Professional development is an essential BASIS component and takes multiple forms and occurs in multiple venues, starting at the onset of the initiative and continuing throughout its duration.
The key categories for professional learning during BASIS are:
- Israel content: This category includes basic content about Israel including historical foundations, Zionist thinking/thinkers, geography and its implications, seminal figures in Israel arts, culture and history, political realities, and others.
- Curriculum design includes tools for
- the creation and implementation of an overarching Israel curricular framework that includes classroom, out of classroom, all school, and Israel travel based learning experiences. Experiential and more formal approaches to education should be part of all the above-mentioned framework;
- the articulation of core content and skills;
- the design of meaningful, authentic assessments and learning units to support those assessments;
- mapping and the use of mapping tools such as Atlas;
- the use of multiple pedagogic approaches (strategies) to Israel education including:
- the use of cutting edge technology that allows schools to sharelessons and ideas, for students to connect with peers, and for the BASIS leadership to host sessions with international experts.
The following professional development frameworks and settings are particularly useful in addressing the above categories:
a. In-house ongoing work with teachers led by the BASIS team’s curriculum specialist and consultants. This work includes all-faculty or small group learning sessions followed by coaching for individual teachers. Topics range from content learning, to curriculum design both for the classroom and beyond the classroom, to effective use of technology and more.
b. Community of Practice (CoP): Typical CoP meetings often include seminars led by specialists. Most beneficial to BASIS Coordinators is the opportunity to meet in person and share their work and experiences with one another in critical colleague discussions. A curriculum for the CoPs was set for the year, which covered a range of topics throughout the year, such as the various Israel Education strategies, Curriculum mapping, Cultural events, Israel travel, and more.
c. Forums, Seminars and Workshop Caravans: In addition to customized consultation for each school, BASIS offers communal forums, seminars and workshops to support the ongoing work of the Leadership Teams, Curriculum Teams, and faculties. These offer professional development in organizational development, curriculum development and design, and pedagogy, while concurrently connecting the schools, educators and students to Israel and to one another.
d. Israel Travel: Without a doubt, some of the most powerful professional learning happens in Israel. The all BASIS summer seminar in Israel, and individual schools' teacher delegations to Israel are instrumental at generating fresh knowledge and ideas. The Israel Summer Forum brings Leadership Teams from all participating schools to Israel for a joint special program which introduced participants to key conceptual and educational pieces of the initiative, utilizing on-the-ground and true-to-life examples in Israel. The teacher delegations are specifically tailored to meet the needs of individual teachers, helping them translate knowledge of Israel into classroom curricula and activities.
Several schools also send teachers to Israel to participate in professional development activities when school was not in session.
We present a few examples from community-wide Professional Developmentsessions from the San Francisco Bay Area's pilot initiative of BASIS:
A Power Point titled “Research to Frame The Development of Israel Education In Day Schools” by Alex Pomson, which he presented during a BASIS webinar.
A paper authored by Robbie Gringras of Makom, referenced throughout the BASIS Summer Forum in Israel.
A presentation by Rami Wernik titled “From Commitment to Vision” used during the BASIS Post Summer Forum in Israel