Golda Och Academy Announces 2014 Recipients of Grants Promoting Teaching Excellence

Jessica Nathan, Golda Och Academy kindergarten teacher, works with one of her students.
Rebecca Kurson teaches Golda Och Academy Lower School students in the outdoor science classroom and garden.
Jessica Nathan, Golda Och Academy kindergarten teacher, works with one of her students.
Lower School students at Golda Och Academy perform an experiment in the science lab.

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Golda Och Academy of West Orange recently announced the 2014 recipients of grants that promote teaching excellence. Included among these are the Peter J. Herzberg Memorial Grant and the Fund for Faculty Excellence and Innovation.

The Peter J. Herzberg Memorial Grant Fund was established in 2008 in memory of Peter J. Herzberg, a beloved past president of the school’s board of trustees. Herzberg recognized the important work of the Golda Och faculty and made his support a priority.

Golda Och Academy is grateful to his wife Hon. Lisa Chrystal and three children Ben Herzberg, class of 2006, Arielle Herzberg, class of 2009, and Ilana Herzberg, class of 2009, who have continued this important legacy.

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“The Teachers Grant Fund is a fitting tribute to Peter who is dearly missed every day,” said Chrystal. “As president of the board of SSDS/GOA, his commitment to Jewish education was unwavering and his support of teachers was legendary. This fund epitomizes what Peter valued. We are proud that his legacy lives on by GOA continuing to provide excellent, innovative secular and Jewish education.”

This year, recipients of the Peter J. Herzberg Grant include Amanda Cohen, Upper School Arts Teacher, to attend the Pilobolous Dance Theater Workshop; Linda Friedman, Lower School First Grade Teacher, to attend the Columbia University Teachers College Writing Institute; Jamie Himmelstein, Middle School Director/Language Arts & Social Studies Department Chair, to attend the ISM (Independent School Management) conference; Rebecca Kurson, Lower School Science Teacher, to participate in an online course, Solar System, run by the Museum of Natural History; Karen Ulric, Upper School Librarian, to attend the Annual International Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries; and Jessica Nathan, Lower School Kindergarten Teacher, to attend the I Teach K 2014 National Conference for Kindergarten Teachers.    

The second grant presented by Golda Och Academy, the Fund for Faculty Excellence, is being awarded for its second year. The purpose of this grant is to award grants to teachers who have innovative plans in the classroom and provide the resources to make their plans a reality. 

This year’s recipients will enhance reading for Golda Och Academy’s youngest students through new and state of the art technology and will encourage older elementary students to get more involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and innovation in a creative way.

Recipients this year include Casey Corsa, Second Grade general studies/first grade reading specialist to work on the project, “RAZ Kids for Targeted Reading Instruction,” and Debra Feldman and Mrs. Rebecca Kurson, Lower School science teachers, to work  on the project, “Invention Convention at Golda Och Academy.”

RAZ-kids is a website with a companion iPad app. According to Corsa, “This project will allow our school to teach technology and to more effectively differentiate reading instruction by reading group and at the individual level.” 

This project will create a new STEM club for third and fifth graders and invite them to participate in an inventor’s contest where the students design inventions that have a practical application for everyday life. Inventions will then be judged. In addition, they will be adding a Simple Machines unit to the Science curriculum and purchasing supplies to support this unit.

Golda Och Academy extends congratulations to Corsa, Feldman and Kurson for their innovative work and dedication in the classroom. The Academy also thanks parents Elizabeth and Gerald Cohen for their vision and commitment to Golda Och Academy in establishing this new fund. 

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