From Hannah Bloom Hirschberg, the Chicago Project Coordinator
Chicago’s Cohort 2 has moved into the work of JECELI with great enthusiasm and curiosity.
The process of matching fellows with mentors is one which we take very seriously. The JECELI staff members work as a team to not only assess which mentor might best support the individual fellow but also how to build mentor groups of colleagues. Many of these groups have stayed in touch after the end of the formal JECELI program and continue to support each other. With this in mind, we finalized the mentor/mentee matches at the end of February and the mentors were eager to get in touch with their fellows and begin working together.
Since then work has begun in earnest. Many fellows have already met with their mentors. Even when a face-to-face meeting isn’t yet possible (remember – this time period also contains Purim AND Pesach!) mentors are having meaningful phone conversations and are helping fellows find resources to support their learning. In turn, the fellows are introducing the mentors to their school contexts and are discussing questions or interests which might grow into Leadership Projects. All of the fellows will have met with their mentors by the April Seminar.
Fellows are also using the JECELI Domains of Learning and Areas of Inquiry to further focus an interest which a fellow may have had coming into the program. This process will eventually lead to the development of a research question which will guide each fellow’s project work. Our fellows are currently exploring a wide variety of interests – ranging from gender identity in the classroom to welcoming new staff.
The JECELI staff members continue to meet to discuss plans for the April seminar. Because one of the JECELI core principles is ‘responsiveness’ our plans for our time together develop and deepen as the group evolves. As the mentors and fellows learn more about each other, we will use this knowledge to fine tune the April seminar in order to make our time together relevant and thought-provoking. We look forward to posting more about the April Seminar soon!