Akiba Hebrew Academy was founded in Philadelphia in 1946 as the first community Jewish secondary day school in America. Akiba was a drastic departure and in effect, counter-cultural: an all-day secondary school program defined as community (not attached to a denomination and certainly not Orthodox), integrative (general and Jewish studies), and progressive, a term that carried weight in the Philadelphia marketplace, drawing talented faculty and skeptical parents to this yet unknown entity. Most Jewish parents were committed to public school education, favoring denominational supplemental religious schooling.
Despite Akiba’s status as the first of its kind in American Jewish educational history, little has been written about it as a progressive school or about its leadership. Even less is known of the influence of the curriculum or the faculty on its graduates. Using archival material, this study examines the nature of the school’s curriculum and especially the leadership of its visionary curricular architect, Louis Newman, from his selection as principal in 1951 until 1963, when he left the school for an appointment to a national curriculum initiative. It specifically explores to what degree the overt and hidden curriculum followed the founders’ initial intent. Through the use of narrative inquiry methodology, the use of participant interviews and the examination of archival material such as personal letters and communication, the study also investigates the impact of those decisions on administration, parents, faculty and early graduates in an effort to understand the influence of the school on the community and especially its students’ identities.
|Advisor:||Farrell, Jill B.|
|Commitee:||Ban, Ruth A., DiBello, Liia C.|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Education history, Religious education, Judaic studies|
|Keywords:||Jewish day school, Jewish education, Philadelphia Jewish community, Pluralism, Progressive education|
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