A regional council in central Israel. It was founded in 1950 and covers an area from Petah Tikva to Modi'in. The council covers a kibbutz, 19 moshavim, three community settlements and a youth village.
An educational council in a region of Israel sought action plans for its various schools amidst the immense uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, the Ministry of Education was releasing new guidelines practically daily, shifting from in-person to remote to hybrid learning possibilities. As such, the local council’s department head, schools’ principals, supplementary staff, teachers and students needed strategy to know how to move forward and adjust in light of constant flux.
The work associated with this case is ongoing as the school year is still in session. However, there have been many notable results which have allowed the schools to: ensure agility despite uncertainty, reduce levels of fear and panic, aid in decision-making, provide useful language for discourse and lay a framework for feasible and best practices. Furthermore, the ongoing work has produced these additional results: The creation of a forum of educational consultants and psychologists who now serve as ambassadors to implement the toolkit across the region’s schools. They conduct the questionnaires to ascertain which scenario the school is experiencing and then work with school principals to execute plans. The deployment of a campaign and associated Zoom lectures for parents to learn how to build their own resilience and support their kids. Schools have received extra guidance and a tailored toolkit to address their specific needs (i.e. students at high risk). A simulation was invented to help principals manage feedback with parents and teachers via Zoom in the case of remote learning.
Given the level of uncertainty, we began by mapping the critical unknown variables from the perspective of the schools’ principals. We used various methods for scenario mapping and testing to understand what possible outcomes could take shape. This helped to identify the most burning concerns so we could work with school leaders to prioritize them. To fully assess the challenge, questions and possibilities, we carried out one-on-one interviews (with principals, parent teacher association [PTA] leads, support team staff), conducted comparative research (in Israel and abroad), facilitated face-to-face workshops with the main stakeholders, and conducted literature review.
Through this approach, we defined two critical variables that would dictate how schools should act, namely: the resilience of its team and its students’ level of willingness and adaptability. To quantify them, we designed a questionnaire with parameters and criteria to be ranked on a scale of 1-10.
To assist practitioners to use the mapping, analyse the situation and follow plans, we created an actionable toolkit that addresses uncertainty, mitigates risks and designs workflows accordingly. Given the three possible scenarios from the Ministry of Education (in-person, remote or hybrid instruction), each potential outcome for the schools (high resilience/high adaptability, low resilience/low adaptability, high resilience/low adaptability, low resilience/high adaptability) was placed in a quadrant along with respective principles and practices to follow.