“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.”  Michaelangelo

Like many top international educational institutions, Herzlia prides itself on providing regular high-level Professional Development (PD) opportunities to continue to upskill our teachers as lifelong learners. Where we may differ from other institutions is that we do not always feel the necessity to bring in outside ‘experts’ as we are blessed with many teachers who are very able presenters and are willing to share their ‘expert’ knowledge with their colleagues. 

Over the past two years, we have chosen to focus on each of our Herzlia Pillars. We began this year with Rabbi Thurgood and Andries van Renssen leading a full staff discussion on the ‘Culture of Herzlia as a Jewish School’ and linking this to our various Herzlia strategy documents. Teachers were then given the opportunity to meet in smaller groups to share views and to make suggestions about what it means to be part of a Jewish community school. At a follow-up afternoon, staff were introduced to a variety of topics such as a Jewish and Israeli taste kitchen, Jewish music and art, Israeli dancing, Jewish comedy and even a Gematria Escape Room! Sessions were presented by teachers from our JLL Department.

Information Technology is an integral part of our PD training. In the ever-changing world of technology and innovation, it is essential that all staff are constantly provided with opportunities to upskill themselves. Our IT Innovation team and specific teacher ‘IT Champions’ are responsible for much of the training provided. During the first term, a group of teachers presented at a PD afternoon where ideas were shared on the various opportunities available for using ChatGPT positively in our classrooms.

This term our multidisciplinary team of counsellors and learning support professionals who make up the SEED Department, presented workshops on a wide range of social, emotional and educational topics designed to enhance the professional development of UHS educators. The presentations reflected some of the post-Covid/lockdown challenges experienced by educators and pupils in the classroom and were designed to stimulate further conversation and skills development to help us enhance our own capacity to continue to manage and effectively intervene in supporting each other and our children. To view the programme for the afternoon click here

We plan to begin the Third Term with a day devoted to Academic discussion and debate, while Term Four will start with a Wellness Day at which staff will be given opportunities to participate in a number of physical activities such as mountain hiking, abseiling, yoga and meditation, self-defence and first aid and learning to play bowls.

I would appreciate hearing from parents who may be interested in our PD programmes or who may be keen to suggest academic areas of our school programme they would like to hear more about. Please contact me mhelfrich@herzlia.com

UHS Curriculum Head