29 August 2008 ORT school in Vilnius ranked among the best The ORT Shalom Aleichem Jewish School in Vilnius has been ranked in the top 10 schools in the Lithuanian capital for the first time. A relatively small school, with 275 students from grades one to 12, Shalom Aleichem has long punched above its weight in terms of academic excellence. Since the inauguration of the ORT Technology Centre at the school in 2002, World ORT has maintained a high level of investment which has helped to make it a flourishing, highly reputed institute that stands at the forefront of 21st Century Jewish education. In previous years we have reached the top 20 in this newspaper survey, which looks at the number of students who go on to win places in university, said Principal Mischa Jakobas. To reach the top 10 is a sign of serious progress. The significance of Shalom Aleichems ranking lies in the fact that in reaching the top 10 it has not only beaten some 60 other schools in the city but that amongst those schools are many gymnasia, which are considered the most prestigious of high schools. The news has been greeted enthusiastically by students, parents and the community, Mr Jakobas said. But it has also created a difficult situation because the demand is now so high for a place at our school that we have to reject many applications. He was particularly grateful to World ORT for the part it has played in the schools successful development. Shalom Aleichems teachers benefit from World ORTs staff development programmes for educators in the Former Soviet Union, which is conducted by the Research and Development Department of ORT CIS. The intensive training includes participation in World ORTs international Hatter and Wingate Seminars, distance learning, technical assistance, pedagogical support and in-service training. In addition, the school is recognised as one of the best equipped in the city in terms of ICT, thanks largely to the generosity of major World ORT donors Mauricio Merikanskas, ORT America, as well as the alumni organisation of ORT Anieres. I am very grateful to these people and organisations, Mr Jakobas said. They have believed in the presence of a Jewish school in Vilnius they believed in the idea, in the people and in the school itself. They continue to believe.