The Weizmann Program for Excellence in Science Teaching was established to empower Israel’s high school science teachers by providing them with unique opportunities to expand their knowledge and be involved in innovative professional development activities. Using a ‘teach-the-teachers’ approach, the goal of the Program is to produce top quality, well-prepared teachers who instill a sense of enthusiasm for science in their students.
This Program is a natural fit for the Morris & Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, and aligns with their mission to improve formal and experiential education by supporting high-quality, innovative programs. The Foundation believes in access to quality education for all youth, especially in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With a vision of capacity building, the Goodman Family Foundation appreciates the approach being applied by the Weizmann Program for Excellence in Science Teaching to create peer-supported communities. The Foundation previously supported a Weizmann Institute project in scientific research through a partnership with the McGill University Goodman Cancer Research Centre.
Maxyne Finkelstein, President of the Goodman Foundation, spoke to what drew the Foundation to the Weizmann Institute of Science:
“The Weizmann Institute has a world-class reputation for scientific research, but it was only in the past year or so that the Goodman Foundation learned about its equally impressive record in terms of educating science educators. We were also pleased to build on the contribution of the Rothschild Foundation which had previously supported the Program. Our engagement was further encouraged through the experience of Shawna Goodman Sone (Chair of the Board of Directors) who moved to Israel with her family three years ago and has noted the paradox of a continued high-tech boom alongside great gaps in STEM education throughout the country. ”
The Foundation saw an opportunity to benefit from the seamless linkage between world-class scientists and teachers who don’t generally have access to these opportunities and exposure to resources at this level. In providing teachers with access to new trends in science and science education, the long-term goal of the Program is to help trigger a significant increase in the level of science teaching in Israel. As Maxyne noted, it is more than simply providing students with a high quality of education, it is exciting youth to the point where they want to teach science themselves: “Education is contagious, and top-quality teachers will lead to top-quality students to sustain schools at a higher level.”
We are thrilled that Shawna will be on the Weizmann campus this November for the International Board Meetings when we will celebrate this visionary gift.