CMS teacher among those selected for Holocaust educational program

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019


CHICAGO – Echoes & Reflections, the premier resource for Holocaust educational materials and dynamic content, recently welcomed back 25 educators, including a Chelsea Middle School teacher, from a professional development program in Poland that ran from July 27 to Aug. 2.

The unique learning experience, designed for middle and high school educators, aims to strengthen the knowledge and skills needed to effectively teach the complex history of the Holocaust. This was the second year Echoes & Reflections offered the Educational Journey through Poland with Yad Vashem program.

“This seminar gives educators who already have a working knowledge of the Holocaust an opportunity to develop a more personal connection to what they are teaching,” said Sheryl Ochayon, Yad Vashem’s program director for Echoes & Reflections and the leader of the seminar. “The empathy and stronger knowledge base they built during these experiences carries over into the classroom and helps educators convey to students that the Holocaust is a human story—part of our shared human story.”

Twenty-five teachers—who were selected from more than 183 applicants—visited places many of them have only read about in textbooks like Warsaw, Treblinka, Lodz, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Krakow. Participants were guided through ghettos, deportation points, concentration and death camps to see where the horrors of the Holocaust took millions of lives.

Charlsie Wigley of Chelsea Middle School was among the participants.

Tuition, meals and hotel costs were completely subsidized by Echoes & Reflections, including a reimbursement of up to $1,000 for airfare.

Now that the trip is over, participants will complete post-seminar work such as arranging an Echoes & Reflections professional development program for teachers in their areas, creating a lesson plan, or presenting at a local conference.

The trip to Poland was one of two advanced learning seminars offered through Echoes & Reflections. In total, the organization sent 59 educators from 35 different states abroad this summer.

Applications for the 2020 seminars are expected to open later this year. For more information, visit