The Associated Talmud Torahs is proud to announce the completion of its eleventh year of E.P.I.C. Encouraging Professionalism in Chinuch. E.P.I.C. is an innovative, teacher-driven, professional development mentoring program that enables teachers to grow as educators. This program is a collaboration between the Associated Talmud Torahs, Association for Torah Advancement, and National Louis University.
The 5-month program takes place on the mentee’s school’s site. Akiba Schechter, Arie Crown Hebrew Day School, Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew School, Hillel Torah, Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov, Yeshiva Ohr Boruch, Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi, Bais Yaakov High School, Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Lubavitch Girls High School, and Yeshivas Meor HaTorah have all participated in the program. The individual participant selects his or her own professional goals for the duration of the program. National Louis University provides mentors to meet with principals and teachers before the program commences. The mentors observe the participants bi-weekly during instructional time. Prior to each classroom visit, the mentor and mentee meet to discuss the upcoming lesson. After the lesson, a post-observation conference occurs to review the mentor’s observations and the mentee’s reflections about the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson, and to discuss possible alternative strategies to consider utilizing in the future.
Principals had the following to say about the program:
“We are grateful to the ATT for providing valuable opportunities to all school employees to grow and develop within their career paths.
“In your involvement in the EPIC program, the growth that you displayed has been evident to our entire faculty.”
Teachers had the following to say about the program:
“This personal approach also allowed my mentor to really get to know my students and my classroom, which helped her to help me in making changes necessary for the environment where I taught, and not a general methodology for all Jewish day schools.”
I encourage teachers to participate in EPIC because all seasoned teachers can get in a “rut” and having the opportunity to have an independent, personal mentor will allow them to see themselves and their students through a new lens, which might invigorate them in a new way in the classroom.”
“…I have bragged about our lesson planning and execution of lessons to not only people in the Epic Program but colleagues in other professional areas. Your lessons were fluid and flawless.”
“I want to let you know how delighted I was to work with you as a mentor for the Epic Program.”
The goal of E.P.I.C. is to raise the bar and expectations for principals and teachers by providing both with the tools to meet the ongoing challenges of preparing the leaders of tomorrow. The strength of E.P.I.C. stems from ongoing supervision and personal reflections which are the cornerstones of the program. E.P.I.C. provides another set of eyes for problem-solving and gives positive feedback to the participants.
The Associated Talmud Torahs (ATT) of Chicago serves the greater Chicagoland Jewish community as its Central Agency for Religious Education. Created in 1929, the ATT has provided a quality Jewish education to its Jewish youth through various educational opportunities. Currently, the ATT has an enrollment of 3,700 students in its schools and an additional 120 in its summer programs. The E.P.I.C. program is part of the ATT’s Barbakoff Department of Teacher Education and Development.
Pictured from Left to Right: Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel Quinn and Rabbi Avrohom Landsman (Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi), Dr. Jeffrey Winter (National Louis University), Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller,(Superintendent of ATT), Mrs. Neshama Karsh (Arie Crown Hebrew Day School)), Mrs. Stephanie Schreiber (Cheder Lubavitch), Mrs. Devora Tabachnik (Lubavitch Girls High School)