The primary engagement of students at the school is academic. Each day one or two school-wide lectures are given by active scientists in biology and, occasionally, in other sciences. In the course of an average day the students also participate in two classes, one of which may be dedicated to the topic of the chosen laboratory, however, the courses are focused on a variety of subjects, including some in the arts and humanities. The work in the laboratory takes up the entire timeslot between lunch and dinner of about five hours per day. Thus, on an average day a student is exposed to seven or eight hours of academic and laboratory work. After dinner, we hold a diversity of other activities mostly focused on relaxation but also including informal interaction with visiting lecturers and other faculty. Due to the intense schedule of the school we believe that it is imperative for the students, and faculty, to get the necessary sleep to be able to function on a day-to-day basis in the course of the entire two weeks. We therefore ask our students to adhere to quiet hours after a certain hour and especially to be sensitive to the roommates’ sleep and quiet requirements.
The students are housed in a dorm-like setting, with 3-4 students per room. However, to facilitate cross-laboratory communication among the students, we organize teams of approximately ten students under the guidance of a couple of team leaders. There are several purposes for these teams at our school, and none of them have elements of intra- or inter-team competition in mind. First of all, students assigned to the same team are likely to work in different laboratories, and team members are perfectly positioned to stay up to date with the development of projects in other laboratories. Second, team leaders are available 24 hours a day throughout the entire school for any issue a student may have, big or small. Finally, some of the teams at the school are English teams, where the use of the English between the students is promoted and with the team leaders may be expected. Students interested in being assigned to an English team should indicate their self-assessed level of English proficiency and their desire to be assigned to an English team at the time of application.
At the start of the school every student is introduced to his or her own advisor, a faculty member that curates the academic progress of several students throughout the school. The role of the advisors is independent from that of the team leaders in being more focused on academic issues. Advisors are exclusively composed of faculty members that are not team leaders. The academic advisor’s job is to help his students properly assess their interests in different laboratories and courses. They are also there to discuss any scientific questions that arise in the course of working in the lab or may indicate other faculty members that are more qualified to answer specific questions.
Each student is expected to meet with their advisor several times in the course of the school and the process of selecting the laboratory for in-depth study can be done exclusively in conjunction with the advisor. The students are encouraged to arrange additional meetings with their advisor should they find that they are falling behind in their work or should they simply wish for a personal discussion of their progress.
The students are expected to adhere to a code of conduct that is agreed upon at the time of admission to the school. We expect our students to behave in a responsible adult manner and students must strictly adhere to all safety rules for work in the laboratory. Our school is centered on intellectual achievement, which necessarily implies a liberal dosage of independence among our students. However, equally important are safety considerations. Should a student pose a safety concern to himself, any other student or faculty we reserve the right to ask for immediate removal of the student from our school by their parents. Such a decision remains at the discretion of the director and may be taken without any discussion with the student in question.