Hi Greg. As you go through your Masters program, I encourage you to use the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site as a resource. It shows that kids in high poverty need a wide range of non-school learning, mentoring, social/emotional and soft-skill development activities so they come to school better prepared to learn, and leave with a network who can help them to college and jobs. One of the links shows a program in Chicago where lawyers are raising money to fund volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs. Lawyers could be doing that in every city.
The T/MC focuses on the infrastructure, and private sector funding, needed to make tutor/mentor programs available in poverty areas. If teachers learn some of these capacity building habits, they may be able to do more to influence how well prepared kids are when they come to school, which will make teaching them much more successful and rewarding.
I know someone who went through the Brandeis program and loved it, though she ended up going to rabbinic school afterwards. My daughter is at Chicagoland Jewish High School, so we have an affinity for the dayschool world! I wish you the best. I will follow your blog.
Are you interested in Smart Boards? We have been part of the Heritage Legacy's program to help get Smart Boards into Jewish schools, and I have found it to be very exciting and a leg up into a lot of other classroom technology. I admit to being bit obsessed.
I have a blog too (http://rabbijudy.wordpress.com/). It might give you some insight into the rabbi educator end of things! So far I haven't written much about technology though.
I am just beginning to use twitter. I am not sure about the value of that yet!