Fall Professional Learning Convening at GW

February 16, 2023

Three member of the CASJE community smile and speak to each other at convening. Other guests can be seen blurred in the background.

In November, CASJE, in collaboration with the Wexner Foundation, M2, The Jewish Education Project, the Jewish New Teachers Project, and DEEP hosted an in-person convening of Jewish educational leaders at GW University. The convening focused on connecting professional development, Jewish education, and research. The convening was funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Mayberg Foundation, supported by a partnership with the DEEP Consortium, a project of the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC), which works to catalyze radical improvement in Jewish day schools.

The convening aimed to meet five goals: Participants would gain a deeper understanding of what it means to translate research findings into policy and practice; consider implications for professional learning of key findings from CASJE’s Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators Study; compare models for professional learning currently extant in the field of Jewish education and with evidence-based models for high quality professional learning in the general education literature; articulate opportunities to modify organizational practices in order to better align with research evidence and organizational vision; and form connections to other organizations delivering professional learning within the Jewish education ecosystem for the purpose of future collaboration towards better addressing challenges and opportunities uncovered by the research.

Fifty-four educational leaders attended from a wide variety of sectors including day schools, experiential education, and rabbinic training programs, as well as faculty and a select group of funders. The convening began with an opportunity for participants to share questions and dig into the barriers that inhibit organizations from exploring those questions. Participants had opportunities to network, share organizational strengths and vulnerabilities, and discuss, in both formal and informal spaces, the ways in which research can be utilized to improve professional learning outcomes. Dr. Heather Hill presented the keynote address sharing findings from her research brief on facets of professional learning that improve student outcomes. Participants then tested using a protocol to structure conversations about research findings and implications for practice. Participants also heard from a panel of researchers and practitioners, who explored the gap between research and practice.

Participants left the convening with new insights, new questions, and shared ideas to continue to engage around these questions. In 2023, CASJE will offer program attendees opportunities to revisit the convening topics and reflect on their implications for practice.