In the past few years the foundation created partnerships with 25 municipalities that targeted excellence in mathematics and science education. Each municipality collected and analyzed its data, defined goals, invested resources and organized its teams accordingly. The foundation helped with professional development for the teachers and management support for the heads of education and the school principals. This support included assigning a professional consultant, who mentored the local leaders with the design of the program, the establishment of data systems, and with soliciting professional advice and support.
We asked our partners in local authorities for feedback about the work of these consultants. Many of them indicated that their contribution is more effective during the first year of the program, when they have to design the plans and built the systems. They also indicated that the consultants are very helpful in mitigating their needs to the academic coaches and in forging the professional development programs for the teachers. Their acquaintance with other municipalities and their programs makes them knowledgeable about success factors and possible pitfalls, therefore their advice is very well taken.
Now, this effort is in the midst of a transition stage. We created, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, an intermediary hub (“Cities of Excellence”) to serve as a professional home for municipalities that are interested to promote mathematics and science education. “Cities of Excellence” provides the municipalities with courses, seminars, aggregated data and analysis tools, and professional networking. Therefore, as grants from the foundation conclude, such services are consumed directly by the municipalities from “Cities of Excellence”. To date, nine of the municipalities in our portfolio that their grant ended, are continuing their efforts directly with the hub.
Therefore, we are planning and proposing to operate in two ways. The first, is to assist “Cities of Excellence” to conduct a training course for 10 consultants. These consultants will be certified by “Cities of Excellence” and their services will be solicited by municipalities upon demand. Our intention is also to encourage the municipalities that we will now partner with in promoting excellence in middle schools, to hire a certified consultant, at least for the first year. The second proposal is to maintain for a final year, a small cadre of consultants. These consultants would keep working with the 16 municipalities that still operate within an existing grant from the foundation.
* The text presented above shows the grant as approved by the Foundation Board / Grant 347