Individualized Education - Eeducation for Excellence
The Branco Weiss comprehensive schools provide solutions for very diverse student with various needs. Our schools have a solid pedagogical foundation rooted in a long-standing tradition of intensive work and innovation, based on the methods of the Branco Weiss Institute for the Development of Thinking. The creative pedagogical organization of the school day enables students to study a limited number of subjects for a defined period of time with a small number of teachers. In this way we provide students with a focused, interdisciplinary, intense, and intimate learning environment that enhances achievement.
The schools offer a broad spectrum of subject concentrations and educational programs, which make it possible to construct an individualized learning program for each and every student within the overall educational framework. This program enhances the students' achievements and helps them to fully develop their abilities. An individualized study plan is designed for each student that includes modular scholastic reinforcement in small groups in order to provide him or her with the most suitable solutions.
The Branco Weiss network has many years of experience in treating at-risk teens within the six-year schools by preventing drop-outs and enhancing the achievements of weak students. The principles of individualized instruction make it possible to simultaneously enhance the achievements of outstanding students and raise the bar for them academically.
Some 83% of pupils in academic classes in Branco Weiss schools earn a matriculation certificate, as do 43% of the graduates of Mabar ("regular" matriculation track) and Etgar ("challenge") classes.
The Branco Weiss network ascribes great importance to the professional and personal development of the entire teaching staff and to their professionalization in the subjects they teach through the unique didactic methods developed by the Branco Weiss Institute. By empowering and investing in teachers we create a tight-knit teaching community with a strong sense of school affiliation and commitment to the students. All of our teachers participate in several learning and professionalization circles throughout their service:
In-school in-service courses: The whole faculty meets weekly in every school for joint learning. In the Beit Shemesh school this year's topic is linguistic literacy, while in the Beit Hashmona'i school the topics are fostering a nurturing environment and the Branco Weiss Institute's pedagogical approach.
Subject study: Group learning according to grades and subjects taught, which allows teachers to share with their peers and to get help from their grade and subject colleagues.
Guidance and training by Branco Weiss Institute experts at country-wide meetings of the school network: Members of the school administrations and other relevant personnel receive regular guidance and training from expert Branco Weiss Institute advisers.
A Nurturing School Environment
Branco Weiss schools provide their students with a secure, supportive, and empowering educational environment. The students enjoy coming to school because they feel that the faculty supports them, believes in them, and requires them to live up to their potential.
The students report on their learning experiences in Branco Weiss schools:
64% reported that "When I have a personal problem, I have someone to talk to at school" (compared with a country-wide average of 19%, according to the GEMS data of the Education Ministry).
88% affirmed that "Generally speaking I feel good in school" (compared with a country-wide average of 71%, according to the GEMS data of the Education Ministry).
Branco Weiss schools believe in the importance of each student's ties to his or her community and believe in a constructive ethical system. Education-for-ethics programs are therefore integrated into the regular school curriculum. All the students deepen their acquaintance with their communities and with Israeli society through study and volunteer activities in their towns. The students go on field trips to get to know Israel, meet with immigrant teens, and participate in seminars on Israeli identity and society. All of our schools maintain a tradition of "Contributing to the Community" day, in which all the students volunteer with the elderly or with younger students in their communities.
85% of graduates enlist in the IDF or in community service frameworks.
Measurement and Evaluation
The Branco Weiss Institute's evaluation unit tracks the impact and results of the Institute's activities. The unit's work assists and encourages processes of professionalization by measuring the effectiveness of educational activities, and by promoting a meaningful professional dialogue among staff who work in different settings, on the basis of reliable data and a variety of quantitative and qualitative sources of information.
Every year an assessment and evaluation is made of each school, and of the whole school network. The findings are presented to the school faculties, and an annual work plan is constructed in collaboration with them to further professionalize and improve our educational work.
In all Branco Weiss schools the parent leadership plays an active role in school activities, including launching its own initiatives. The parents are well-informed and involved in every aspect of school endeavors, including academic emphases, social projects, special events, arts-and-crafts days, and community activities. The parent leaders meet once a month, and participate in all the discussions about the principles of school life. School committees on various topics are composed of joint teams of parents, teachers, and students.
Some schools even offer "School for Parents" lectures and activities to expand parents' knowledge and update them about topics at the heart of the school's educational endeavors and on the subject of adolescence. Members of the school faculties teach these sessions.