1. Israel Education Coordinator is Essential
The importance of assigning one individual to coordinate Israel education cannot be overstated. This requires:
- The individual must have the time to devote to this task. It cannot be simply added on to a full teaching or administrative load. BASIS coordinators were given (paid for) 8-12 hours per week for this work;
- The Coordinator must have credibility among the faculty and other stakeholders, and authority to lead and direct the development and implementation of an Israel education program;
- Strong leadership, communications, and organizational skills are of value.
2. Educational Vision and School Community Buy-In
One need not establish a school vision and consensus to guide a geometry curriculum. Israel is another matter. One cannot assume there is a consensus of opinion or even understanding of what Israel education is, what its scope ought to entail, and how it can and should fit into the general educational program of the school. Thus, all the BASIS schools reported that the up-front mission and visioning process was important for creating common language, open communication, and building a foundation for Israel education. In particular, this involves:
- Articulating an Israel education vision that is officially documented and provides a touchstone for future efforts;
- Aligning the project with the school’s mission and values (we recommend explicit reference to Israel education in the school’s mission statement);
- Clarifying school community values for Board, faculty, administration, and parents;
- Involving the entire faculty, including general studies teachers.
We found that establishing school vision can inform and align learning outcomes, curriculum and educational strategies.
3. Jewish and General Studies Integration
We found that weaving Israel education through Jewish and general studies programs magnified Israel educational outcomes. Israel, as a subject of study, offers great opportunities for integration – in such areas as social studies, literature, arts, and even science.
Schools that involved General Studies teachers early and often were rewarded. Opportunities for involve include:
- Professional development
- Curriculum development
- Israel travel