The Hod HaCarmel School for Excellence in Science
A New Paradigm in Israeli Education. Ensuring Israel’s Strategic Hi-Tech Edge.
THE NEED: Knowledge is power, and nowhere is this more applicable than in regard to Israel's economic, security, and social future. In order to maintain the “startup nation’s” culture of innovation and its qualitative edge, Israeli schoolchildren must achieve high levels of competence in science and technology studies. Tragically, Israel’s education system has become unable to fulfill this mission – Israeli students now score at the bottom of the list of OECD countries in objective measures of math, science, and reading skills. By not providing top quality teachers or instituting advanced pedagogical methods, the system is now incapable of graduating enough science-savvy pupils to take up the challenge in software, communications, biotech, energy, water, security, agro-tech, robotics, and other crucial growth fields. This is particularly true in the geographical and social peripheries.
THE REMEDY: The McKinsey & Co. study on the world's best-performing schools demonstrates that teacher quality is the most significant variable in student learning, and that students who study with excellent teachers outperform those who study with poor teachers by 50% within three years. By recruiting excellent teachers and by utilizing top pedagogical experts to augment their professional skills, Hod HaCarmel will produce a new paradigm of Israeli K-12 science education that works. These teachers will employ up-to-date methods used in the world’s most successful schools, including experiential learning, small group projects, integration of technology in the classroom, and more.
OUR VISION: The Hod HaCarmel School for Excellence in Science will offer the finest science-focused education available in Israel, encompassing kindergarten through twelfth grade. It will cater to pupils from middle class and disadvantaged communities in the greater Haifa area (including pupils with disabilities), setting them on the path to sophisticated technology positions in the IDF, degrees from top universities, and careers in leading hi-tech companies and science labs. Hod HaCarmel’s holistic scholastic environment, enhanced curriculum, and leading edge pedagogical methods will serve as models for implementation throughout the country, as we strive to foster an accessible culture of excellence which will sow success.
OUR STRATEGY: In developing its innovative educational model, Hod HaCarmel has fused methodologies applied in the best school systems in the world with its own 50+ years of experience operating an educational campus. The School will recruit an outstanding pedagogical staff, taking advantage of the availability of a critical mass of top education professionals in the Haifa area. As for the physical location of the new school, Hod HaCarmel will utilize its existing educational campus, which is centrally located in the city and was donated by its founding family. The School’s financial model enables operational self-sustainability, and its significant cash surplus is designated for startup costs. This will enable us to offer scholarships to a meaningful number of talented pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them access to high quality education.
The Hod HaCarmel Model
In order to create a culture of excellence, Hod HaCarmel will adhere to the following practices:
- The best teachers: The school will recruit the finest educators, offering them attractive starting salaries and providing them with advanced professional training geared to their specific tasks.
- Inclusion: The school will integrate children from disadvantaged backgrounds and pupils with disabilities. These children will ultimately comprise 25% of the student body.
- Values and behavior: Pupils, parents, and teachers will commit themselves to a school covenant, rules of behavior, and a common set of values. Hod HaCarmel seeks to graduate pupils who have a sense of civic duty and social sensitivity.
- Social responsibility: Pupils will learn the meaning of responsible citizenship by volunteering in the community, beginning in first grade.
- Science focus: The program will be based on the Ministry of Education's core curriculum, with a significant addition of study hours in the exact and life sciences. Study of the Arts fosters the creativity essential to innovation, so superior STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and Arts education (giving us STEAM) should offer us the best chance to build Israel’s future of innovation in industry and science
- Small classes: Approximately 25 children per class.
- A long school day: Children will study five days a week, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. They will receive four meals daily and they will conclude each day with a physical education class. In addition to raising their educational level, this will ease the burden on their parents – most of who work in time-intensive professions.
- A long school year: Classes will continue through mid-August, canceling the family vs. career dilemma faced by most Israeli parents during long summer vacations.
- Aiming for academia: Matriculation exams will begin in 9th grade, and 11th grade students will begin taking university level classes.
- Parent involvement: Parents will be intimately involved in the learning process, receiving regular progress reports and investing time in school affairs.
The Hod HaCarmel Campus
The Hod HaCarmel School for Excellence in Science will grow with its pupils, adding new grades every year. The school will be built on the site of Hod HaCarmel's existing acclaimed preschool program. While offering advanced classroom and lab facilities, the school's unique architectural design will resemble a series of houses rather than a massive building, thereby generating a feeling of home. As an intermediate step before construction of the School, we have introduced an afterschool science enrichment program for preschool and elementary school pupils.
At the Heart of Israel's Hi-Tech Ecosystem
Established in 1963 by the Allon family to promote early childhood education, the Hod HaCarmel campus is located in the prestigious Denia neighborhood of Haifa. This port city, which is the third-largest urban center in the country, is a major hub of Israel's burgeoning hi-tech industry and culture. Haifa is home to R&D facilities for many of the world's leading technology companies, such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, Yahoo!, Qualcomm, Elbit Systems, and many others – startups and veterans alike. These maintain a symbiotic relationship with the Technion, which is Israel’s premier science and technology university. Located locally in Haifa, the Technion’s faculty includes three Nobel Laureates. Hod HaCarmel draws on the knowledge of Technion experts in science education, and students in the school's upper grades will benefit from career exposure programs in conjunction with companies at Haifa's hi-tech and life sciences industrial parks. Haifa thus provides a perfect ecosystem in which to build a new, science-focused educational model for the crucial K-12 years.