“Halutz” is an educational pioneer program that trains teachers, who are at the start of their careers, to become educational leaders by implementing educational innovation in the schools that are located in the social and geographic periphery. In 2017, 53 schools across the country are participating in the program.
About five years ago, the program initiated a process of multiculturalism encounters and as it was implemented within the religious – in state-religious schools. Two years ago, the decision was made to expand the program to the Arab society as well. Last year, three Arab schools joined the program in the northern region. This year, the Bedouin youth village “Kochav HaMidbar”in the south of the Israel joined the program and the Jerusalem branch was established.
The Jerusalem branch was designed to reflect the demographic diversity of Jerusalem, which includes secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities. In the first stage, it was decided not to enter the ultra-Orthodox society due to its complexity, but it was important that the character of the region reflect the multiplicity of populations and communities. The Jerusalem branch includes 12 schools, of which three are in East Jerusalem and three are in the state religious schools.
From the beginning, it was clear that introducing pioneers from different communities in one program is a wonderful initiative that is complex and requires special attention. In our view, a program that deals with educational training should train leaders who lead and have a deep understanding of communities different from theirs, that together promote action and creativity. We hope that as educational leaders, the pioneers will contribute to reducing alienation and provide bridges to gap the distance between the diverse groups. We view this as one of the most important values of any democratic culture and we attempt to raise the pioneers’ awareness during in their training.
The program is in the second year of the development of a model that is based on the concept of shared life in an educational pioneer. The principle of our work is based on a concept of collaboration and joint action around a denominator or a common theme that is not directly related to multiculturalism. The common theme in this case is their training as agents of change within the education system. The pioneers learn to be educational leaders who promote change and are trained to do so. For us this is an excellent platform to work on the various aspects of shared lives.
Many have contributed to the educational pioneer program, including the Carasso Foundation, the Moses Family and the COS Foundation. This year, we welcome the Federation of San Francisco that joined the challenging path through which we hope to leverage the program in the new directions we have set.
As part of the educational pioneer program, the pioneers – the young teachers – receive guidance in the schools by the program’s facilitators who speak their language and adjust the program to their goals and characteristics. The encounter with pioneers from other communities takes place in joint learning events – concentrated days of learning celebrations attended by all the pioneers of the region. Such an event took place in Jerusalem on the first day of Hanukkah – when all the pioneers of the region gathered at Beit Alliance in Jerusalem for a creative process of project-based learning, which ended with the presentation of products. In the course “Identity, Teaching and Learning through Texts”, the pioneers created and shared group video clips that are creative interpretations to a selected song. In the course “Pedagogic Choice”, the pioneers experienced different ways to give feedback and reflect, and in the course “More Bereshit”, they designed action studies that are experiments of improvement.