Congregational Education Initiative
In 2007, Hebrew College launched its Congregational Education Initiative, an intensive three-year professional-development program to meet the needs of teachers in supplementary schools. The current program is a collaborative effort of Hebrew College, the individual partner schools and communities. It is funded by Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
Structure of the CEI Program
The program consists of six professional development sessions of two hours each. This structure enables the CEI staff to build relationships with each schools’ educational leaders and teachers.
Content and Pedagogy
One of the hallmarks of the CEI program is that it combines content learning of subject matter with pedagogical strategies and approaches. Each year focuses on a particular content area: Year 1, bible and text; Year 2, prayer; and Year 3, Hebrew and holidays. CEI year is devoted both to the study of the focus content area and to exploring how to teach that area to children. One of the goals of CEI is to have faculty feel comfortable with the Judaic content, background and structure of the material they are teaching.
A Culture of Collaboration
In addition, the collaboration of teachers in developing lesson plans and classroom materials has created a collegial culture of professional sharing and learning that is different from short-term and occasional teacher workshops. The ultimate result of the intensive nature of the CEI professional-development model is its long-term effect on teaching and learning within the school, and a transformation of the school culture regarding teacher cooperation, learning and professional growth.