The Branco Weiss Institute was established in 1990 in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education, with the aim of developing educational and teaching materials to promote learning competencies and thinking abilities in schools throughout Israel. Five years later, in 1995, the Branco Weiss Institute also began delivering teacher training seminars alongside the Ministry of Education, in the belief that teachers themselves are the most important and effective element in implementing innovative change to Israel’s educational system.
In 1998, we established the first Branco Weiss school in Beit Shemesh, in partnership with the high-profile company Intel. It was specially designed to deliver a different type of teaching and learning not found in regular schools, utilizing innovative methodologies. Since then, 7 additional schools have been established, using the same model. They are located in Mazkeret Batya, Sasa, Pardes Hana, Ein Rafa, Beit Hashmonai, Kibbutz Naan, and Meitar.
In 1999, the first Branco Weiss school for at-risk students was established in Merom Hagalil, as a specialized alternative framework for students who had been excluded from regular schools. Since then, a further 13 schools for at-risk youth have been founded across the country’s social and geographic periphery.
In 2000, Branco Weiss joined the Ministry of Education to launch a joint nationwide initiative to improve results in the key high school matriculation tests for those students who most need extra help. At its peak, the program operated in around 130 schools, involving approximately 12,000 students in Israel’s peripheral communities. Following this initiative, Branco Weiss launched the Atidim program in 2004 and established a partnership with the Ethiopian National Project in 2005. Through these frameworks, we began to operate a variety of educational initiatives for students in marginalized communities. These programs target a range of audiences, from new immigrants to outstanding students and those from troubled socio-economic backgrounds. Since then, around 10,000 students have participated in these programs each year.
Since 2011, the Branco Weiss Institute is operating a research and development unit which is dedicated to the professional development of teachers through innovative pedagogical methods. These include filming lessons and access to a math and science pedagogic greenhouse.
In 2015, the Branco Weiss Institute is leading 8 comprehensive schools, 14 integrative schools for at-risk students, programs for 5,000 pupils, and workshops and inservice faculty training in 80 schools around Israel.