Gratz Fellows begin professional development

This fall, under the leadership of Director Janet Harris, the Federation’s Early Childhood Education Initiative (ECEI) took a significant step toward improving early childhood education in the Bay Area. Twelve teachers, most in their 20’s and 30’s, began a two-year online program to receive their Certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education through a partnership formed by ECEI and Gratz College in Philadelphia. The program began on October 18 and 19 when the new Gratz Fellows participated in a retreat at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma to build relationships among themselves and the teaching staff to enhance their online learning experience. One participant expressed her doubts before the retreat, asking what could possibly be accomplished in 24 hours? Her response at the end of the retreat . . . "Magic!"

Gratz Fellows participated in a retreat to enhance their online learning experience.

Gratz Fellows participated in a weekend retreat aimed at enhancing their online learning experience.

This certification program is the first step toward supporting professional development for our Early Childhood Jewish educators, one of four key focus areas of ECEI. “Educating young children and their families is the beginning of a link that will connect them to their past and future,” says Harris. “We, as a community, have to work together and own the problem so the youngest children get the best education possible.” To reach that goal as a community, ECEI was created by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties in partnership with the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley. Scholarships for the certificate program were generously funded by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund; retreats and a community of practice meetings take place thanks to funding from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. The Bureau of Jewish Education partners the project.

For more information contact Jasmine at or 415.499.1223 x8105.

Categories: Community


October 21, 2009


The Federation