07 March 2008 Kadima Mada schools shining example The quality and potential of the Israeli schools supported by World ORT through the Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme have been highlighted by the presentation of some prestigious awards. The principals of Kadoorie Youth Village and the Har Vagai School at Kibbutz Dafna have won awards in recognition of their excellent performance. In addition, the schools at Tirat HaCarmel and Kiryat Ata have won European awards for their use of the Internet and new technology in international study projects. Kadoorie Principal Hillel Hillman (pictured with, from left, World ORT Deputy President Dr Jean de Gunzburg and Education Minister Yuli Tamir) has won three awards for excellence in performing his duties as head of the multicultural high school but he said he would not have been able to do it without World ORT. I am happy and proud to have received these honours, Mr Hillman said. But World ORT has played a big part in this by helping us with new equipment and pedagogical support. I hope that, as my school receives more support from World ORT, standards will be raised high enough to merit even more awards. I would like to thank the Minister of Education, Yuli Tamir, for bringing World ORT to Kadoorie. Mr Hillman has already received two of the awards one presented by the Ministry of Education for best principal, the other presented to him as a civil servant in recognition of high achievement. The third prize is sponsored by Maariv newspaper and is awarded for excellence in management. It is the first time in Israels history that a school principal has been chosen to receive this award, which is usually given to figures in the business world. President Shimon Peres is due to present the award to Mr Hillman this month. Mr Hillman is ambitious, innovative and creative and serves as an example of excellence, according to the award committee. Kadoorie Youth Village provides a model for duplication and also a source of knowledge on co-existence as a way of life. Delegations from Israel and abroad have made the place into an important place to visit as its mix of 1,600 students (including boarders and residents of the surrounding area in the Lower Galilee) is of deep interest. The Rogozin Junior High School at Kiryat Ata won a gold award from the European Network for Learning through the Internet, which is supported by the education departments of all European Union member states. Some 600 schools from 35 countries including 13 from Israel submitted projects to the competition, which was aimed at identifying and rewarding pupils who make the best use of new technology in their school. The Year 8 Rogozin students used WikiEDU technology, which allows the building of sites to share knowledge through the Internet, for their study of Development and Innovation in the 19th Century. The 33 students divided into eight groups, each of which selected a specialist topic of study. Each group also elected a student to manage their section and communicate with other groups via the Internet. At the end of the process, each group added interactive features to what they had written. The Director of the Rogozin campus, Baruch Aud, said: This project gives us an idea of what schools could look like in the future. The technology allows students to learn deeply without depending on the amount of time spent in the classroom. The children who took part were enthusiastic and took it very seriously. They were supported very well by their Principal, Fruma Zoler, and class teacher Chaya Suzan. Their efforts won the school 5,000 and an interactive white board (IWB) similar to ones that Kadima Mada schools will receive from World ORT under Phase 5 of the programme. World ORT is helping us a lot, Mr Aud said. It has introduced a new educational spirit to our school. Meanwhile, a project prepared by Year 12 students at the Shifman High School at Tirat HaCarmel, near Haifa, won a competition supported by the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation, which promotes international programmes and projects that critically examine historic injustices, help young people work for democracy and human rights and fosters humanitarian assistance for survivors of Nazism. School Principal Rivka Shargil said 40 of her students took part in the project which was executed in partnership with their twinned school in Mannheim, Germany. The project saw five of the students travel to Germany to interview Holocaust Survivors and a group of German students come to Israel to do the same. These interviews formed the basis of an exploration of ways that future generations can prevent genocides and secure peace and tolerance. The finalised project was translated into German and presented in Berlin by two of the students, who had to speak in English, Ms Shargil said. The judges were very impressed by the way our students spoke and by the PowerPoint presentation and our project beat entries from 60 other schools. The 1,000 prize has been earmarked for a continuation of the project using art as the medium of expression. Mrs Shargil said that the technological impetus that World ORT was providing her school was already making lessons more interesting for both teachers and students. My speciality is chemistry so I think its wonderful that, thanks to World ORT, we are now able to think about ways of using our new equipment that will advance the sciences. Without this, many parents would take their children to other schools, she said. Yigal Gaz, the Principal of Har Vagai, won the Dun and Bradstreet prize for excellence in leadership. Nominated by the CEO of Microsoft Israel, Danny Yanin, this was the first time in the awards four-year history that it had been given for achievement in education. Mr Gaz won the prize for the development of two programmes at his school, which lies close to the border with Lebanon. The first is called SULAM. It is a special network that solves the problem of erratic attendance resulting from rocket attacks by allowing students to continue learning asynchronously and at any time. I believe that the smart classes that World ORT is providing through Kadima Mada may provide a platform to develop SULAM further, he said. I have a wonderful team of teachers who will be able to look into this. The judging panel were also impressed by the success of Mr Gazs programme to prevent teenagers from dropping out of high school. It provides a framework for 16- to 18-year-olds who find it difficult to study for matriculation. Instead of studying for exams, they learn subjects that are of interest to them such as communications, media and art. This stimulating environment keeps the kids off the streets, ensures they receive a school leaving certificate (which they would not have obtained if they had left school at 16) and so allows them to join the army. This, in turn, opens opportunities for them in the workforce. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said that World ORT was proud to be partners with such outstanding personalities and such fine educational institutions. We believe that by working together we will achieve the highest level of excellence and set the standard for the Israeli educational system, Mr Singer added. We are grateful to the Ministry of Education for including these schools in their high priority list. The partnership between World ORT, the Ministry and local authorities and these wonderful educators who do the most important work is a win-win situation. We are lucky and privileged to help them.