Enhancing Congregational Learning Through Experiential Education
Through ReFrame, JTS and The Davidson School aid educational leaders in planning new learning models that draw on the best of camps, Israel trips, and other immersive experiences. ReFrame mentors leaders and develops programs based on observation and field experience.
Areas of Engagement
Our beneficiaries are the Jewish children and families yearning for the level of engagement provided by active participation in a Jewish community. Recognizing that these experiences can only occur in settings where educators are properly prepared and supported, ReFrame focuses on educators who serve congregations and other complementary settings throughout North America. Participating educators engage in the ReFrame initiative in multiple ways:
- ReFrame Toronto: In partnership with UJA/Federation of Toronto’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, we are leading a two-year program of professional learning in experiential Jewish education for a cohort of Jewish educators. Workshops, site visits, and individual coaching will lead to our helping them to design a new initiative at their sites to be implemented the following academic year with ongoing mentoring and assessment.
- Congregational Communities—In January, 2014, five congregations began participating in an 18-month ReFrame program designed to provide professional development and evaluation in experiential Jewish Education. These educators benefit from:
- experiential Jewish education training
- assessment of new EJE models
- networking opportunities with other professionals
- Online Conversation—ReFrame is shaping the conversation on congregational schools and experiential Jewish education through its online presence. In doing so, it disseminates new thinking, puts forth novel ideas, and shares innovative models.
- Design Labs—ReFrame is convening groups of educators for short-term gatherings during which they work collaboratively to experiment with EJE questions and share ideas in a “design laboratory setting.”
ReFrame and the William Davidson Graduate School are committed to meeting the changing needs of children who receive their Jewish education in supplementary school environments (after school, Sunday, and synagogue). The stakes are high:
- Approximately 75 percent of non-Orthodox children receiving some form of Jewish education attend supplementary schools.
- Today’s Jewish education must account for shifting trends in individual and family identity, economic pressures, the realities of a consumer-driven marketplace, and technology’s powerful effect on business, education, and social dynamics.
Only by “reframing” our vision for our schools—accounting for the changing nature of families and Jewish life today—can we successfully strengthen them for the 21st century.