CTD Partners with Jewish Day Schools 

CTD Partners with Jewish Day Schools 

MicroscopeNorthwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) was awarded a $240,000 grant from the Crown Family Philanthropies to strengthen STEM education programming and teaching at Chicago-area Jewish day schools. 

The funding will help CTD review participating Chicagoland Jewish day schools’ current offerings for high ability students, make program recommendations, offer professional development to teachers, and facilitate in-school programming for students at four partner schools, beginning immediately with Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School in Skokie. It will also help offset costs for Jewish day school students taking Sunday CTD enrichment courses on Northwestern's Evanston campus. 

The collaboration grew from a successful pilot program that was spearheaded by J-STEM, a non-profit that provides supplemental STEM-education curriculum for Jewish elementary, middle, and high school students. In 2015, J-STEM’s founders, Michael and Jennifer Zukerman, approached CTD with the idea of creating a Sunday program to accommodate observant Jewish day school students who could not attend on Saturdays. 

“Once we started working with those schools to develop the Sunday program, they requested deeper partnerships with us, including program review and enrichment for a broad band of students,” said Rhoda Rosen, associate director at CTD. “While supporting the needs of high ability students, the Crown Philanthropies funding also will help us strengthen programming and teaching for all students.”  

The partnership with CTD also can help Jewish day schools tackle an ongoing challenge: Since the schools offer a dual curriculum -- including religious and cultural studies – there is often less time for secular studies, particularly in science, math, and technology.  

By offering a comprehensive approach – which includes evaluating current offerings, recommending added enrichment and advanced programming, and training teachers how to meet a wide range of needs in the classroom – schools could be better equipped to support student achievement in the STEM fields, Rosen said 

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 7/10/18