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The Rothschild-Weizmann Program for excellence in mathematics and science teaching was created in the academic year 2008-2009. The program grants an MSc (without thesis) in science and mathematics teaching to active teachers. The program aims to empower teachers by providing them with opportunities to expand and update their knowledge of science and science teaching, and to be involved in innovative professional activities. The program started as a three year program and in 2011 became a two-year program. Each year about 30-35 teachers join the program; they are teachers of secondary school mathematics and science (biology, chemistry, physics). To date, 86 teachers have graduated and additional 68 students will be graduating this academic year. The teachers enrolled in the program come from all over the country and from all sectors of the Israeli society. They study two days a week, receive a modest scholarship and continue to teach part time in their schools.
The program is operated collaboratively by the staff of the science teaching department and by scientists in the relevant disciplinary faculties. The Weizmann faculty is actively involved in teaching courses; in addition, they mentor teachers in the preparation of final projects. About 60 special courses adapted to the needs of the teachers in the various disciplines have been developed. In the scientific fields, scientists and graduate students host the teachers for several weeks in their labs. After completing the program, most of the teachers return to their schools and a large proportion perform additional activities, for example, as leading teachers running local teacher communities. They continue their professional development through a variety of activities offered by the science teaching department and the faculty of the Weizmann Institute.