At Torah Academy, we believe that a critical part of being a successful teacher is ongoing reflection, learning, and growth. Therefore, we invest heavily in furthering the development of our teachers and have increased our annual professional development budget from $500 to approximately $20,000 in the past five years. We now provide a variety of professional learning experiences to meet our teachers’ needs. Throughout the year our teachers participate in Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) in which they examine and advance their practice. New teachers are supported by our rich mentoring program, which provides support and guidance for new teachers as they enter the field of education. Support from the Kohelet Foundation’s CEI initiatives and SmartSchool program and the Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership have been critical in allowing teachers to broaden and deepen their expertise and keep them abreast of new research and teaching strategies such as training in technology (iPads), reading (Wilson/FunDations Reading and Writing Project), math (NCTM), science enrichment (Science by Mail), Chumash (Lehavin U’lehaskil), Gemara (Gemara Berurah), prosocial behavior and anti-bullying (BRAVE), and classroom management (Responsive Classroom). This investment in our faculty allows our students to benefit from highly-trained teachers while attracting motivated faculty who recognize the value and importance of continuing their professional development.
Torah Umesorah and Consortium of Jewish Day Schools
Torah Academy is also associated with Torah Umesorah and the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools. Several faculty members attend their annual conventions, and they continue to provide our school with consulting services. Along with other schools in the Philadelphia Area Jewish Day School Collaborative, we have also participated in the financial benchmarking program which has been exceedingly helpful in creating ongoing financial plans.
The Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership
Torah Academy is fortunate to receive significant assistance from Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership. Here are some of the programs we have benefited from over the past five years:
- BRAVE Social Skill Leadership and Anti-Bullying Program
- New Teacher Mentoring Program
- Hebrew Early Literacy Screenings
- On-line teacher training programs in differentiated education and educational technology
- Teacher recruitment
- Various workshops
- Informal consulting and mentoring