Matan Institute FAQ
We only have a few spots left for Cohort 9 of the Matan Institute! This next cohort is designed specifically for Education and Youth Directors.
If you’re on the fence about applying, we’ve prepared a few answers to frequently asked questions below. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have other questions we haven’t covered here. Then head on over to our online application and submit yours today!
What is the Matan Institute?
The Matan Institute is our flagship inclusion training program for Jewish education professionals. We bring together different cohorts of participants based on profession. Each cohort works together for 10 months, engaging in a combination of in-person and online learning. Every participant also works with a specially trained mentor on specific inclusion goals.
Who participates in the Matan Institute?
We seek out Education and Youth Directors of synagogues, day schools, early childhood centers, camps, and other educational institutions. Institutes are designed for directors and administrators because we want to reach the people in a position to make the greatest change in their programs. To that end, a significant portion of the Institute focuses on macro-level inclusion issues, such as budgeting, hiring, and communicating with parents, as well as the science behind successfully instituting change.
Who facilitates and presents at the Matan Institutes?
Institutes are created and facilitated by Matan staff. Training sessions, webinars, and mentoring are conducted by independent contractors, first-person advocates, and experts in the field of special education, both Jewish and secular, in addition to Matan staff. All presenters are carefully vetted by Matan and specifically chosen with a view toward each Cohort’s background, needs, and inclusion goals.
What do participants do?
Matan Institutes follow a blended learning model involving a mix of in-person, online, and individualized activities. In-person sessions are held three times throughout the 10 months for 2 days at a time. A typical day runs from 8:30-3:30 and involves a combination of hands-on activities — such as creating instructional materials and strategies for classrooms — and presentations by professionals on both Jewish and secular topics. Online webinars are held periodically and are selected based on the cohort’s needs. Participants also meet with their assigned mentors once a month either online or in-person.
Where do the Matan Institutes take place?
Each cohort meets in person 3 times over the course of the 10 months. These sessions generally take place at the Matan offices in New York City. Occasionally, we host Institutes in specific geographic regions.
How much does participation in a Matan Institute cost?
The cost for one participant is currently $1800. If an institution would like to send a second participant, we can offer a discount. Unfortunately, we cannot subsidize travel costs.
How will I know if I’ve been accepted to a Matan Institute?
Applicants will be notified by email within 2 weeks of submitting their application. If we have any questions about your application, you will hear from us sooner.
I am a teacher and my education director is not available to participate in the Matan Institute. Can I still apply?
The Matan Institutes are geared towards directors and other community leaders who are in a position to effect change on a macro level. Individual circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis, so please contact us to discuss this further.
I am an Early Childhood Director. Can I apply to the Matan Institute for Education and Youth Directors?
Each Matan Institute is tailored for a specific professional cohort. Please contact us to find out the dates for the next Matan Institute designed for your particular profession.
Is the Matan Institute open to participants from different regions of the country?
The New York City-based Matan Institutes are open to participants from across North America. In cases where a Federation or group of organizations contract with Matan to conduct a regional Matan Institute, participants are limited to that particular area.
How can I get a Matan Institute to take place where I live?
Regional Institutes are usually, but not always, initiated by the local Jewish Federation or central agency. If you are a professional or lay leader and are interested in helping to make this happen, please contact us.
Do I have to be available for all the in-person sessions?
Yes, you must commit to attending all six in-person dates.
How can I get in touch with a Matan staff person to ask a question?
Please email our National Director of Institutes and Training, Meredith Englander Polsky, at Meredith@MatanKids.org.
What skills does Institutes teach?
Institutes provide participants with the tools, systems, protocols, and resources for making their institutions as inclusive as possible. Institutes work on both the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, you’ll learn strategies and tips for dealing directly with children that can be implemented right away. We cover issues such as executive functioning, ADHD, anxiety and autism.
On the macro level, we will teach you how to train your staff and create a team that values inclusion and implements best practices. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear presentations by first-person advocates and experts whom you may wish to bring to your own communities. We know we can’t give you all of the answers, so the Institutes take a problem-solving approach. We provide you with the skills you need to evaluate and address problems, ask good questions, and find the answers.
If Institutes are for directors, how do you teach staff?
We hold sessions dedicated to professional development, supervision, and working with people in your community to get buy in. We also allocate plenty of time in person and online to discuss how participants can share and implement the strategies and tips they’re learning in their own institutions. And we model what we teach, so everything we do at Institutes will come in a variety of forms: participants receive a binder with all the presentations and handouts and are given electronic access to the same materials so they can be shared.
What stage of my inclusion learning should I be at to participate?
Within each cohort, there is always a range of experience levels, and that’s great! We select activities and presentations with a view toward the specific participants’ needs to ensure everyone can benefit. Our presenters practice differentiated instruction, so the sessions are accessible to everyone, and we include a lot of workshopping for participants to practice their individual skills. Participants also work directly with their mentors to meet their unique inclusion goals.
How do you accommodate educators dealing with different ages?
The workshops and presentations at Institutes focus on subjects that apply to all ages, such as executive functioning or anxiety. After each presentation, we debrief and think about how the substance applies specifically to each participant’s work. We do have three presentations on differentiated instruction, each one targeting a specific age group, which we feel are beneficial for everyone. Age-specific challenges can also be tackled one-on-one with mentors.
How do participants work with mentors?
Each Institute participant is matched with a mentor based on their individual experience and needs. Participants and mentors meet monthly by phone or video conference, and every participant (regardless of geography) is entitled to one site visit. Together, you will work on identifying and implementing an Inclusion Impact Project.
Can I see the curriculum in advance?
The curriculum for each cohort is tailored specifically to the participants based on the information they share in their applications. Therefore, we don’t have an advanced copy to share. However, you can view a sample schedule here.
Why do Institutes need to meet in person?
Cohorts help train cadres of professional education administrators. A significant aspect of the learning you will do is from each other — through hearing about each participant’s goals, challenges, successes, and action plans. It is our hope (and past experience) that Cohorts create a professional bond that continues on after the training is complete.
Who would benefit from the Matan Institute?
Anyone who is in a position to make change in their institution would benefit from the Matan Institute, regardless of where you are in your inclusion goals. Most of our participants don’t have a background in special education, but it’s okay if you do, because we work on inclusion from a systemic perspective and tailor the content of each cohort around the participants’ experiences.
I have a lot of students to serve. Why should inclusion be a priority?
The skills and strategies we teach improve the learning environment generally and therefore benefit all children and students.
I’m already experienced with inclusive education, why should I attend the Matan Institute?
We’ve found that even participants with extensive inclusion backgrounds stand to gain a lot from the Matan Institutes. One aspect is being part of a Cohort and learning from the challenges other institutions face and the creative solutions they’re implementing. We also spend a significant amount of time working on the macro pieces of inclusion, such as hiring, budgeting, and training staff, as well as the science behind successfully implementing change. Lastly, your mentor will work with you wherever you are in your knowledge and needs.
What if I’m not Jewish?
No problem! Many educators working in Jewish institutions are not themselves Jewish.
How does participation in Institutes benefit me as an individual?
Completing a Matan Institute is similar to achieving a professional certification. As we professionalize the field of Jewish education inclusion, completion of the Institutes serves as evidence that you have been formally trained.
I’m interested! How can I sell my Executive Director and/or Board on my participation?
We’ve found that synagogues or school who are able to be more inclusive are also able to increase membership, so this is a win-win proposition for everyone!