JNTP Administrator Coaching: Strength in Numbers at Berman Hebrew Academy
Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, MD has partnered with JNTP since 2009, when the school first enrolled participants in JNTP’s teacher induction program. To date, the school has trained 10 mentors who have supported 14 new teachers with weekly one-on-one mentoring and classroom observation. As Head of School Dr. Joshua Levisohn shares, “[JNTP] has been a very positive boon to both the mentors and the mentees and has helped establish a [school] culture which takes for granted that we will provide significant mentoring for new teachers.”
Three years ago, in partnership with the Macks Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore, JNTP began offering an Administrator Coaching program for a cohort of early career administrators in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas and Berman Hebrew Academy enrolled four of its administrators. Dr. Levisohn previously had committed to a relatively new cadre of principals that not only would he mentor them, but he also would invest in their growth and development.
Dr. Levisohn states: “It should go without saying that everyone needs to continuously grow in their position, most especially principals who are relatively new to their job. There is so much to learn from having set protocols, from bringing different perspectives to bear, from understanding aspects of principalship that may have not been known before.” JNTP’s Administrator Coaching cohort provided both learning sessions and one-on-one coaching by JNTP Senior Program Director, Fayge Safran, herself a former day school administrator. Through the program, administrators were walked through difficult conversations in advance; forced to consider issues from multiple perspectives; helped to set realistic and important goals; and guided to stay focused on the most important items.
“Because the coaching has helped the principals view matters from multiple perspectives,” says Dr. Levisohn, “it has trickled down to the teachers in the sense that they feel heard more, that there are few conflicts between the teachers and the principals, and the principals have been able to give feedback to the teachers in a way that helps them grow.”
Batsheva Atlas, Middle School Dean of Students, was one of the four Berman Hebrew Academy administrators in the JNTP Administrator Coaching cohort. The experience was transformative. She shares, “I have been part of many professional development courses and initiatives during my years as a Jewish educator. However, my experience with this JNTP cohort has had the most significant, direct impact on my effectiveness in school. Each of the components of this program — the individual coaching with Fayge, the day long workshops, as well as the ability to consult with peers in a safe environment — has contributed to my increased confidence and enlarged my ‘box of tools.’ The practical ideas and new solutions that I learned and then implemented have made a difference to the students and teachers in my school.”
Having multiple administrators in the same school has had exponential impact. The administrators benefitted from going to the program together and being able to share notes, impressions, supervision protocols and common language. As Dr. Levisohn concludes, “Just as JNTP supported them, they have continued to support each other.”
JNTP is now guiding a second two-year cohort of early career principals in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area, as well as conducting one-on-one coaching in New York and New Jersey. Next year, JNTP is piloting a remote coaching option for schools outside the New York area. To find out more, contact Fayge Safran at firstname.lastname@example.org.