CIJE Awarded Jewish United Fund Breakthrough Fund Grant – Chicago

Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) Awarded Jewish United Fund Breakthrough Fund Grant

JUF awards more than $1.1 million to encourage smart growth and innovation

Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) is a proud recipient of a JUF Breakthrough Fund grant for the launch of CIJE Tech programs in Chicago Jewish Day High Schools.

The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) strengthens and enriches education in more than 210 Jewish schools in the U.S. across the denominational spectrum. CIJE is preparing the next generation by cultivating innovation, critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills vital for 21st century careers. CIJE currently provides funding for programs at schools nationwide, including advanced technology hardware and software, engaging curricula, teacher training, and vital teacher support in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. CIJE implements innovative programs, including the CIJE-Tech High School (HS) Engineering Program, CIJE-Tech Middle School STEM programs, and teacher professional development programs in cutting edge areas.

The CIJE-Tech HS program will enable students in Chicago Jewish day high schools to acquire the STEM knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers, while enhancing Jewish high school education as an educational option for students and parents. Participating schools are, Fasman Yeshiva High School, Hannah Sacks Bais Yaakov, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Lubavitch Girls High School and Rochelle Zell Jewish High School.

The CIJE-Tech HS program is an innovative engineering-based program which will provide on-site continued professional development for teachers; mentor more than 100 participating students; network teachers with colleagues around the country, and organize a culminating Capstone event showcasing student projects. The program provides proprietary curriculum, engineering materials, laptops for each of the student groups as well as grants for each student group towards their projects. Teachers already participated in the June CIJE National Professional Training Development Conference in Los Angeles and will attend again in June 2018, to be paid for by CIJE.

CIJE as an organization, and most specifically, its innovative and proprietary, classroom-tested CIJE Tech HS curriculum, represent proven opportunities for progress in Jewish day school STEM education. As educational change agents, CIJE has pioneered an approach that combines pre-service training of educators, strong on-site guidance and support, and networking of those trained through blogs and seminars. CIJE unique business model leverages the cost of STEM experts that often lie outside the reach of schools across the schools making if affordable.

Dr. Jane Willoughby, CIJE Vice President and Director of Education, Program Research and Development, is the director of the program. Dr. Willoughby stated, “We are so excited to be a recipient of this prestigious grant and to work with the JUF. It will allow us to provide a cutting-edge technology and engineering curriculum while ensuring that the schools get the ongoing support and materials they need. Dr. Willoughby added, “we also are very thankful of the role that ATT had in working with us to develop early relationships with the schools, this was instrumental to the success we had with the grant.”

For the fourth straight year, JUF’s Breakthrough Fund is funding leading-edge local programs and initiatives that meet local human needs, engage Chicagoans Jewishly, and strengthen Jewish communities in Israel.

This summer, a total of $1.12 million will be awarded to programs that focus on a range of themes, including erasing barriers to employment and economic achievement for historically under-employed Israelis; providing opportunities for the Jewish LGBTQ community, teens and young couples to connect with Israel; using technology to improve mental health; creating non-traditional communities of Jewish learning, and more.

Some $863,000 will fund 13 new initiatives, with awards ranging from one-year grants of $10,000 to multi-year grants totaling $100,000; an additional $256,000 will support five programs in their second year of multi-year grants awarded in 2016.

Encouraging smart growth and innovation in the Jewish nonprofit sector are the goals of the Breakthrough Fund, which launched in Fall 2013 and has awarded a total of more than $4.4 million in grants to more than 70 local and Israeli initiatives.

“This year’s Breakthrough Fund grantees are truly on the cutting edge,” said Steve Miller, chairman of the Breakthrough Fund review committee. “We are funding programs with groundbreaking technology, innovative approaches to mental health, opportunities for learning and engagement in our Jewish community and in Israel — it’s awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”