In addition to customized consultation to the schools, BASIS offers communal forums, seminars and workshops to support the ongoing work of the Leadership Teams, Curriculum Teams, and faculties. These provide professional development in organizational development, curriculum development and design, and pedagogy, while concurrently helping to connect the schools’ personnel to Israel and one another.
Some of these professional development opportunities are centralized and aimed at BASIS faculty from all participating schools. However, others are designed to be more regional in focus, with faculty from clusters of schools coming together for the professional development (in the Bay Area these were called “Caravans”). In other cases, the clusters may consist of schools that are not necessarily close to one another geographically, but rather share common goals or approaches in their BASIS work.
As with the individualized professional development, the emphasis was on Israel Education pedagogy, and on the knowledge and skills required for the curriculum development work. In addition, some forums, seminars and workshops also served as introductions to basic knowledge about Zionism and Israel —both contemporary and historical. These programs are led primarily by members of the BASIS Consultant Team, or by the Manchim. However, some are conducted by visiting Israel Education specialists invited to the community by BASIS.
In the Bay Area, the schools seemed overall to prefer individualized professional development to this more collective approach. Some schools liked the hybrid regional or cluster approach, but in general, the only collective opportunities that scored consistently high among schools were the Israel Summer Forum and the Community of Practice for the BASIS Coordinators. This is not surprising, given that the Israel Summer Forum had the added invigorating bonus of taking place on-site in Israel, and the CoP provided an opportunity for close and supportive professional relationships to develop and strengthen.