The Covenant Grants

The Chicago Teachers Project: A Laboratory for Jewish Early Childhood Education

Organization: Community Foundation for Jewish Education, Chicago, IL

Grant Year: 2016

Project Director: Anna Hartman

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $166,300 (3 years)


Covenant Classroom
Early Childhood Education
Professional Development

To launch a teaching laboratory that will attract and serve as the innovative training ground for a new generation of teachers in Jewish early childhood education.

Fellows in this two-year program will assume full-time co-teaching positions in six local high-quality Jewish early childhood centers. During each of the program’s two years, the Fellows will also learn and reflect together in a retreat, a summer intensive, monthly seminars, biweekly meetings with the cohort, and biweekly visits by the mentor teacher.  The intention of the initiative is to leverage the quality of key Chicago-area schools to ensure a positive growth experience for the Fellows. 

Beyond the fellows, other educators in the system will directly benefit from this initiative:

  • Mentor teachers, who will be accepted into a prestigious cohort, convened for leadership development, and compensated with an annual stipend.
  • Co-teachers, who will be given the opportunity for professional development, including a dedicated budget for their own professional learning.
  • School directors, who will convene for high-level leadership development around supervision and mentoring. Directors will select co-teachers and place Fellows.

Through this grant, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education aims to recruit talented individuals to the field, develop a sustainable workforce for these schools, retain effective veteran teachers, catalyze school improvement, strengthen the brand of Jewish early childhood education by improving quality, increase enrollment in Jewish early childhood schools, and deepen the impact of these schools on families.