A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for Supplemental and Day School Teachers
Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for Supplemental and Day School Teachers

January 06, 2008 10:09PM
In the past, Lookjed has run an occasional series entitled "Creative
Solutions to Educational Challenges."

Some examples include:

Yeshiva Dropouts to the Mainstream
Posted by: Yehuda Kaplan

Mishna Berachot Keva and Kavana
Posted by: Rabbi Harold H. Bell

The Torah MiTzion Kollel program
Posted by: Binyamin Blau

Richard D. Solomon, Ph.D. has approached me with a
suggestion for a new career development ladder, which I am sharing in today’s

As always, your reactions to this post are welcome, either on or off-list.



A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for
Supplemental and Day School Teachers

There is abundant empirical and documented evidence that we need more
highly competent Jewish educators in both Judaics and pedagogy for our
supplemental, and day schools.

After studying the entire field of Jewish education, Paul A. Flexner and
Sandra O. Gold (August, 2003)[1] recommend that all Jewish educators need

• possess a deep understanding of Judaica
• have a thorough knowledge of and ability to work with educational
methodologies appropriate to their setting, and
• be enthusiastic communicators of the Jewish tradition

Flexner and Gold, authors of the JESNA task force on recruitment,
development, retention and replacement[2] summarize the problem this way:

There is a chronic shortage of Jewish educators at every level and in every
setting. Schools, camps, and youth programs are constantly seeking staff,
ranging from entry-level teachers, counselors, and advisors to the senior
personnel necessary to administer institutions and programs. In an open
society with few barriers for Jews, not enough young people are choosing to
become Jewish educators, and not enough of those who make this choice
stay with Jewish education as a lifelong career.

To address these concerns, Elaine Solomon, Hana Bor and I have proposed a
seven stage career development ladder from madrichim to expert teachers

This career professional development ladder includes these stages:

Stage One: The madrich or madricha stage: The madrich or madricha
is an 8th, 9th or 10th grader who is trained to serve as a paid teaching
assistant and role model in a supplemental or day school. During the 11th
grade selected madrichim take course work in Judaics (i.e. Tanach, Jewish
History, Tefilah, Hagim, Israel, Hebrew and the Middot, etc.[4]) and Judaic
specific pedagogy (e.g. lesson planning, models of teaching, classroom
management, student behavioral management, traditional and performance
assessment, learning styles, multiple intelligences and of all students including
those with special needs, etc.[5]) These madrichim will be paid additionally to
receive this instruction and can earn college credit for successfully completing
the course requirements.[6]

Stage Two: The student teacher stage: At the end of the 11th
grade, a select group of madrichim will be invited to become paid student
teachers. During the first semester of the 12th grade, in addition to performing
the duties of the madrich/madricha, each student teacher will have an
enhanced responsibility. He or she will now be observing, reflecting and doing
some small group teaching in the classroom of a trained mentor teacher. This
first semester student teaching experience is designed to prepare the teacher
candidate to become a co-teacher during the second semester. Accordingly,
the student teacher is beginning to acquire the knowledge base and skills to
perform these teaching responsibilities.

• Planning lessons
• Determining content and curriculum (i.e. what should be taught)
• Creating a positive classroom environment
• Developing multiple ways of delivering instruction
• Using multiple ways of measuring what students have learned
• Managing student behavior
• Collaborating with other members of the instructional staff including
teaching assistants (madrichim), co-teachers, teachers, and administrators
• Communicating with and engaging parents, guardians and members of
the Jewish community to participate in classroom and school activities

Stage Three: The co-teacher stage: During the second semester of
the 12th grade, if deemed successful, the student teacher will be invited to
take on the role of a co-teacher; the co-teacher is a paid teaching intern who
will now gradually assume many of the responsibilities of the moreh or morah.
Accordingly at the beginning of the second semester, the co-teacher and the
mentor teacher will be engaged in co-planning. co-instructing and co-
reflecting upon their learning activities. They may be engaged in team
teaching where they alternate instructing the whole class, or they divide the
class into small learning groups which each one directs. Upon successful
completion of this stage, the co-teacher should receive a teaching certificate
from the sponsoring institution (i.e. supplemental school, day school[7],
college or central agency of Jewish education) indicating that this teacher
candidate has meet the requirements to teach specific courses at a
supplemental school while attending college.

Stage Four: The beginning teacher stage: The college student is now
serving as a moreh or morah at a local supplemental school. Ideally he or she
is being coached by a mentor teacher during this critical novice teaching

Stage Five: The madrich teacher stage: A skilled and seasoned moreh
or morah with at least three years of superior performance evaluations is
additionally compensated to invite and train the madrich to learn to assist the
teacher and serve as a student leader and role model in the classroom. Here
are some of the teaching responsibilities the madrich will learn to assume[8];

Administrative Responsibilities

• Setting up the classroom
• Taking attendance
• Collecting tzedakah
• Distributing supplies, books, and other materials
• Preparing snacks
• Correcting students' work
• Managing progress charts
• Preparing materials for upcoming activities
• Reorganizing the classroom at the end of the day
• Temporarily taking charge of the class if the teacher is indisposed
• Teaching a five minute mini-lesson to a small group or the entire class
• Participating in and leading portions of a prayer service

Interactive Responsibilities

• Greeting students as they enter the classroom
• Helping students with art projects
• Assisting students with class work
• Leading students in small-group activities
• Leading transitions between activities
• Reading stories to the class
• Tutoring students who need extra help
• Mentoring students who have difficulty focusing during class

Creative Responsibilities

• Creating bulletin boards
• Making samples for upcoming art projects
• Developing costumes, scenery, or puppets for class performances
• Editing student-centered newspapers
• Providing musical accompaniment to prayer services

Stage Six: The mentor teacher stage: A madrich teacher with at least
five years of superior teaching performance evaluations will be compensated
additionally to invite and train the student and co-teacher to learn the art and
science of being a Jewish educator. The mentor teacher should have received
training in the core knowledge base of Judaics and Judaic instruction. In
addition, the mentor teacher needs to acquire the knowledge base and
repertoire in mentoring pre-service and in-service teachers (i.e. interpersonal
communication, observational techniques, the clinical supervision, professional
reflection, the developmental stages of pre-service and in-service teachers,
adult learning principles, etc.[9]).

Stage Seven: The expert teacher stage: The expert teacher is a paid
professional who trains the moreh or morah to become a madrich teacher or
mentor teacher and coordinates a committee of madrich and mentor teachers
in the school. The expert teacher should have extensive experience as a
teacher, administrator and/or staff developer with expertise in Judaics, and
the theory, research and best practices in instruction, curriculum
development, supervision and staff development for Jewish educators.

Why should pre-service Jewish teacher training begin
after the bar and bat mitzvah period?

Renee Rubin Ross, Meredith Woocher, and Jon Woocher (2007)[10] remind us
that in many contemporary congregations, "the Bar/Bat Mitzvah has become
the point at which students end their participation in the school and the
synagogue, and often, Jewish life."

This seven stage career development ladder begins with post bar and bat-
mitzvah students for the following reasons. This ladder will

1. Provide post bar and bat mitzvah students with a new option to
continue participating in congregational and supplemental school programs.

2. Introduce teens to a career in Jewish education or Jewish communal
service while they are exploring their future career options.

3. Offer teenagers a new opportunity to remain affiliated with the Jewish

4. Provide post bar and bat mitzvah students with an opportunity to be
remunerated for being a madrich or madricha, a student teacher and a co-

5. Offer day schools another channel through which students can do
service learning and independent study.

6. Enhance the credentials of high school students who are applying for

Moreover, assuming a supplemental or day school and a university with a
Judaic Studies program have developed a collaborative relationship or
partnership, high school students who successfully complete a two-year
teaching internship program can earn college credit.

Implementation of the Seven Stage Career Development Ladder for Jewish
Teachers in Supplemental and Day Schools

There is no doubt that many of the elements of this seven stage model are all
ready in place in Jewish education. There are madrichim and mentoring
programs within Jewish communities throughout Klal Yisrael. In this paper I am
advocating systemic change in Jewish education from nursery school where
madrichim will work with pre-school students through graduate school where
Jewish educators will be trained to serve as madrich and mentor teachers.

The promise of this seven stage ladder is that it creates a new track to
recruit, develop and retain Jewish educators for the 21st century. Heretofore,
there was no Jewish educational ladder from madrichim to expert teachers and
beyond. The Jewish educator career ladder that is proposed allows for a
hierarchy of differentiated staffing. Each position on the ladder requires a
distinct knowledge base and set of professional practices. As one climbs this
new educational ladder, the knowledge base and repertoire of skills expand
and the remuneration is increased accordingly.

Paul A. Flexner and Sandra O. Gold (2003)6describe the current career ladder
in Jewish education this way:

As a career ladder, Jewish education tends to be relatively “flat,” with many
individuals serving in roles (often part time) near the bottom as teachers,
youth workers, and camp counselors, with a small cadre of people directing
institutions and programs but with relatively few opportunities for continuous,
systematic growth through mid-level positions with gradually increasing
responsibilities. The result is that too many educators face discouraging
options: leave the field, stagnate in one’s position, or rise to a top-level
position without adequate preparation and with a commensurately greater
chance of frustration or failure.

Flexner and Gold (2003)[11] further explain that Jewish people demand and
expect excellence in their formal and informal educational institutions, but that
level of quality must be rewarded. They write:

It is not sufficient to speak well of educators and to insist that they be of the
highest quality; we must also provide them with the tools and the rewards
that are associated with excellence. Respect for educators means recognizing
their need …to have access to the resources, guidance, and ongoing learning
they require in order to perform at their best, to be compensated fairly, and to
be treated with dignity.

Thus for the seven-stage career development ladder to become a reality, it
would require the major stakeholders within each Jewish community, (i.e. the
supplemental and day schools, the central agency of Jewish education, the
federation or associated agency, colleges or universities which have a Judaic
Studies program, the rabbinical and lay leaders) to work together and fund
this vision.


[1] Flexner, Paul A. & Gold, Sandra O. (2003). Providing for the Jewish future:
Report on the task force on professional recruitment, development, retention,
and placement. NY: Jewish Education Service of North America.
[2] Flexner, Paul A. & Gold, Sandra O. (2003). Providing for the Jewish future:
Report on the task force on professional recruitment, development, retention,
and placement. NY: Jewish Education Service of North America.
[3]See Solomon, R.D., Solomon, E. C. & Bor, H. (Fall, 2007) From Madrichim to
Expert Educators: New Career Ladder for Professional Development for
Supplementary and Day School Teachers. The Jewish News, Vol. 28 (3).
[4] Congregational, supplemental and day schools will want to add to this
body of basic Jewish knowledge
[5] Congregational, supplemental and day schools will want to add to this list
of pedagogical topics.
[6] This introductory course on Judaics and Judaic pedagogy could also be
taken by undergraduate Jewish Studies majors at a college or university or
online. For example, The Jewish Community High School of Gratz College,
Melrose Park, Pennsylvania offers eighteen credits of coursework leading to a
teaching certificate for 11th and 12 grade students and others interested in
pursuing a career in Jewish education. For more information on this program
see this website: [www.gratz.edu]
[7] Select 11th and 12th graders in Jewish day schools can complete the
course work and be trained by mentor teachers at their school or at a
supplemental school. This initiative can be folded within the student service
learning and independent study programs all ready in place at certain day
[8] The lists of administrative, interactive and creative responsibilities are
taken from, Howard, Lisa Bob (2006), The madrichim manual: Six steps to
becoming a Jewish role model, Springfield, NJ: Behrman House, Inc., 8-11.
[9] Congregational, supplemental and day schools will want to add to this list
of mentoring competencies.
[10] Renee Rubin Ross, Meredith Woocher, and Jon Woocher (May, 2007).
Redesigning Jewish education for the 21st century: A Lippman Kanfer Institute
Working Paper. NY: JESNA.
[11] Flexner, Paul A. & Gold, Sandra O. (2003). Providing for the Jewish
future: Report on the task force on professional recruitment, development,
retention, and placement. NY: Jewish Education Service of North America.
Subject Author Posted

A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for Supplemental and Day School Teachers

Richard D. Solomon January 06, 2008 10:09PM

Re: A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for Supplemental and Day School Teachers

Rachel Kosowsky January 06, 2008 10:17PM

Re: A New Career Development Ladder for Professional Development for Supplemental and Day School Teachers

Shmuel Strauss January 06, 2008 10:17PM


Your Email:


Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically. If the code is hard to read, then just try to guess it right. If you enter the wrong code, a new image is created and you get another chance to enter it right.
This is a moderated forum. Your message will remain hidden until it has been approved by a moderator or administrator