Source: Avi Chai Foundation
What might it look like for Israel to be fully integrated into school life? Some answers to this question are found within iNfuse, an initiative of The iCenter, which enables Jewish day schools across North America to engage in a system-wide process of “infusing” Israel into all aspects of school life. Over 12 to 18-months, schools seamlessly weave Israel into the experiences of learners, faculty, administration, parents, volunteers and other stakeholders. As in previous cohorts, the third cohort of iNufse schools engages learners from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Three overarching elements of the initiative help a school chart its path: conceptual (vision and educational outcomes), aspirational (what does the school need to do in order to build on and enhance current strengths to actualize the vision and outcomes for students?) and tachlis (how can the school accomplish this – what resources, personnel and support are required?). To support their efforts, iNfuse schools have access to a set of online tools, ongoing mentoring from seasoned Israel educators, cutting-edge Israel education resources, professional learning, and a community of schools who care about and engage deeply with Israel.
As one of the leaders of iNfuse, together with my colleagues, I have gleaned many insights from the wisdom of the school leaders with whom we work and from patterns and trends we see across schools. Over time we have learned, for example, that a system-wide or “systemic” initiative (affecting the entire system) is different from one that is “systematic” (consisting of a serious of linear steps). Whereas in its early stages the iNfuse process consisted of a numbered set of “phases” that schools would go through, as we worked with schools, we discovered that each school engaged in the process in a manner (and order) that worked best for its current conditions and reality. As a result, we have begun to use the term “elements” instead of “phases” and have removed all references to a specific order.
As we look forward to integrating eight new schools into the iNfuse initiative, we do so with an image of overlapping spheres of activity, conceptualization and planning that feed into each other and lead to each other in unique and surprising ways. Our hope is that this type of systemic work will serve as a model for other areas of learning and school life and that through ongoing learning and reflection we will continue to refine and deepen the work of iNfusing Israel into Jewish day school life.
Read more at the AVICHAI Blog.