Triangle worked in the West Bank over the course of 5 years to bring educational improvements to a consortium of 17 schools under the aegis of an NGO committed to bringing change to the region.
The NGO had installed state-of-the art equipment in each of the schools, yet efforts to raise school standards in the region had faltered. It became apparent that much of the technology was too advanced for the teachers that were tasked to use it, and the teachers requested that school heads become involved with building a knowledge network to improve the effectiveness of the NGO’s significant investment. By getting to know school heads and by connecting them with each other, Triangle established a standard set of metrics for measuring teacher excellence across the institutions that has significantly improved performance.
Traveling throughout the region to visit many of the schools allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the myriad day-to-day impediments that educators deal with in an area that is war-torn and severely impoverished. We learned that the issues that concern a school head in Ramallah are no different than those that plague US educators. How do I attract qualified teachers to my school? And once I attract them, how can I develop them professionally over time? School heads in all corners of the globe face questions of leadership succession, relational issues and planning for the future, no matter if their students and teachers live under the stress of warfare or if their resources are limited.
We met a school head in a tiny Muslim village that had been working without a paycheck for over a year because his community had taken in a group of boys orphaned in a recent conflict and the town’s coffers were depleted. In the course of our work, he and the head of a traditional Episcopal school in Ramallah became friends and that relationship helped both men face the ongoing challenges in their professional and personal lives. Under normal circumstances, these men never would have met, let alone become a support system for each other. By connecting passionate educators to one another, we facilitated the communication necessary for the heads to implement the programming envisioned by the supporting NGO – literally helping each other to support their faculty and to grow excellence. These ongoing relationships strengthen the region’s schools and students to this day.
We facilitated the development of a master template for how schools should be evaluated across a variety of key indicators, and a version of template was later adopted by The Education Ministry of Palestine. Triangle’s assessment of such a diverse range of institutions was a groundbreaking step towards improving educational standards and impacting the region’s future, as well as a model for how NGO’s and government programs can benefit from ongoing, external assessment of benchmarks for success in education and social progress.