"According to Gerhard Fischer, director of the Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, "lifelong learning is an essential challenge for inventing the future of our societies; it is a necessity rather than a luxury to be considered...It is a mindset and a habit for people to acquire. It creates the challenge to understand, explore, and support new essential dimensions of learning such as: (1) self-directed learning, (2) learning on demand, (3) informal learning, and (4) collaborative and organizational learning." Fischer explains that lifelong learning "requires progress and an integration of new theories, innovative systems, practices, and assessment." For teachers, putting in this kind of lifelong work will help better amplify their capabilities, collaborate with colleagues, and transform in turn the way their students navigate the world."
At CJDS, we aspire to achieve lifelong learning. We communicate to our students that it is a part of the culture at CJDS. Research institutes at Harvard, Stanford, John Hopkins and many other institutes of higher education are citing research which supports this concept. Tomorrow, our faculty and our staff will model this concept through their involvement in professional development/lifelong learning. All over the Chicagoland area, our faculty are observing teaching and speaking with teachers at various schools. Our faculty are visiting Jewish day schools, public schools, and private, independent schools. Our non-educational staff are also involved in a day long workshop exploring communication in the workplace and how to give productive feedback.
We employ different types of professional development on an ongoing basis, yet I'm not sure we always communicate about that area of school life to our parents. Our faculty and staff in Kindergarten through Grade Eight have an ongoing relationship with a wonderful and talented math consultant, Rebecca Hendrickson. Rebecca works with individual teachers and departments supporting our Everyday Math (K-5) and Connected Math (6-8) programs. Eliana Lipsky, from the JUF Reach department, works with our Hebrew/Jewish studies faculty on a regular basis supporting differentiated learning in our Hebrew department.
Our faculty continually meet with their team leaders to collaborate and learn together. As we have written about in previous Likrat Shabbats, we also participate in community-wide professional development opportunities and attend week-long conferences. This week, two of our Hebrew/Jewish Studies teachers are attending a Tal Am conference, and our three middle school humanities teachers are attending a Reader's Workshop conference.
This is just a snapshot of the type of professional development and lifelong learning opportunities in which we participate. We can't wait to hear about what our teachers learn at the various schools and hear about their conversations and what exciting ideas they can bring back to our classrooms.
Across the world, our Grade 8 students are really enjoying their Ta'am Yisrael Israel experience. If you want to visit the Ta'am Yisrael Facebook page and see the pictures of the trip, it's very exciting! As we speak, Tamar Cytryn and Jill Kushnir LeVee are in flight on their way to Israel and picking up our students on Sunday for the CJDS extension part of the trip.
Lastly, our Kindergarten had its culmination of their family unit last Friday. It is so inspiring to see our Kindergarteners so engaged in the learning process and see the impact of experiential learning all the way to the ultimate experiential learning experience in Grade 8 - a trip to Israel. CJDS students are learning non-stop and when student s are engaged and loving what they are learning, the sky's the limit. We know this from research, and we can see our Educational Philosophy and Mission and Vision working in real time - real life!
Ms. J (Judy)