courses are online and asynchronous, allowing participants to engage from anywhere at any time.

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Gratz NEXT Summer 2020 NEXT session plans shifted in resonance to the COVID-19 crises. We are in the process of assessing the current needs-- and imagining the future needs-- of our teachers, and preparing what our next steps will be as we pivot and adapt to the new and evolving circumstances in our field.  Rather, Gratz NEXT is offering a select courses to BBYO staff and advisors, in collaboration with BBYO leadership.  
In these Gratz NEXT online courses with a flexible schedule (AKA 'asynchronous presentation), there are no scheduled chats or presentations. Rather, the course instructor and participants interact through discussion boards, assignment submissions and feedback, and pre-recorded videos.  If you have additional questions, please contact Emily Teck, Interim Director of NEXT, at [email protected]
The Gratz NEXT BBYO Summer 2020 Session courses will be facilitated by Samatha Vinokor-Meinrath.
BBYO Summer Session Courses begin June 8 (4 weeks of course) 
Navigating and Nurturing Complicated Communications during COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of social distancing, Jewish educators have been tasked with finding new ways to reach teen learners in authentic, meaningful ways that highlight the relevance of Judaism and the Jewish community, while addressing the challenges that teens are facing in all aspects of their lives. This course will explore best practices for addressing issues of consent, gender identity, gun control, Israel, anti-Semitism, or any emotionally loaded topic, preparing the educator to decide when to remain neutral and when to name a bias, and how to create safe space around the conversation, using a variety of tools and approaches. Participants will receive broad content and context to frame their approaches, and tangible takeaways to enhance their work with teens during the new normal of social distancing. 
Course Objectives:
• Identify topics of concern or complexity that come up in Jewish educational environments, and explore best practices for approaching them with high school students.
• Consider personal perspectives on a variety of hot-button issues so as to create a plan for addressing them with teens.
• Explore the concept of safe spaces through a Jewish lens, and develop plans for applying it in our work.
Cultivating Resilience - from a Distance 
With the new reality of physical distancing, the expectations placed on teens today by society, parents, peers, and themselves leave today’s adolescents extremely prone to stress and anxiety. Physical, social, emotional, and intellectual changes and challenges contribute to the stress.  How can we, as Jewish professionals, best support our teens during this developmental stage?  Where in Jewish tradition can we find resources that will help us to support and empower teens through the challenges of adolescence?  How can we use Jewish virtues to help us in the ongoing development of the teens we work with? Together, we will grapple with these questions and also have the opportunity to support each other in our sacred work.
Course Objectives:
• Describe fundamental developmental factors that impact a teenager’s ability to be resilient 
• Reference and interpret Jewish texts and traditions to guide their own practices in working with teenagers
• Describe the science of character development and its relationship to Jewish virtues 
• Construct a strategic model to fostering resiliency in their congregation or organization