Our students in the northern hemisphere have been celebrating their return to school after the long summer vacation as much as their parents – and there’s a lot to be happy about!
In Israel, the World ORT Kadima Mada network now has six schools with the addition of Kfar Silver Youth Village.
Kadima Mada CEO Avi Ganon said: “We are ready for the challenge and, together with the management of Kfar Silver, will promote and strengthen the village with a focus on science and technology education in the periphery to ensure the students have a bright future.”
It is the network’s third youth village, whose ethos and residential facilities make them a home for some of Israel’s most disadvantaged students. In addition, two high schools in the blue collar town of Kiryat Yam have joined as has a yeshiva high school – altogether making the World ORT network in Israel one which serves children from a wide range of social, economic and religious backgrounds.
In Kiryat Yam, the Levinson High School is opening an honours class for excellence in science while the Rabin Middle School is starting a Diplomacy and Debate track in Hebrew and English.
Meanwhile, World ORT continues to work with dozens of affiliated schools throughout the periphery. Eleven of them – including one Druze and one Arab school – started the new academic year ranked by the Ministry of Education as among the best in the country when taking into account their values, their integration of special needs students, absorption of new immigrants, prevention of dropouts, academic achievement and rate of improvement.
Other exciting developments this year in Israel include the opening of Kadima Mada’s Future Learning Space at the David Tuviyahu High School in Be’er Sheva. It is a pilot project in collaboration with the Be’er Sheva municipality and made possible by the generosity of the Evelyn Steinberg Alexander Family Foundation.
“The Future Learning Space is a sign of the progress that can happen in the Israeli education system when the innovative use of technology is made an increasingly significant part of the learning process.” Avi Ganon, World ORT Kadima Mada CEO (Israel)
In the FLS, technology is used to enable students to explore independently and collaborate in working groups rather than sit passively as the teacher presents a lecture. The learning is project-based and students can even team up with peers from other schools.
But the excitement is not confined to Israel. At Colegio Israelita de Mexico-ORT (CIM-ORT), they are inaugurating a media centre which boasts television and radio studios and post-production facilities – an ideal space for the school’s media students to learn and practice.
“Last year we made something like 100 videos and I hope this year our output will improve in quality as we master new and more complex software,” added teacher Luis Perez.
In Kiev, the principal of the ORT Educational Complex, Yuri Kinkov, is looking forward to re-inventing the school which was known as the Kiev ORT Technology Lyceum until it moved into new, refurbished premises last year.
“This year will be one of surprises,” Mr Kinkov said in a message to the school community.
“We will work on the creation of a new school, a school which will be warm, comfortable, and truly friendly. A school which will be a haven for research, experimentation, dreams and creativity. May we all enjoy fresh and interesting ideas from encountering the unexpected!”
ORT Russia National Director Dr Sergey Gorinskiy spoke for all of us at World ORT with his new academic year message:
“As at this time every year we are embarking on a shared journey to acquire knowledge. I wish that this school year will be interesting, entertaining, filled with creative inspiration and amazing discoveries for everyone – teachers and students, children and adults alike! Warmest wishes to all for a year of health and success in all your endeavours!”