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The success of the 2016 Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz z”l Teacher Initiative Awards were written about in the Sun Sentinel. The full article is below, or click or the image for a downloadable pdf.
Teacher Awards helps South Florida Jewish Schools
The 2016 Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz z”l Teacher Initiative Award enhanced the educational experiences of students in Broward and Miami-Dade County Jewish schools throughout the 2016-17 academic year.
This award provides grants to outstanding teachers in Jewish day schools to stimulate new thinking and fund projects that positively impact student learning. It is funded by the Eleanor M. and Herbert D. Katz Foundation and administered throughout Broward by Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education and in Miami-Dade through the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education.
One of the honorees was Kamilah Chajin-Faraone, an engineering teacher at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie.
Chajin-Faraone describes this award as a game-changer for both her students, who are mostly in ninth and tenth grade, and the entire school this year. She used the funding she received from this grant to purchase 3D printers, saws, sanders, Dremel tools, a shop vac, organizational furniture, soldering guns, blow torches, and a soldering pen. She also purchased new processing boards, LED lights, stronger tires, heat shrink casing, movable Arduino cameras, and LED strings.
Chajin-Faraone said the tools allowed her students to not just learn about design, but also how to build. She also feels that they instilled in them a sense of responsibility.
“My students no longer feel like they are in a high school engineering class,” Chajin-Faraone said. “They feel like they are engineers. They explore, create and solve problems. This money helps create safe spaces where kids can learn beyond a textbook and take pride in how their work directly affects those around them.”
Chajin-Faraone also feels the tools benefited the school as a whole because the students used them to fix things including projectors, computers, stage lights and even a teacher’s fan.
“It helped not just our direct students because they obviously benefited from it, but it also helped a lot of our other students from the school because we had kids coming in with their own problems and it became kind of an open classroom because kids wanted to come in and 3D print or they wanted to find out the stuff we have done. It involved a lot of the kids who are not in my engineering class, which was really cool.”
Rabbi Arnold Samlan, executive director of Orloff CAJE, said it’s strongly important that the grants enhance programs such as this engineering one in Jewish schools.
“One of the selling points of any Jewish day school is that they can provide not only a quality Jewish education, but also a quality general education that is on par with any good public or private school, so having a program such an engineering program really makes the school more marketable for Jewish families and helps to ensure parents in the school that their kids will be able to enter a good college and continue their education.”
Another recipient of the award was Beatrice Popescu Mintzer from South Florida Jewish Academy, a special needs school for children in grades K-12 in Coconut Creek. The school used the funding to create a multi-sensory playground for students with special needs.
“I would say that all of our kids through middle school benefited from that room,” said Baila Gansburg, South Florida Jewish Academy’s director. “It’s really good because we have kids of all different learning abilities and sometimes just to have that break in that kind of room really helped them focus and get back into their work.”
Other local recipients of the award were Ilana Traub from Lehrman Community Day School and Tammy Goldring from the Hebrew Academy (RASG), both in Miami Beach, and Nancy Stone Penchev from Scheck Hillel Community School and Laura Rosenfeld from Hochberg Prepratory School, both in North Miami Beach.
Orloff CAJE is a non-profit organization that relies on the support of people like you. You can support Jewish education for adults, teens, children and seniors throughout Broward County year round.
5890 South Pine Island Road
Davie, Florida 33328
Main Number: (954) 660-2084
Fax: (954) 660-2071