MTA recently launched a new initiative to help talmidim develop sophisticated research, reading, writing, organization, analysis, and presentation skills starting in Freshman year that are of tremendous value during their high school years and beyond. This program was created by a group of teachers and administrators during regular think tank-style meetings aimed to devise creative and meaningful educational programming.

The program consists of experiential learning opportunities, as well as concrete assignments, that enable talmidim to learn and practice these skills each semester, with the goal of crafting a final project during Senior year that is worthy of being published in university-level academic journals. The program kicked off with workshops for Freshmen and Seniors that were organized by MTA’s History Department. The sessions were led by New York Public Library representatives, who distributed New York Public Library cards to each talmid and also gave a presentation to each grade on how to conduct research using the NYPL’s extensive database of academic journals.

The first step in the process was getting NYPL cards for all of the talmidim, enabling them to access the online databases and begin their exploration of these resources that are now available to them. Although many MTA talmidim are not New York State residents, they are still eligible for NYPL cards since they are full-time students in a New York school, which is just one of the many benefits of MTA. Talmidim prepared for the workshop in advance, during their History classes, by filling out the formal application forms for their cards, and even encouraging talmidim in other grades to apply for cards, as well.

“This program has generated a lot of excitement among both our talmidim and faculty,” shared History Instructor Mrs. Rivka Djavaheri. “Although the History Department has taken the lead on this project, the skills that we will teach talmidim through hands-on learning experiences, like this one, are cross-disciplinary. At the conclusion of the program, talmidim will be able to conduct their research in a field of personal interest to them – whether that be Science, History, Literature, Business, Political Science, Engineering, the Fine Arts, Psychology, Judaic Studies, or Math – the options are endless.”

Now that they have their individual NYPL cards, over the course of the semester there will be multiple opportunities during regular classes for talmidim to start familiarizing themselves with the NYPL website and utilize its databases and immense content to further develop their research skills.