On July 24, 2003, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education will be awarding the first Certificates in Day School Education at the conclusion of this year's DeLeT Summer Program. DeLeT - Day School Leadership through Teaching is a national fellowship program, sponsored by a consortium of philanthropists headed by DeLeT founder Laura Heller Lauder. DeLeT is conducted at both HUC-JIR/LA and Brandeis University.
Eight certificates will be awarded this year to the pioneering group of fellows who have completed 13 months of study, including 9 months of mentored teaching in a Jewish day school in Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Michael Zeldin, Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/LA and Academic Director of DeLeT, and Luisa Latham (MAHE, '77), DeLeT's Program Director, have guided the fellows from their screening interview through the successful completion of this first phase of DeLeT. Once they have received the certificate, the fellows will go on to be lead teachers, Jewish studies teachers, and assistant teachers in day schools. Two will be continuing towards master's degrees and four will pursue their studies in order to achieve state teaching credentials.
Sapphira Fein, one of the young women who will be awarded the certificate, is a graduate of Vassar College, and has spent the last year teaching in the 3rd grade at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles. As part of the first cohort of DeLeT fellows, she participated in a year-long seminar at HUC-JIR focused on "Teaching and Learning in the Jewish Day School," with particular emphasis on how Jewish values contribute to creating a classroom environment that prepares children to live full American lives as active Jews. At the end of the year, she presented her "teaching portfolio" in the form of a volume of Talmud, with the lesson plans, observation notes, and classroom units she created surrounded by commentary she had written along with the comments of her mentor teacher and the clinical educator from HUC-JIR who supervised her work. Sapphira has accepted a position for next year as a lead teacher in the 4th grade at Pressman.
The first class of fellows was joined this summer by a second group of ten fellows. During their 13 months at HUC-JIR/LA, they will take courses to prepare them for the California State Teaching Credential in addition to modules to prepare them to teach an integrated program of studies in which students consider the relationship between their Jewish and American identities. They will also participate in a Bet Midrash program of traditional Jewish text study, and mini-courses to introduce them to how to teach math and Bible. This fall, they will fan out across California for mentored teaching experiences in six schools: Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West in Agoura, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School in Bel Air, Pressman Academy in Los Angeles, Gideon Hausner Day School (previously the Mid-Peninsula Jewish Community Day School) in Palo Alto, Jewish Community Day School of the North Peninsula in Foster City, and Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco.