The Avi Chai Foundation
mentors' knowledge project
The AVI CHAI Foundation brought the Jewish New Teacher Project (JNTP) to Jewish day schools to attend to the high turnover of, and perceived lack of support for, new teachers in those schools. Their hope was to offer new Jewish day school teachers - particularly in Judaic studies - mentoring support that would facilitate their acclimation to the demands of the job and thereby increase the likelihood that they would remain in the field. In 2006, the Foundation engaged RCLA to launch a collaborative project with JNTP mentors to document what they were learning from their training and practice with JNTP.
The premise of the inquiry was that the mentors were developing a unique perspective that could be of benefit to their schools and the field as a whole. Using an appreciative approach, RCLA Executive Director Bethany Godsoe conducted a narrative inquiry with the mentors to collect stories from their experience that shed light on the following question: As a veteran teacher and mentor, what am I learning that could help my school overall?
Findings were captured in the 2007 report, Experience Speaks: The Impact of Mentoring in the Classroom and Beyond. The project has since conducted two convenings with Jewish day school administrators and mentors to further advance the learning and discuss ways to apply the mentors' knowledge in overall school management.
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