Hebrew Academy Teachers Win Most Prestigious Prize in Jewish Education

Kohelet Prize Recipients: Meirav Kravetz, Maria Angie Lopez, and Javier Gonzalez
Kohelet Prize Recipients: Meirav Kravetz, Maria Angie Lopez, and Javier Gonzalez

Three Hebrew Academy teachers, Meirav Kravetz, Maria Angie Lopez, and Javier Gonzalez won the renowned Kohelet Prize for Interdisciplinary Integration. The Kohelet Prize is a $36,000 unrestricted cash prize that celebrates extraordinary accomplishment, stimulates breakthroughs and enriches the field of Jewish day school education by catalyzing educators to share their innovations, successes and instructive failures with us and with each other on a national scale.

Our teachers were specifically awarded for excellence in integrating multiple disciplines in a single multi-week unit. Preference was given to units which incorporated Judaic Studies and General Studies and involve multiple faculty members.

Their project involving our Middle School students was called, “From Landfill to Life Filled", an exemplary interdisciplinary project that includes the synthesis of distinct subjects and fosters 21st Century fluencies. In terms of subjects, the project integrated Hebrew, Math, Environmental Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

In terms of 21st century fluencies, students were charged to solve complex problems, navigate and curate information, design solutions using modern media, collaborate as peers, and expand their environmental stewardship across the globe. The learning expanded beyond the classroom and strict subject matter as students traveled to a local waste recovery facility, conducted experiments and learned essential entrepreneurial skills including how to make a business plan. They used a variety of media to communicate globally, research, design, and present an environmental rehabilitation project that is based on one of the biggest ecological masterpieces in the world, Ariel Sharon Park in Israel.

The teachers modeled innovative pedagogy combining their expertise in Project-Based Learning (having been trained by the Buck Institute of Education through Jblend Miami), entrepreneurship education (Entrepreneurship for Kids program), and Personalized and Blended learning (JBlend Miami).

In addition to the three teachers who led the project, the project also had a significant impact in teaching and learning throughout the Middle School. Other teachers refined and/or introduced their own interdisciplinary units and project-based learning. Throughout the project, the teachers modeled the collaboration, risk-taking, adaptation, and experimentation that we aim to foster in our students.