DSLTI fellows have been selected to learn in a community of committed colleagues and outstanding heads of school from across North America. To take advantage of DSLTI's unique opportunities, fellows have agreed to find time in their busy work and personal lives to engage fully in the program, including:
1. Full Participation in Both Summer Sessions and During Retreats
DSLTI sessions are active laboratories in which fellows take part in group exercises of all types: case studies, simulations, and role playing. Each fellow and each mentor brings the classes alive by constructing individual learning in the context of group collaboration. The sessions aim to be models of the kind of professional development opportunities that fellows will be able to encourage in their own schools.
2. Commitment to Mentoring
The objective of the mentoring relationship is ongoing contact and support between fellow and mentor during both summers and the intervening year. During the summer sessions, a private weekly meeting will take place. During the intervening year, it is incumbent upon the fellow to initiate contact with the mentor twice a month via email and/or phone.
3. 360-Degree Evaluations
Dr. Jeffrey Kress, associate professor and area coordinator of Jewish Education, and academic director of the Experiential Learning Initiative at The Davidson School, will be using a psychometric assessment test to identify areas of strength and areas of challenge for each participant. Each fellow will be asked to complete a questionnaire and have one superior, three peers, and three direct reports complete the same form. Each participant will receive written feedback and schedule two appointments with Dr. Kress to review the data and receive follow-up suggestions. The fellow will then share the results of the evaluation or write a summary that he or she feels comfortable sharing with the mentor. The results of the 360-Degree Evaluation will provide a developmental path for each fellow's leadership growth and will become a central theme of the mentoring he or she receives.
4. Leadership Development Plan
Each fellow will create a Leadership Development Plan based on the 360-Degree Evaluation and the Vision of a DSLTI Graduate. After gathering and interpreting the data about his or her leadership performance, the fellow, in conjunction with his or her mentor, chooses a few specific, measurable goals and creates a plan that will be implemented in his or her school.
5. Book Club
Delving deeper into the professional literature of Jewish study, education, and leadership is a key part of DSLTI. Fellows and mentors continuously share with each other readings from the professional and popular press, research journals and books, and traditional texts of Judaism. During the first summer, fellows are expected to read a book connected to each of the weekly summer themes. A book list will be compiled for each theme, and fellows will have a choice of the book they wish to read. A session at the end of each week will be set aside to discuss these readings.
6. Reflective Leadership Journal
Reflective writing is one of the educational methods heavily employed at DSLTI. Fellows are expected to keep a journal of their ongoing reflections. These journals will be shared with the mentors through Google Drive. A session at the end of each week will be set aside to share weekly reflections.
7. Mentor School Visit
During the intervening year between the two summer sessions, fellows are expected to visit the schools of their mentors. During this visit, they will have the opportunity to see a well-functioning school, shadow the head, meet with the leadership team, and attend a board meeting.
Jeffrey S. Kress
Jeffrey S. Kress is associate professor and academic director of the Experiential Learning Initiative at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary. His interests include developmental issues in Jewish education; program implementation; and the varied social, emotional, and spiritual elements of Jewish educational contexts. He is the author of Development, Learning, and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools (Academic Studies Press, 2012). In addition, he is the editor of Growing Jewish Minds, Growing Jewish Hearts: Promoting Spiritual, Social, and Emotional Growth in Jewish Education, published by URJ Press in 2012. Dr. Kress is the coauthor, together with Drs. Bernard Novick and Maurice Elias, of Building Learning Communities with Character: How to Integrate Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002). He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Kress has also served as the chair of the Network for Research in Jewish Education.
Prior to coming to JTS, Dr. Kress worked as a program-development specialist and school-based trainer for the Social Decision Making / Social Problem Solving Program at the Community Mental Health Center at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He completed an internship in Clinical/Community Psychology there after receiving his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University.