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Applications open for Center for Israel Education Day School Initiative

The Center for Israel Education (CIE) invites Jewish schools to a new three-year cohort of its Day School Initiative that aims to create expanded opportunities for engaging day schools and providing them with guided assistance to upgrade their Israel education offerings.

The dozen schools that enroll in the Day School Initiative starting in the 2020-21 academic year will receive on-site professional development and ongoing remote support to achieve goals that meet their specific needs, such as integrating Israel throughout general and Judaic studies, coordinating curriculum across all grade levels, and expanding knowledge of Israel for community stakeholders. CIE will help each school create a tailored professional development plan to meet its goals.

In addition to a matching grant of up to $2,500 per year, members of the new cohort will benefit from the work of the Initiative’s eight pilot schools with CIE’s day school education specialist, Dr. Tal Grinfas-David, who will continue to guide the program. All of the eight schools in the initial cohort introduced or significantly expanded dedicated Israel courses, and teachers introduced Israel units in every grade level. 

Teachers across the first cohort found that integrating units between Judaic and general studies not only improved Israel education, but also changed the climate and enhanced the collaboration throughout a school. Schools learned how to design curricula to meet standards and benchmarks, and in the process focused more on project-based learning, best practices and assessments of student improvement. They also connected with community members who brought relevant experiences to classes and thus improved the schools’ integration with their communities.

The research company Demographic Perspectives reviewed the initiative last year and praised the program for its “innovative learning,” its “use of unbiased and neutral materials,” and for “focusing on content, not advocacy.”  

“We are definitely moving away from ‘Israel is a perfect country’ to ‘We love Israel, but let’s open it up and really see the history and what’s going on,’” said the initiative coordinator at one of the eight pilot schools. “We do have to help students learn to love Israel … but also know the facts and know what’s happened and have the history.”

For information on the Day School Initiative and/or applying to join the new cohort, contact Grinfas-David at tal.david@israeled.org or (678) 733-3700. Application deadline is Feb. 24.

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