The iCenter, a national Israel education organization, welcomes new schools into iNfuse including the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor.
To help more Jewish day schools infuse Israel into all aspects of school life and learning, the iCenter, a national Israel education organization, is welcoming eight new day schools across North America into the third cohort of its initiative “iNfuse: Israel in Jewish Day Schools,” including the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor, which joins Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills as a participant.
Each school creates a plan to make Israel education and experiences a deeper part of all aspects of school life, including classes such as science, the arts, Jewish studies, Hebrew language, all-school Israel engagement and Israel travel. The initiative is funded in part by The AVI CHAI Foundation and through matching funds raised in the schools’ communities.
“iNfuse offers a framework for students, educators and the greater school community to build personal, enduring connections to Israel and Israelis,” says Dr. Lesley Litman, a consultant with the iCenter. “An initial step in this process is for schools to map out what is currently happening in Israel education throughout the school and to explore ways, such as articulating meaningful learner outcomes, weaving Israel into additional aspects of school life, and creating opportunities for all faculty to engage with and learn about Israel, to deepen the children’s personal connection to and deep knowledge of Israel.”
Representatives from Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor will gather with other schools in the cohort in September to begin their work and to create a sense of community among the schools. iNfuse also will provide site visits from Israel education experts and other specialists, online seminars and one-on-one mentorship.
Educators will have a range of resources and various approaches from which to draw on to engage their learners in content-rich and contemporary Israel experiences. The initiative frames a school’s Israel trip as an integral component of the curriculum throughout students’ tenure at the school. A school-appointed Israel coordinator will oversee both the initiative and support the work of faculty and staff.
The 2016 Hearts and Minds study on Israel in day schools affirmed that even young children can build a meaningful relationship with Israel by blending powerful experiences with strong content.
iNfuse works with schools across grade levels — from high schools to middle schools to elementary schools. The initiative especially encourages schools serving primary and middle elementary age children (K-5) to enrich and expand their Israel content, not waiting until the middle school years to bring in rich content.
“We bring a learner-centered approach to all of our work,” adds Litman. “And regardless of age, educators can help learners develop personal and authentic connections to Israel.”