Jewish New Teacher Project Receives $1.8m from Two Foundations

To further support Jewish day school teachers and to retain them in the field, the Jim Joseph Foundation and The AVI CHAI Foundation have announced combined grants of nearly $1.8 million to the New Teacher Center for its Jewish New Teacher Project, an initiative that offers teacher induction, ongoing support and training, and mentorship opportunities for day school teachers. The grants are a vote of confidence for the twelve-year-old organization following an intensive business planning process with Wellspring Consulting that charts a path to sustainability.

“For more than ten years, JNTP has accelerated the effectiveness of new teachers and promoted the growth of school leadership,” says Nina Bruder, JNTP’s director. “After a substantial business planning process, and with the stamp of approval of these grants, we are positioned to expand this work and strengthen teachers and day schools even more deeply. Our induction process brings together beginning teachers, veteran teacher mentors and principals, all of whom play critical roles in teaching our children.”

JNTP focuses exclusively on providing induction support to new teachers in Jewish day schools, regardless of their school’s network or movement affiliation or the teacher’s previous training. It has worked with 664 new teachers, 232 mentors and 96 schools in 10 states plus Canada. Within a short timeframe, JNTP’s support helps novice teachers teach at the level of an educator with 4-5 years in the field, enhancing the instruction and student experience. JNTP’s training and induction support work is done under the umbrella of NTC, a national nonprofit recognized as the “gold standard” for teacher induction programs in the secular education world.

A ten-year impact study of JNTP demonstrates that the induction program is especially effective at strengthening teacher retention, accelerating teacher improvement, and influencing the schools’ cultures around professional teaching standards and collaboration among teachers. More than 86 percent of past JNTP participants continue to work in Jewish education, with 80 percent still in Jewish day schools. For schools, less teacher turnover means that administrators and faculty can focus more on student learning.

Along with its induction of new teachers, JNTP also helps day schools recognize, retain, and deepen the teaching and leadership skills of their best teachers. JNTP has provided close to 100 day schools with a vision for rigorous professional development and a set of professional teaching standards. A principal at one participating school notes, “The mentoring program has had a profound impact on improving quality of instruction and teacher support at [my school].”

The Jim Joseph Foundation’s grant to JNTP is a reallocation of up to $646,395 of the Foundation’s original 2008 grant to JNTP for $1,719,622. The Foundation currently supports eight different organizations that support preparation and/or professional development for Jewish day school and high school teachers. The new grant, which goes through December 2016, also requires matching funds from foundations, federations, or individuals.

The AVI CHAI Foundation created JNTP in 2003 in partnership with the New Teacher Center. Its renewal grant for JNTP is for up to $1,132,000.