The Residents of Bat Yam are designing the future of their city

בת ים

About a decade ago The Democratic Institute began implementing a multi-scale educational program in Bat Yam: The Personal Education Program.

The program was intended to promote pupils and educational teams and to enable them to express the uniqueness and strengths that characterize them. The Municipal Education Department in Bat Yam embraced the program as their flagship model and succeeded in achieving excellent results.

This year we were happy to receive an appeal from the municipality of Bat Yam to return to work on the topic of the skills required of graduates of schools in the city upon embarking into the “big world”.

Thus, the teams of the Municipal Department and the Research and Development Department of the Democratic Institute, found themselves in the heart of a process in which educational teams from all the schools in the city of Bat Yam were partners.

Who? What? Why?

In 2019 the city of Bat Yam began a municipal process called “The residents of Bat Yam are designing the future of their city”. The necessity for this process stemmed from the realization of the leaders of the municipal education system that the graduates of Bat Yam’s schools were not succeeding in “breaking the glass ceiling” in comparison to youth in other cities. The municipal leaders’ understanding that the development of such educational and communal programs demands intensive accompaniment, led them back to the Democratic Institute.  Thus, the team of the Municipal Dept. and the team of Pedagogical Development found themselves in the heart of the process along with teams of educators of formal, as well as informal, education from all schools and youth centers in the city.

In the first phases of the program within the schools, teams of the Research and Development Dept. defined criteria of success for the program. Based on these criteria a logic model was developed by the Evaluation Department.  Action principals were then derived from this model towards the development of a prototype for various municipal models.

What activities did you do in the developmental stage?

In March, the school principals and school leadership teams took part in a learning process that began with a meeting in which the logic model of the program was introduced. The participants were then exposed to four unique and innovative models from Israel and from around the world. At the conclusion of each meeting with an expert the group examined the relevance of a specific model and the possibility of its implementation in Bat Yam.

Pursuant to the above, the principals and leadership teams were taken on an inspirational learning expedition that was to serve as a base for a unique developmental process. They visited various schools and organizations, such as “Geula School” in Tel Aviv that is very successfully implementing the “Big Picture” model in Israel, and the Laboratory for Brain Research at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Among other things, the principals learned about professions of the future, inter and intra personal skills, skills of the 21st century – all serving as inspiration for the upcoming developmental process.

Towards the end of March an acceleration day for the developmental process took place, using the “Deep Dive” methodology. The day focused on 10 suggestions for development that came from the field. Over the course of the day, each team discussed the suggestion that was made according to each team’s topic.

Among the suggestions made:

  1. To develop a teaching/learning model that supports the personal development of pupils.
  2. To connect pupils’ learning to the “real world”.
  3. To create a “prep course” for life.
  4. To incorporate principles of academic studies into the schools

The principals and leadership teams then shared these suggestions with their pupils and the day ended with many insights and future assignments.

The results are soon to be revealed….

A day for presentations will take place at the beginning of May, followed by the creation of a work plan for the implementation of the models chosen by the various schools.  

We are very much looking forward to seeing the results ….It will definitely be interesting!