On Sunday evening, May 9 2010, a group of nine principals from Jewish schools across North America gathered in Pittsburgh for two full days of the Menachem Education Foundation’s Principal Leadership Program.
The program provides training in transformational and instructional leadership skills focused on improving student learning.
The sessions began on Monday morning at 6:30 AM with Shachris followed by a learning walk through a Pittsburgh public school, Colfax.
The principal of the school, Mr. David May-Stein, participated in the program by leading the group through the school and explaining the values that Colfax stands for. All the principals were blown away by the incredible job that Colfax has done in creating a safe and open learning environment and many principals left the school with new ideas to bring back into their own schools.
The principals then took a learning walk through the Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh to observe the differentiated methods of instruction that Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum has introduced and implemented in the Yeshiva.
Having heard about the approach used in Pittsburgh, the principals were excited to actually see Differentiated Instruction in action, and to have the opportunity to reflect on the benefits and challenges of this unique approach.
The principals were joined by Mrs. Batsheva Deren, principal of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and Mrs. Nami Friedman, Assistant Principal of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh. The women were very excited about the program and look forward to joining the Principal Leadership Program for Women in the summer of 2010.
Following the session the principals were treated to a tour of Pittsburgh on a bus/boat combination. The tour was sponsored by Dr. Tzippy Gur, Director of the AJL of Pittsburgh, and was duly enjoyed by the participants of the program.
In the evening, Dr. Gur hosted a beautiful dinner for the educational community of Pittsburgh to meet the Yeshiva principals and to learn from each other. The dinner was held in The Trimont, which is situated on top of Mount Washington and offers breathtaking views of the city of Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum, Principal of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, began by welcoming the 60 educational leaders in attendance and thanking Dr. Gur for her assistance in bringing the Principal Leadership Program to Pittsburgh.
Dr. Edward Frim, Executive Director of the AJL of Pittsburgh, spoke next of the importance for educators to constantly improve their own skills and competencies.
Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, Head Shliach of Pittsburgh, delivered inspirational words regarding the importance of education and thanked Rabbi Zalman Shneur of the Menachem Education Foundation for making the Principal Leadership Program a reality.
Mr. Zev Rudolph, President of the UJF of Pittsburgh welcomed everyone to Pittsburgh and paved the way for the main presentation of the evening.
The main presentation was delivered by Dr. Olga Welch, Dean of the School of Education at Duquesne University of Pittsburgh. The speech focused on the importance of strong moral identity and execution in leadership and was presented in an unforgettable and entertaining manner using “Alice in Wonderland” to illustrate many of the challenges educational leaders are faced with daily.
On Tuesday, the program continued with a full day session to continue the work that the principals are doing on creating standards that Yeshivos can use to develop curriculum and assessments. Following the completion of standards for Chumash for Grade 1 the principals are working to develop standards for Chumash in Grades 2 and above.
The program ended on Tuesday with a “Tzeischem LeShalom” dinner prepared by Mrs. Chanie Rosenblum and left the participants with a renewed energy and vigor for improving the quality of education in their Yeshivos.
The Menachem Education Foundation was established to raise the bar of Jewish education. The Foundation believes that great educators are the key to great education and is committed to developing intensive programs for Jewish educators. To learn more about the Foundation or to apply to the Principal Leadership Program for Women please contact the Foundation at 718-663-7215 or at [email protected].