What is the Idea Institute?

The Idea Institute is the professional development and communal learning arm of The Idea School. Our aim is two-fold: 

1) To share resources in progressive education with the field of (Jewish) education  

2) To share with the wider community the values and learning experiences that our students are steeped in at The Idea School.

Professional Development:

One way we share resources is by providing professional development in project-based learning and educational innovation. You can hire the Institute to train faculty and staff at your school or to run workshops at educational conferences. You’re also invited to attend our Summer Sandbox, a three-day project-based learning conference that we hold at the site of our school, the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.

This past summer, The Idea Institute/Summer Sandbox partnered with JETS, a company that provides training in digital and progressive learning, to run the Maker and Creator Conference (MAC). Participants at the Maker and Creator Conference had a chance to experience project-based, digital, and blended learning in an interactive, hands-on way. You can view our workshop  selections here.

Since its inception in 2014, The Idea Institute--formerly known as the I.D.E.A. Schools Network--has trained over 1200 educators from over 40 schools across the United States and Canada. 

Please email Tikvah Wiener at to learn how you can bring The Idea Institute to your school or conference. 


Resource Sharing:

If you can’t get to one of our workshops, our website provides easy access to many of our resources. In fact, if you want a quick dive into progressive Jewish education, check out Tikvah Wiener’s Lehrhaus article, “The Promise of Progressive Jewish Education.” 

But explore this website too. We’ll keep adding to it.  

Communal Learning:

Through the Idea School Speaker Series, screenings of the film Most Likely to Succeed, and other communal learning experiences, the Institute shares why education needs to change and provides learning opportunities that show lay leaders and community members the value and importance of our meaning-making, interactive educational approach.

Take a look at the trailer of the edu-documentary Most Likely to Succeed, which we’ve screened numerous times, in Bergen County, New York, and Los Angeles, and which explains why the educational system--created over 120 years ago for a world of factory workers and using a factory model--needs to be remade for the 21st century.

To schedule a screening of Most Likely to Succeed or to bring one of our educators to your community, please email