New Program Partnership with New Jersey State Bar Foundation
On January 12, 2017, Echoes and Reflections and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation offered their first collaborative program for NJ teachers― How to Teach the Holocaust. Attracting more than 30 educators from across the state, the training provided educators with resources to comply with the 1994 New Jersey state law that requires elementary and secondary schools to teach about the Holocaust and genocide. The law requires that “issues of bias, prejudice, and bigotry, through teaching of the Holocaust and genocide, shall be included for all children from K-12th grade.”
“After over 20 years of teaching the Holocaust, I wasn’t sure if I would find something more that I could use to enhance my instruction,” shared Jay Wecht, a seventh-grade English language arts teacher. “But, here I did. The delivery and the content shared, especially the phenomenal Echoes and Reflections Teacher’s Resource Guide, have extended to me a world of possibilities.”
“This is a really natural fit, to create this alliance,” shares Elissa Zylbershlag, Director of Conflict Resolution and Anti-Bias Initiatives at the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. As one of the first educators trained to deliver Echoes and Reflections programs in 2006, and a National Trainer for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Zylbershlag has been instrumental in bringing this new alliance to fruition. “At the Foundation, we do trainings for educators about issues pertaining to law and with New Jersey having a mandate that requires Holocaust and genocide education in the classroom, the Foundation and Echoes have a wonderful opportunity to create a mutually beneficial partnership.”
The training included a six-hour introduction to Echoes and Reflections and featured an introduction to primary source materials and visual history testimony. “The Teacher’s Resource Guide is like striking gold!” shared Natasha Serafini, a special education and social studies teacher. “It provides research and lesson planning so that I am better able to facilitate learning with my students.”
Echoes and Reflections and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation look forward to continuing to work together to provide educators and students with resources and materials to effectively meet the mandate for Holocaust and genocide education in New Jersey.