Program Summary

Launched in 2007, the Model Schools Network (MSN) Program is a USAID-funded initiative that aims to build institutional capacity in the Palestinian school system. The MSN Program is focused on developing a school improvement network that will serve as a model for basic education in Palestine. In its initial phase, the program supported 17 private schools in the West Bank. A second phase, begun in the fall 2009, includes an additional 40 public schools. The second phase, which is expected to end in September 2012, also provides local student scholarships and a range of in-service teacher training initiatives for 12 private schools in Gaza.

The MSN Program is implemented in the West Bank and Gaza in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) and a dozen other organizations and institutions based in Palestine and the United States.

Main Goals

  • Introduce a student-centered, contemporary approach to teaching and learning in the areas of English, science, technology and mathematics within a network of 69 public and private schools that will serve as the foundation for replicating lessons learned and best practices among other Palestinian schools

  • Introduce educational concepts, teaching approaches, techniques, and resources that will measurably improve student learning outcomes at participating schools

  • Develop a collective leadership approach among public school principals which builds the capacity of district offices in order to support a school-based reform agenda with a focus on instructional leadership

  • Upgrade schools’ physical capacities, including science and computer labs, libraries, and playgrounds, and provide teaching resources such as netbooks and internet connectivity

  • Promote communication and linkages between schools and their communities so that parents have a greater stake in the teaching and learning of their children.

  • Introduce a wide range of student extracurricular programming, such as summer camps, cultural and scientific field trips, and student clubs, which foster creative and critical thinking and student engagement

  • Evaluate and document results of the project in order to establish evidence-based practice as a means toward school improvement


Highlights

  • In October 2010, the MSN Network was expanded to include 150 teachers and principals from 12 private schools in Gaza who will benefit from a similar approach to in-service capacity building as the West Bank schools.

  • In 2010, AMIDEAST completed a series of leadership seminars for private school principals that culminated in a set of Principal Standards and performance indicators.

  • In February 2010, AMIDEAST launched the Moodle-based Virtual Learning Environment in order to ensure an online community presence among beneficiaries.

  • In August 2010, over 2,000 students from 12 private schools in Gaza received local student scholarships in order to indirectly support the schools and ease the economic burden of these children on their parents.

  • In October 2009, the MSN Network was expanded to include 40 public schools, in addition to the 17 private schools selected in 2008 to be model schools.

  • In 2009, MSN launched comprehensive in-service Professional Certificate Programs for math, English, and science teachers, which are designed to improve teaching methods in these subject areas and create a network of professional learning communities.

  • In 2008, MSN finalized the selection of 17 pilot schools; completed student, teacher, and facilities needs assessments; launched an ongoing school improvement planning process.


Program Activities and Results

  • During the MSN Program’s five years, more than 30,000 Palestinians will benefit directly as pilot reforms are introduced at the model schools.

  • Over 600 teachers and administrators will participate in the most complex in-service professional development program attempted in Palestine, involving hundreds of training sessions, workshops, reflection sessions, and coaching.

  • Over the life of the program, MSN will organize eight learning community conferences for more than 1,500 participants.

  • MSN will provide schools with more than 25,000 printed resources, multimedia, and sets of equipment for use in math, science and English classes.

  • MSN will renovate more than 70 computer and science labs and purchase more than 700 netbooks for teachers and principals to use in schools and class.

  • MSN will organize over 150 extracurricular and co-curricular activities for students. In the 2009-10 academic year, over 12,000 students participated in youth enrichment activities.