Our Stories

An ElevatEd Visit to the Bay Area

By Ellen Lefkowitz, Jewish LearningWorks Senior Educator

Seven of our East Bay Jewish early childhood centers are participating in an exciting new venture called ElevatEd to support the recruitment, training, and retention of educators new to the field. We were fortunate to have the executive director, Orna Siegel, and the Director of Education and Engagment, Sasha Kopp visiting our community this past week. This visit was an opportunity for them to get to know the schools and meet the directors, educators and mentors participating in the programs. We heard, overwhelmingly, how much this program is inspiring new approaches to teaching and helping mentors develop their skills to engaged in reflective conversations with their mentees.

On the tours of the schools, directors shared with us the intentional and beautiful spaces of their schools. They talked about the ways in which their schools are thriving and the challenges of being understaffed, shifting enrollment patterns with the growth of transitional kindergarten, and finding spaces for children of Israeli families who have come in the last days and weeks because of the war in Israel.

In addition to visiting the schools, there were meetings with our community partners to share the story of ElevatEd and how we can continue the work around recruitment and retention once this 18-month program ends and ElevatEd moves on to nine new communities across the country.

The visit shined a light on a small segment of our amazing Jewish early childhood community and demonstrated how our schools are offering deep learning for children, meaningful engagement for families, and the value we place on the professional growth of our community of educators.

More About ElevatED

ElevatED is a partnership of the Union for Reform Judaism, the JCC Association of North America, and The Jewish Federations of North America. The goal of this national effort is to uplift the profession of early childhood educators by increasing the number of qualified educators in communities.

For more information, please contact Ellen Lefkowitz at ellen@jewishlearning.works.