How to Attract, Prepare and Keep Good Day School Teachers

Oct 7, 2014

Source: Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education


Teacher retention and effectiveness stem from a clear vision of good teaching, strong alignment between coursework and field experiences, a focus on subject matter preparation, and a year-long internship. That view is supported by a new report from the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, which finds that graduates of the DeLeT (Day School Leadership Through Teaching) Program at Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion feel well prepared for their responsibilities as day school teachers. The report comes from the Longitudinal Survey of Day School Teachers, which has been tracking the careers of DeLeT alumni since 2007.


Researchers analyzed responses of over 100 DeLeT graduates from the past six years to a survey administered at the end of the program and conducted interviews with program faculty to help explain those responses. In addition to their overall sense of preparedness, a large majority (81%) of DeLeT graduates, mainly elementary teachers of general and/or Jewish studies, felt well or very well prepared to plan lessons, manage classrooms and integrate Jewish values into their teaching.


The features of DeLeT—vision, coursework-fieldwork alignment, subject matter preparation and an internship—are widely reported in the teacher education literature as characteristics of high quality teacher preparation and correlates with teacher retention and effectiveness. While other programs for aspiring Jewish day school teachers have some of these features, only DeLeT offers this combination.


A final contribution of the study turns on its unique combination of program evaluation and applied research. Supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Longitudinal Survey of Day School Teachers combines formative assessment with the generation of usable knowledge for the field. Too often, programs in Jewish education are subjected to brief evaluations whose instruments and findings are rarely made public. This practice works against the building of shared knowledge.


Read the entire post at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education Blog.

Updated: Oct. 22, 2014