Registration - Summer 2019

Gratz College’s NEXT program supports excellence in Jewish education by strengthening the skills of professionals teaching in the Jewish community. 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.

More questions? Visit our FAQ page or write program director Emily Teck.


NEXT Summer Courses

Summer 8 Weeks - Boot Camp for New(ish) Teachers

Many new teachers wake in the middle of the night worrying about setting up a classroom, planning for the first day, organizing lessons, and keeping everything engaging. This class will prepare new Supplementary School teachers for the challenges that lie ahead by offering a solid introduction to many core aspects of teaching in a part-time Jewish educational program. Topics include: kehillah (community) building, classroom management, learning styles and multiple intelligences, special needs, child development, lesson planning, instructional strategies, and student engagement.

Summer 8 Weeks - June 17 - ALL GRADES

Summer 8 Weeks - Sing, Move, Play, Pray: Supporting Cognitive, Linguistic, Social, Physical & Spiritual Development In The Jewish Classroom

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (D.A.P.) is at the foundation of excellence in education. This eight-week intensive NEXT course will prepare participants to practice D.A.P. through music, and help them understand the vitally important role that music can play in enhancing and strengthening a child’s ’s cognitive, linguistic, social, physical and spiritual skill development. During the course, participants will acquire the tools and confidence to create, implement, and evaluate a diverse collection of strategies and songs that encourage meaningful student participation in Jewish educational environments. Through independent music listening, online group discussion, video viewing and analysis, and guided lesson planning, participants will build upon their existing knowledge and skills to improve and increase the ways that they are able to utilize music as a teaching tool. Collaboratively, the instructor and course participants will provide individualized feedback to participants, helping each student to take concrete steps towards the preparation and implementation of the content and skills presented in the course.

Summer 8 Weeks - June 17 - GRADES EC-2

Summer A - Integrating Israel into Holiday Programming

As Jewish educators, we are accustomed to teaching Israel through the lenses of history, politics, geography, and food. In this course, we will discover new ways to explore Israel with students - by integrating Israel into holiday education. We will expose tie-ins between the major Jewish holidays and contemporary Israel education, and will develop best practices for using experiential education methods to build connections between our learners and Israeli culture and society.

Summer A - June 17 - GRADES 5-12

Summer A - Jewish Education is NOT Just For Kids: Exploring the Adult Learner

Although lifelong learning is ingrained in Jewish tradition, it was only towards the end of the twentieth century that scholars began to study the adult learner and articulate best practices in adult education. In this course, we will examine early 21st century adult learners, exploring developmental stages and generational characteristics that impact learning in adulthood, adult education theories, and specific religious and Jewish education characteristics that should inform our design of adult education courses and programs. We will conclude with a conversation on preparing to teach in adult Jewish settings.

Summer A - June 17 - ADULT

Summer A - Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue: Advocacy, Activism & Jewish Teens

Adolescents around the world are harnessing the spirit of activism and taking on the challenging responsibility of putting their values into practice by advocating, rallying, and expressing their viewpoints. Jewish students are at the forefront of these change movements. As educators, we have the opportunity to use Jewish texts, stories, and values to further empower these young leaders in their activism. In this course we will explore activism as it relates to issues that contemporary teens face, and learn practical steps to implement as we encourage a spirit of activism grounded in Jewish values.

Summer A - June 17 - GRADES 7-12

Summer A - Putting Hebrew Back in Hebrew School

We need to reevaluate how we teach Hebrew. More than two decades of research emphatically back this up. Sometimes research studies are used to advocate the elimination of Hebrew from our curricula. This course is based on a far different interpretation of the data, one that supports the expansion of Hebrew language learning but calls for a different delivery system. Together we will consider the reasons and rationale for putting Hebrew language and literacy in the forefront of supplementary education. We will explore the best methods for Hebrew instruction. We will specifically focus on a systematic approach to teaching Hebrew that integrates spoken Hebrew, Hebrew reading and prayer instruction.

Summer A - June 17 - GRADES 2-7

Summer A - Transforming Drop-Off to Drop-In

One of the best things we can do for our students is to get their parents to park their cars and come inside to participate, along with their children, in Jewish educational experiences. How do we go beyond class Shabbat dinners, family Hanukkah programs, and Purim carnivals to make parents our true partners? In this course, we will consider the challenges to fully engaging parents as individuals and as a group. Together, we will develop a multipronged approach to overcoming the common challenges, beginning with ways to use communication and materials to bridge the learning between school and home. We will identify a variety of opportunities for parents to join the class, as learners, as teachers, and as welcome guests. By the end of this course, participants will have a parent communication strategy as well as detailed plans for at least two intergenerational programs that will leave parents feeling competent and connected.

Summer A - June 17 - GRADES ALL

Summer B - Applying the Neurodiversity Approach in Your Jewish Educational Setting

The neurodiversity* movement, founded by adults with developmental disabilities, has taught us that it is critically important to value all kinds of minds and include all learners on equal terms. Educators committed to teaching all learners are often in the difficult position of being without clear guidance on how to act on these inclusive values in practice.

Because learners with developmental disabilities have been excluded from most learning environments, most approaches to education have been designed primarily for typically-developing learners. Every inclusive educator is doing original research to some extent.

This course is designed to help educators continuously build inclusive teaching capacity even though there are currently more open questions than clear answers. It is appropriate for educators in all roles, and for educators with and without preexisting familiarity with neurodiversity.

*Neurodiversity is the concept that neurological disabilities (eg: autism, Down’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, etc) are a natural part of human diversity, and that all kinds of minds should be equally valued.

Summer B - July 22 - ALL GRADES

Summer B - Bringing Cultural Competency into your Classroom, School, Youth Group, and Community

Cultural competency, as defined by the National Education Association (NEA), is “having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families.”

In this class, we will explore the concept of cultural competency as it relates to Jewish education. Educators who value cultural competency optimize their learning environments as they strive to get to know each individual student’s cultural background and learn the values and expectations of each students’ family and community. As such, the Jewish value of kavod, respect, is modeled and the content of lessons can be more personal, meaningful, and relevant to each member of the classroom. We will consider our own biases about diversity, equity and inclusion, and use what we learn to create nurturing spaces in which our students will thrive.

Summer B - July 22 - GRADES K-12

Summer B - Fostering Resilience in Our Teens

The expectations placed on teens today by society, parents, peers, and themselves leave today’s adolescents extremely stress-prone. Physical, social, emotional, and intellectual changes 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 enable us to be present for our teens when they face strife? How can Jewish virtues help us in the character 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.

Summer B - July 22 - GRADES 6-12

Summer B - Gender, Judaism, and LGBTQ Inclusion (presented in Collaboration with Keshet)

Today, LGBTQ inclusion in Jewish spaces is a necessary topic of discussion as an increasing number of individuals openly identify as LGBTQ. At the same time, many LGBTQ people, especially transgender and non-binary youth, do not yet feel that their Jewish spaces are able to affirm their full selves. In this course, we will discuss terms and concepts to increase participants’ LGBTQ cultural competency (including the differences between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, sexual orientation, and attraction), explore how Jewish values and tradition make space for LGBTQ inclusion, and learn best practices for making sure all aspects of Jewish community are inclusive and affirming of our LGBTQ friends, family, and community members.

Summer B - July 22 - ALL GRADES

Summer B - Integrating Jewish Mindfulness into your Classroom

Mindfulness meditation helps lower stress levels, improve energy and focus, and allows the practitioner to be more present. As students cope with life’s pressures, it is important to provide them with practical tools that can help them ground themselves. Participants will learn and practice mindfulness techniques including meditation and gratitude exercises through a Jewish lens, and consider ways to integrate them into the classroom.

Summer B - July 22 - GRADES 5-12

Summer B - Jewish Life Cycle

Marking Jewish time and life milestones with rituals is a continuously evolving and dynamic process, and when our students have an authentic understanding of life cycle customs, rituals and their meanings, the relevance of these sacred moments is elevated. To teach about rites of passage in ways that will resonate with our students, we must understand these events through a contemporary lens. In this course, we will explore traditional and innovative ways of celebrating, mourning, and marking time throughout a Jewish life. The four sessions will include the following topics: Birth: More Than Just a Bris; B’nai Mitzvah: Coming of Age in the 21st Century; Marriage: Expanding Definitions of Tradition; Death and Mourning: Kaddish and Beyond.

Summer B - July 22 - GRADES 4-7

Summer B - Meaningful Modifications: Meeting the Diverse Needs of B’nai Mitzvah Students & Their Families

Young Jews “become” bar and bat mitzvah at ages thirteen and twelve respectively. How individuals, families and communities “have” a b’nai mitzvah and mark this rite of passage has varied through place and time. This course will offer a framework for assessing student and family needs and suggest accommodations, modifications and options which can be implemented in synagogues in all denominational settings, based on the individual learner’s interests, passions, strengths and areas of challenge. The course will also explore a number of creative “do it yourself” options.

Summer B - July 22 - ALL GRADES

We design new classes every semester!  If you are looking for a class that you don’t see listed, please contact Dr. Emily Teck at [email protected].  Depending on the topic, we might hire someone to teach it in an upcoming semester.  Or, we can build a class with you and offer it exclusively to your community or your faculty. These learning opportunities can be specific to a group of schools, movement or geographic area  -- we have done it all!