Connecting at the School Twinning Network North American Meeting

Amihai Bannett (standing) with  Tzvi Pittinsky and Shira Leibowitz

Amihai Bannett (standing) with Tzvi Pittinsky and Shira Leibowitz

Last month’s Partnership2Gether Global School Twinning Network – North American Meeting generated a great deal of interest and follow up activities amongst participants.

You are invited to read blog posts by conference presenters:

Following are reflections from Phyllis H. Miller, Partnership2Gether Education Task Force Coordinator, Nahariya – Northern New Jersey Partnership:

Dear All,

The Partnership2Gether Global School Twinning Network – North American Meeting held in Newark, NJ was its first ever conference held in the U.S. and right in our own ‘backyard!’ Nearly 20 of our very own partnership teachers and principals were in attendance among partners from Israel, Montreal, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Cincinnati, etc. It was exciting to meet educators from many different areas who are doing what we are doing – people to people connections!!! Also in attendance from our area were 5 teachers who will be participating in this summer’s Israel Teachable Moments Summer Seminar. For these 5 teachers, this was a very exciting day. Everything was new to them and they also had the opportunity to meet teachers from our area who have been twinning for several years in addition to learning about other twinning models in other cities.

Some of our very own educators were presenters at the conference: Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky of Frisch High School did a presentation on “using technology to create a vibrant school twinning program.” Both Mashie Kopelowitz of Solomon Schechter Day School in Bergen County and Rabbi Steven Penn of Yavneh Academy presented at the “Twinning Cafe – Round Table Discussions and Peer Learning,” discussing programs for elementary and high schools in day school settings.

We all had the opportunity to hear from Andrea Arbel, Director of the Partnership2Gether Unit of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). There was an exciting workshop led by Reuven Greenvald, Director of Strategic Outreach North America, JAFI. His workshop focused on “Developing School Twinnning Standards and Benchmarks.”

So far, a draft of educational standards and student outcomes for North American participants has been drawn up for twinning projects, but, the document should be ready soon. This format will give teachers and coordinators of the Partnership a better handle on projects and the knowledge that projects will be more content oriented with the focus on determining “what students should know, come to believe, come to do and be able to do.” This is a very exciting time for us to be able to take our projects up a few notches!

In addition, we had the opportunity to hear remarks from Misha Galpern, CEO of the Jewish Agency International Development (JAID). His remarks focused on Peoplehood and the importance of it to all of us. We had an exercise in which many in the audience shared their own personal “peoplehood moment.”

The round table discussions were very fruitful in assessing the needs and concerns of different types of schools – Congregational and Day/Elementary and High School age groups.

This was a very positive experience for all and NNJ was proud to have the opportunity to participate in this excellent conference!

All the best

Phyllis H. Miller
Partnership2Gether Education Task Force Coordinator
Nahariya – Northern New Jersey Partnership

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