The Kohelet Foundation is involved in supporting
Jewish day school in a variety of ways.

About

In determining whether to fund, support, or generate initiatives, we are guided by fundamental questions:

  1. Does the program invest in efficiency that results in cost savings/more money in the system?
  2. Does the program invest in collaborative, coordinated systems that promote access to quality education?
  3. Will the program cause more students to enter the system - will more seats be filled?
  4. Is the program replicable, such that it can serve as a model in other communities?

In addition to the guiding principles above, the Kohelet Foundation also focuses on the creation and support of replicable programs – innovative initiatives that can serve as models in other communities. In shaping the Jewish Day School Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia, all of its initiatives, and the Kohelet Fellowships Program, we have studied other current and past models, structuring our project with best practices guiding us.

We are happy to share our knowledge and expertise to assist you in creating similar programs.

If you would like information and guidance about replicating a Kohelet Foundation initiative, please contact us by filling out this form.

Kohelet Fellowships Program

This two-year Jewish learning experience focuses on parents of Jewish day school students, welcoming them to:

  • study Jewish texts, either in classes or one-on-one
  • participate in community learning events
  • explore the lessons and values with their families

Our “fellows” receive tuition breaks from their schools, funded by the Kohelet Foundation and its partners as a grant to each school.

Fellows discover Torah learning alongside other day school parents to generate a sense of communal responsibility, develop a deeper connection to their heritage and enhance their children’s educational journey. At the same time, the program addresses the financial commitment of Jewish day school, which can be challenging for many families.

We partner with two outstanding educational providers to power the fellowship – the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future.

The Jewish Day School Collaborative
of Greater Philadelphia

The Kohelet Foundation and the Jewish schools in Greater Philadelphia are working together as a team to maximize the impact of current and new resources to the day school community in the form of joint academic and non-academic programs and funding.

We hope this collaboration will cultivate a new paradigm in Jewish schools, which treats school governance as a business model, and will result in the creation of a “Jewish School District”.

The Collaborative seeks to create transformational change in the Jewish Day School System of Greater Philadelphia and to serve as a model for change on a national level.

The Collaborative schools are:

Our initiatives focus on 4 main areas — Educational Programming, Financial Efficiency, Professional Development, and Specialist Services:

Core Excellence Educational Programming: 


All Access

The All Access program provides an alternative high school experience for students with profound learning differences, within Kosloff Torah Academy and Kohelet Yeshiva High School. The program allows students whose learning needs would make it difficult or impossible for them to succeed in the regular dual curriculum, to participate fully in school life. The program uses a combination of on-line general education courses, on-line Hebrew classes, and an educator to monitor and support the learning, who is shared by both schools. Students are included in main-stream Judaic studies classes when possible, and participate fully in all non-academic areas of school life including davening, extracurricular activities, and student clubs and teams.

Bnot Sherut

B’not Sherut Le’umi complete their National Service for the State of Israel by teaching in our area schools. These young women work in collaboration between the schools to enhance the Judaic and Hebrew studies as well as connections to Israel. Nine b’not sherut service our area schools in the 2012-2013 year.

SmartSchool

The SmartSchool education model is an interactive academic program that incorporates iPad technologies to enhance the methods through which students can access, integrate and interact with information throughout their education. The educational applications the iPad offers will help bring lesson plans to life with its unlimited creative opportunities. The SmartSchool program was created in partnership with Apple and OmniComp. Learn More

Gemara Berurah

Talmud study plays a significant role in the Judaic Studies component of Jewish day schools. In order to make this critical but complex area of studies more accessible, seven of our schools decided to promote a skills-driven teaching approach.

With this in mind, they approached Gemara Berurah – an Israel-based, computer-assisted and skills-driven methodology used by over 40 schools nationwide – to implement a community-wide initiative funded by the Kohelet Foundation.

Implementation began in 2011 – and early indicators show that students and teachers are both more focused on skills acquisition, while enjoying compelling visual representations of Talmudic discussions, from user-friendly flowcharts to tables to color-coded formatted texts. Future plans include developing individual school curricular frameworks and coordinating curricular expectations between lower and high schools.

Learn more

In the news

Math/Science by Mail

A project of the Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weitzmann Institute, Math/Science by Mail offers talented and curious children (grades 3-9) extra-curricular activities in recreational mathematics that develop their creative thinking and logic. The collaborative schools offer advanced students the opportunity to enhance their math and science learning, with the added bonus of connecting to experts in Israel.

Baseball

The Collaborative baseball league invites Jewish students of all backgrounds to learn and play baseball each spring and summer. Founded because most little leagues meet on Saturday, the league now engages 70 players, ages 6-12, in practice and competition in a fun atmosphere on Sunday mornings. Each student pays a nominal membership fee and designates which school it should benefit. The combined fees are donated to each Collaborative school’s athletic program.

Professional Development:

The Collaborative offers intensive professional development programs for all teachers region-wide.  Topics include: differentiated instruction, embedding best practices for occupational therapy in the classroom, and education and technology.  For 2012-13, the professional development program is based on the theme “Excellence in Leadership and Learning,” and consists of separate tracks for administrators and teachers.  The teachers’ workshops are sub-divided into three groups (K-2, 3-5, and 6-8), including round table discussions over lunch at which time master teachers from the Collaborative schools share best practices with their colleagues from throughout the region.    

Core Excellence Services:

The Collaborative offers student services that are typically found only in the nation’s best school districts.  For 2012-13, the services offered are Behavior Support and OT programs.  The Collaborative’s Behavior Specialists work with students in social skills groups, executive functioning groups, study skill groups, and one-on-one upon request.  The Behavior Specialists are also available to assist teachers with classroom management.  New to the Behavior Support program in 2012-13, is collaboration with the schools’ athletic directors on team- building activities and social skills exercises during gym.

The Occupational Therapy Program Director is developing an OT curriculum based on best practices in the field that will be embedded within the curriculum of our day schools’ classes.  The program also  assembles “OT corners” in select classrooms and provides consulting and professional development workshops.

[Link to newsletter]

Financial Efficiency:

Jewish Day School Grants

A limited number of tuition grants and scholarships were awarded to Jewish day school students, from Gan to 12th grade, for September 2012/Elul 5772. These awards ensured that more children realize the dream of an education rich in Jewish values and responsibility, where they achieve academically, while connecting to the world through a Jewish lens. Engaged, passionate and committed, they are tomorrow's leaders.

To learn more about tuition grants and scholarships for all grade levels http://www.jewishdayschoolgrants.org

Benchmarking

Under the direction of Yeshiva University’s Institute for University School Partnership, the collaborative schools have embarked on an extensive financial benchmarking program. The project aims to improve each school’s productivity and efficiency by comparing its budgeting and spending to the other schools in the immediate area. Nationally, Yeshiva University is now working on similar benchmarking projects with about 40 schools, and will have the ability to compare numbers more broadly as well. The Philadelphia area initiative is funded by the Avi Chai Foundation and the Kohelet Foundation.

In the news:
Jewish Week

Avi Chai

TIPSY - A Past Program

The Tuition Incentive Program for Subsidizing Yiddishkeit (TIPSY) initiative was intended to promote Jewish Day School attendance by improving the affordability, education quality, facilities, and governance of Jewish Day Schools. The TIPSY program focused on lower school, Gan through 5th grade.