Students get help from Federation gifts

May 25, 2012

Uncategorized

Students at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater are fortunate to have some of the most modern, technologicallyforward learning tools in their classrooms. Some of the hi-tech tools come via the use of Interactive White Boards, commonly known as smart boards, which allow teachers to engage their classes in lessons while connected to the internet, or a printer, or a multi-media set-up.

In many parts of the United States and throughout the world, however, purchasing smart boards and funding the continued education required for teachers to effectively use them is cost prohibitive.

In Israel, for schools and communities on the periphery—with limited resources, crowded classrooms and large immigrant populations—the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is helping to meet the challenge of engaging disadvantaged students in learning, in training teachers, and in equipping classrooms with these state-of–the-art learning tools.

Through generous gifts made to the UJFT, and subsequent allocations to World ORT, the Tidewater Jewish community is participating in the highly successful Israeli program Kadima Mada, or Science Journey.

World ORT first launched Kadima Mada in 2007 in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education. The multi-faceted, multi-million dollar project has redefined science and technology education in Israel, combining state-of-the-art, interactive classrooms with progressive pedagogical techniques and ongoing teacher training.

Smart boards are an essential part of the program. They replace traditional chalk-andtalk teaching methods, allowing instructors to explain lessons with accompanying visuals from a web-connected computer and LCD projector. Students don’t just sit and listen; they interact, “writing” on the board with computerized markers connected to laptop or desktop computers.

Sara Trub is a member of the UJFT’s Israel and overseas committee, an active member of the local ORT chapter, a former vice-president of ORT America, and an incoming World ORT allocations and fundraising committee member. She says Israeli teachers who are fortunate enough to be a part of the Kadima Mada project are seeing much more involvement in their classes.

Students in two Israeli schools are now equipped with UJFT-supplied smart boards. The money allocated from the community was matched by the government; four “smart” classrooms are actively being used by hundreds of students.

Israel is not the only country where Tidewater’s generosity is making a difference. For students who attend the ORT Aleph Jewish Gymnasium (school) in Zaporojie, Ukraine, donations from UJFT mean they can reliably get to school. Through a World ORT program, private busses take students to and from school, relieving parents of the $1,500 average transportation costs per month, per child.

“The grants from our Federation toWorld ORT’s programs over the past 10 years have made a significant difference in the lives of Jewish students, not just in Israel and the Ukraine, but also in Argentina during its financial crisis,” Trub says.

To learn more about ORT programs in Israel, two ORT students from Kiryat Ata will be in Tidewater on June 8. For more information, contact Abbie Laderberg at 497- 7238, Sara Trub at 572-7037, or visit the Community Calendar at www.jewishva.org.

For more information about smart boards and Kadima Mada, visit www.jewishva.org to watch a video.

by Laine M. Rutherford

Letter to the Editor