Monday, May 26, 2014

Children's Center Teachers Honored

Five TBSCC teachers have received special honors in recent weeks. Their achievements are a sign of the high quality of our faculty.  Please join me in congratulating Sylvia, Jesse, Steve, Sasha and Laura on their accomplishments. A hearty mazel tov goes to...

Sylvia Cohen, Levana teacher, was accepted into the Teaching & Technology Fellowship of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). This intensive program allows teachers to use new tools to re-envision their roles (inside the classroom, and beyond) and offers the training they need to effectively deliver content, interact with children and their families and shape a positive experience for learners. Sylvia joins Rena Gray Fein, 2nd/3rd grade teacher in the TBS Mayim program on our TBS team. We look forward to learning so many new technology tools from Sylvia!

Jesse Tobin, Kohavim Teacher, was selected as one of only 16 educators nationwide for the prestigious Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute. She recently returned from four days of study with the program and will continue for the next 18 months. Jesse will focus on Jewish study and leadership development and bring her learning back to the TBSCC community.

Steve Shimshak, Etzim teacher, has been working with CJP and researchers from Brandeis University to study the needs of area Jewish parents with young children. If you got a survey by email about your school choice, you've seen part of Steve's work on this project. As we plan for the new TBS building and our needs as a school community for the future, the data obtained from Steve's work will guide our decision making process.

Sasha Kopp, Levana teacher, was accepted by Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, where she will pursue a Master of Arts in Jewish Education. Sasha was also accepted to the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, a selective fellowship for outstanding graduate students in Jewish education, Jewish professional leadership, and the rabbinate. We are sorry to see Sasha leave TBS next fall, but we are so proud of her!

Laura Walsh, Etzim teacher, along with co-teacher Steve Shimshak and Lauri Cohen and Gabi Soble, Adamah teachers, has been participating in an on-going study of Social Thinking. Laura's story of the work that has been happening in the Etzim class was recently featured in the newsletter from Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, an area organization that helps children with special needs access Jewish education.  Read the story Laura shared:
Temple Beth Shalom Children's Center, Needham: Preschool teachers of young four-year-olds introduced a strategy begun at the outset of the year in response to finding the 'right' job for a returning student. On a rotating basis, one child takes on the role of the "problem solver" for his/her peers to serve as the support person of the week, whose job it is to help when there is a conflict or problem. The 'problem solver' wears a special necklace with a big 'question mark (?) hanging prominently from it. Whenever two or more children appear to need a neutral third party to help negotiate the sharing or 'mixing' of ideas, the problem solver steps forward and 'listens' diligently to each child and then together they work out the solution to the problem. At first this process required a lot of the teachers' attention. However, the children quickly began to use the social thinking skills of thinking thoughts and feeling feelings. The problem solver asked each participant: "What's in your thought bubble?" and the work of problem solving began. Children continued to cultivate the important skills of perspective taking, size of the problem, and dealt with what happens when unexpected situations emerge. They progressed to making a group plan where none existed.

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