Silber Foundation awards ICJS grant to create fellowship for Baltimore teachers

With the generous support of the Silber Foundation, the ICJS will launch the ICJS Teaching Fellowship in fall 2018. The fellowship will create and grow a network of Baltimore public, parochial, and independent high school teachers capable of dealing with religious and ethical differences in the classroom.


In the months following the 2016 election, more hate incidents took place in America's schools than anywhere else, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Engaging religious difference is an essential component to the formation of a functioning citizenry in our democracy. Teachers are on the front line to educate and equip the next generation with the capacity to engage ethical and religious difference with compassion and respect.

Baltimore high school teachers have limited professional development opportunities to strengthen their knowledge in the teaching of religion and interreligious difference in their classrooms. The ICJS is the only Baltimore organization equipped to address the salient concerns related to religion and pedagogy for Baltimore-based high school teachers.

The Teaching Fellowship provide teachers with an opportunity to work closely with ICJS scholars to develop lessons that increase literacy about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as lessons that talk about the impact of religion upon society. The ICJS recognizes that a 10th grade history teacher at a public high school has different needs than a 12th grade religion teacher at a Catholic school. While religious literacy is needed in both settings, what is needed and how that need can be most effectively met differs. Using a teacher-led approach, the Fellows will work closely with ICJS scholars and with each other over the course of one year to develop and implement educational lessons that address the needs of their particular school.

Fellows will collaborate with the ICJS scholars to identify how a more robust understanding of religion would benefit their specific classrooms. Fellows will meet to offer feedback on each other’s lesson plans and share their experiences as their students engage with religious and ethical difference in the classroom. They will have the opportunity to present their piloted and revised lessons to the larger Baltimore teaching community during annual teacher workshops.