The North American Association of Community and Congregational Hebrew High Schools (NAACCHHS) held its seventh Annual Conference June 13-16, 2010 at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California. Twenty-five professionals, representing 24 Community Hebrew High Schools from throughout the United States, gathered together for cooperative professional learning under the theme: Embracing Key Constituencies to Strengthen our Schools. Sara Goldberg, attended the conference representing Boulder Hebrew High.
Participants learned and strategized about new ideas to enrich their schools, and to maximize all of their resources (human, financial and programmatic). Highlights of the conference included:
- An inspirational session with Rabbi Ed Feinstein about how to nurture and maintain welcoming communities.
- A review and discussion of responses to an on-line survey earlier this month from 250 students in NAACCHHS schools, and a videotape compilation of student responses to additional questions.
- An in-depth exploration of how NAACCHHS student responses compare with Youthologist Vanessa Van Petten’s knowledge of teens, and a sharing of “Do’s and Don’ts” to help make NAACCHHS schools the kinds of schools where today’s teens want to be.
- A web streamed presentation from Zappos’ Culture Evangelist, Donovan Roberson, regarding the development of Brand Ambassadors.
- A workshop on building meaningful and effective relationships with parents facilitated by Orly Jacobovits, Senior Organizer and Community Educator for Keshet.
- A discussion of ways to communicate the value of Hebrew High Schools, especially in the completion of college applications, led by Arun Ponnusamy, founder of Open Road Education.
- A workshop focusing on how to include meaningful prayer experiences in Hebrew High Schools and opportunity to sing with renowned musician Craig Taubman.
- A discussion of projects facilitated through the IJE (Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis University) Fellows Program, with consultants Professor Joseph Reimer and Dr. Shelly Dorph, specifically looking at fundraising strategies, as explored by six directors of NAACCHHS schools.
- A guided tour of the Skirball Cultural Center’s Jewish Visions and Values exhibit.
- “Speed Sharing” during which participants shared their strategies for engaging faculty, parents and teens.
- Peer facilitated sessions focused on marketing Hebrew High Schools, and on innovative and new curricula that have been proven successful.
Pluralistic Jewish teen education is more important now than ever before, as communities across the country struggle financially while trying to assure the next generation’s engagement with Judaism, the Jewish community, and Israel,” Evie Weinstein, NAACCHHS’ newly installed President commented. Reflecting on her personal connection to NAACCHHS, Weinstein noted that “My increased confidence and skills, and the networking and professional development opportunities to which I have had access through and because of NAACCHHS have been invaluable to me. I am forever grateful to the support given to NAACCHHS and to me from JESNA, the Legacy Heritage Fund, Limited, and Brandeis University’s IJE, and for their belief that educating Jewish teens should be supported and expanded in North America.”
NAACCHHS is the umbrella organization for the field of community-based supplementary Jewish secondary education. NAACCHHS creates, supports, exchanges and disseminates innovative programs, curricula, best practices and resources to enrich Jewish education in member schools, and provides professional development and networking opportunities for directors of member schools. For additional information about NAACCHHS, please contact Devorah Silverman, Director of NAACCHHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.