Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Teachers Institute now affordable


Dr. Norman Wall

One of the best and most affordable teacher trainings in the state is the Teachers Institute on Holocaust Studies, presented annually by the Holocaust Center in Maitland. This professional learning opportunity, now in its 20th year, offers area educators the information, tools and resources they need to effectively teach this very difficult subject.

Although the $100 tuition charged is much lower than most seminars of its kind, the Center has long recognized that it still might be unaffordable for some teachers.

Executive Director Pam Kancher said there is a special concern for teachers working in the most underfunded schools.

"We know that teachers, particularly those working with low-income neighborhoods, spend out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms with the very basic needs," she said. " We're always looking for ways to help them level the playing field a bit."

Help for those teachers now comes from the estate of Dr. Norman Wall. A prominent cardiologist who passed away last year at age 99, Dr. Wall left a bequest to expand the Center's educational opportunities for teachers.

This year, three teachers are able to participate at reduced rates because of the generosity of the Wall family. Applying for the scholarship, one teacher wrote that she wanted to attend because "this current generation has become so desensitized by the media, video games, and reality TV that they have no real idea what happened during the Holocaust."

Another teacher expressed gratitude for the chance to attend at reduced cost. Like many teachers with young families, there wasn't much money in the family budget. While some schools cover the cost for their employees (West Orange is sending three teachers this year) other schools simply don't have the resources. "Our school is a Title I facility with 100 percent of our student body receiving free breakfast and lunch," he wrote. "The money just isn't available."

A middle school teacher said, "My curriculum next year includes a unit on 'Night' and 'I Never Saw Another Butterfly.' Because I have never taught either, I am apprehensive and would like to make it a truly engaging experience for them. "

The Institute, which runs from June 22 through June 26, offers 40 hours of in-service credits for participants. In addition to helping teachers comply with Florida's Holocaust Education mandate, it offers them a chance to talk about how the lessons of the Holocaust are as real and important today as they have ever been.

More information about the Institute is available on the Holocaust Center's website, http://www.holocaustedu.org, or by calling 407-628-0555.


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