From Boot Camp to Bon Jour: Everyone Learns At Berman

Many of our faculty took advantage of the summer block of time to continue learning, growing their professional capacity to better service our students.

Not ones to shy away from a challenge, Aaron Branda and Rabbi Myers attended Assessment Boot Camp, discovering new methods for assessing students throughout the learning process.  Mr. Branda also took an online MOOC course covering literacy skills in social studies classrooms.

New second grade teacher, Tamar Volosov, prepared for her new responsibilities by pursuing her Masters in education and taking courses in integrating the arts and technology into the classroom.  Mrs. Volosov also participated in Singapore math training this summer. 

Victoria Plaza attended an AP Language and Composition workshop led by Renee Shea, a leading AP exam course, test, and textbook developer.  Although surprised by the increasing importance of visual texts, especially documentary film, in AP Language course curricula, Ms. Plaza looks forward to incorporating them into her AP curriculum.  “Working with teachers from a wide range of schools--both public and private--taught me new strategies to help today's students enter conversations about language and the art of rhetoric that have been going on for hundreds of years!”

Rabbi Jeff Frances spent time at the Olney Yarchei Kallah contemplating how to improve the greater community by involving ourselves in civic causes and activities and by observing and promoting the observance of civil laws (Dina d'malchuta). He is considering more methods of promoting our core value of achrayut.

A couple of our faculty took advantage of the Pardes Institute’s Summer Educator’s Workshop run by Berman alumna Aviva (Lauer) Golbert ’90. Rabbis Uri Topolosky and  Eitan Gavson attended a summer curriculum workshop focusing specifically on creating a curriculum based on the Understanding by Design (UbD) methodology. The conference further provided venues for its participants to review their past year, highlighting and reinforcing areas of success, and pointing toward research- and experience-based tools for improvement in all aspects of Jewish day school instruction.  Mrs. Rachel Kossowsky was present to participate in a Tefillah workshop.
Further continuing his studies, Rabbi Gavson also attended an Advanced Biblical Hebrew Grammar class in Jerusalem taught through the related languages of Ugaritic, Akkadian, Southern Arabic, and Aramaic. He writes, [I have learned] “the truest way to receive the מסורה, Masorah, is through a precise and intimate knowledge of our received texts (תנ''ך וספרי חז''ל)through the original language in which they were written. To understand our fathers' and mothers' language is to understand our tradition, our heritage, and our purpose.”

Rabbi Gavson wasn’t the only faculty member in Israel this summer.  Emily Friedman spent the month of July at the Haifa University summer ulpan.  Speaking of Hebrew language, Rene Isser and Berman is hosting a NETA regional conference on August 30 & 31.  We have teachers coming from  MD, VA, PA, NJ, Dallas, Cleveland and Las Vegas and NY. We are also meeting on Aug 28 searching for a new way of teaching the advanced booklets which doesn't involve stepping through the booklets.

While Hebrew was on many minds, Ruby Snyder took her considerable talents to France to brush up on her French language skills. Ms. Snyder put herself back in the throws of the student experience. “I forgot to do my homework, was shushed for talking to my neighbor, and made incredible friends. I learned not to fear making mistakes, as I made them often while speaking French all day every day!”

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