Educational Standards and Benchmarks for School Twinning





“A coherent view of curriculum, assessment and teaching is at the core of any vision of more effective education.” Prof. Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford University) in A Blueprint for Creating Schools That Work 211.

School twinning is touching the lives of thousands of students across the world. Dedicated educators have been motivated to create twinning opportunities for their students for many reasons that relate to wanting their students to live out and experience real connections to Jewish peoplehood.

The project to develop Standards and Benchmarks for school twinning arose from the sense that all these efforts could be strengthened if there were common goals in the form of student outcomes that point towards transformational aspirations we want to see happen in their lives.

A standard, properly understood, is an ultimate student outcome for living a meaningful life that can be developed from a sustained educational program. When educators work with a standards approach they understand their part in shaping lessons and curriculum as a part of a continuum. In order to know if students are moving towards the standard at each stage, standards have associated and age-appropriate benchmarks that can be incorporated into assessment design.

When thinking about standards for twinning, we concluded that they would be most useful if they focused only on the value-added of school twinning to already existing and related learning outcomes within schools. In other words, school twinning standards will most likely be integrated into frameworks for Jewish studies, Israel education, etc. as a way to actualize that learning for students through people-to-people connections.

The school twinning standards presented here were developed in collaboration and consultation with the field (practitioners and academics). Our gratitude is extended to all the school-based educators and educational coordinators in the Partnerships who collaborated on the selection and overall direction of these standards. In addition, we want to express our appreciation to friends and colleagues within the Jewish Agency and from across fields tied to Jewish/Israel education [incomplete list]: Yonatan Ariel, Roberta Bell-Kliger, Dr. Howard Deitcher, Noga Kochavi, Dr. David Mittelburg, Shlomit Naim-Naor, Shelley Kedar, Dr. Alex Sinclair, Charlotte Abramson, Dr. Benjamin Jacobs, Dr. Lisa Grant, Dr. Daniel Margolis, Rabbi Edward Harwitz. And, a special thank you to Dr. Alex Pomson, who was involved from beginning to end as a guide to the process of building these standards.

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