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WBAIS: A Forward-thinking and Vibrant School
By Aviva Rosensweig 22-Feb-18
Walworth Barbour American International School (WBAIS ) in Israel is a very professional, and at the same time friendly, community that embraces new members with great warmth and personal attention. There is a strong cohort of local hires, some of whom have been at the school for a long time and invested it with a sense of continuity and institutional memory. A larger part of the staff is international and transient, bringing with them experiences from other schools and new approaches. There is a very healthy synergy between these two groups and a strong sense of community. In addition, we are in a fascinating location: Israel. Located in Even Yehuda, which is about 20 km north of Tel Aviv, the school is just an hour from the capital city Jerusalem. Our country is small, encompassing many different types of topography—from woods and lakes and even skiing in the north to deserts in the south. The weather is beautiful most of the year. Israel’s population is very diverse, with representatives from all parts of the world. It is both a very modern and a very ancient country. It is at the forefront of technology and other disciplines, but is also a country deeply committed to culture and outdoor activities. History can be found everywhere, from archeological digs to sites important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And most importantly, Israel is a very safe country. Media reports aside, newcomers are always surprised by how safe they feel and how nice it is to live in such a family-friendly place. Finally, English is spoken all over, so there is no language barrier. Events and initiatives Over the summer, our campus had a makeover, with an expansion of our Reggio Emilia preschool and development of larger K–12 classroom spaces and meeting areas. We are constantly expanding the range of activities and opportunities available to our students. One example is their active and increasingly successful participation in the International First Robotics competition. In addition, teachers met with Dr. Fran Prolman in our ongoing professional development series. Fran is an educational consultant with over 30 years’ experience working with American and international schools across the globe. It was her fifth consulting trip to WBAIS. In addition to a full day with all staff, she spent much of her time working with our teacher leaders—the chairs of departments, team leaders, and leaders of our goal groups. Commitment to the community We are very committed to the local community. Over 50 local schools participate actively in our Model United Nations Conference every February, some of whom are given a subsidy to attend. Our GAIA Project partners with several local schools on environmental research projects, beach cleanup, recycling programs, and sustainable fishing methods. Our annual Hockey Marathon raises a great deal of money for the Save A Child’s Heart foundation. Many service learning activities bring our students in contact with the local population, whether through working with immigrants, in old age homes, and in daycare centers. Innovation in learning Over the past few years, our focus has been on LOTOL: Leaders of Their Own Learning, encouraging both students and staff to be more proactive in directing their academic pursuits. This year, we are focusing particularly on Engagement, Technology, and Assessment practices as well as Mindfulness, Differentiation, Growth Mindset, Creating a Learning Culture in the Classroom, and Sensory Challenges. This goes hand-in-hand with our Profile of a Learner, which sets forth some of our holistic goals for our students. The Profile includes: • Insightful and Strategic Researcher • Resilient, Persistent, and Adaptable Achiever • Critical and Creative Thinker • Innovative Problem Solver • Skillful Communicator • Responsible and Compassionate Citizen • Effective Collaborator See for yourself At wbais.net, you can view videos where teachers and students share what they have to say about our school, against the backdrop of our beautiful campus and Israel’s scenery. The bottom line is that WBAIS offers a stellar opportunity for teachers to work in one of the top international schools in the world, live in an exotic but first-world country, challenge and be challenged by a first-rate staff to reach your own potential and to contribute to the vibrant academic and social environment of the school. Aviva Rosensweig has worn many hats at WBAIS, as English teacher, Director of Model United Nations, and, most recently, Communications Coordinator of the school.
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