Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jerusalem of Gold and of Pre-State Undergrounds

Dr. Yossi Londin
Jewish History and Civics Department, Orot Israel College

During the month of Marcheshvan, some seventy Orot Israel College students from the history and Eretz Yisrael studies departments visited central Yerushalayim with stops at several interesting sites, including the Museum of Underground Prisoners, Beit HaRav Kook, and the King David Hotel.
During the course of the tour, the students were fascinated to hear about the Etzel and Lechi fighters’ heroism both inside and outside the prison walls. Particular focus was placed on the stories of the female Etzel and Lechi volunteers who paid a heavy personal price for their bravery and dedication.
 At the Museum of Underground Prisoners, the discussion quickly turned from the events of the 1940s to current events and related educational questions – such as Menachem Begin’s attitude toward the so-called “ethnic demon” (“Ashkenazim? Sephardim? Jews!”); the death penalty for terrorists; and the question of military service or national service for girls today.
Beit HaRav Kook was the next stop, where the students discussed Rav Kook’s heritage and its educational significance. From there, the tour moved to the King David Hotel, where the Orot students learned about the Jewish underground fighters’ gallant stand against the British Empire. The students enjoyed hearing about how the fighters would stroll around the area in couples – as if they were out on innocent “dates” – while actually scouting out potential approach, escape, and attack routes.
Afterwards, the students discussed the educational value of historical tours in general and studying the period of the pre-State underground militias in particular. They also talked about the Education Ministry’s new policy of integrating school trips within the curriculum and the matriculation exams.
When the Orot students went home at the end of the jam-packed day, they left behind many satisfied storekeepers and business owners, who were thrilled by the sudden influx of young customers at lunchtime. Thus, not only did the Orot students have a wonderful time learning about one period in Yerushalayim’s history, but they were even able to help ease some of the financial hardship endured by the local merchants due to the current terror onslaught.

"Growing" New Teachers: Orot Israel College’s Teacher Induction Program

Racheli Bartuv 
Teacher Induction Program Coordinator, Elkana Campus

What happens at the end of one’s senior year? How does one register with the Education Ministry? How does one find a teaching job? How does one get tenure? What should one do if one’s paycheck hasn’t arrived? Who supports new teachers?

Recent years have seen a worrisome increase in Israel’s dropout rates for teachers within the first five years of their careers. Students who are mentored at the start of their teaching careers are supported and guided as they begin teaching, develop professional identities, and learn to deal with conflicts. Thus, many colleges and universities now offer teacher induction programs.

Orot Israel College’s teacher induction program involves student mentoring and professional development and accompanies the student from graduation until retirement… Staff members include the program’s coordinators (Mr. Natan Fried in Rechovot and Mrs. Racheli Bartuv in Elkana), internship coordinators (Dr. Zev Kaim in Rechovot and Mrs. Dorit Deutsch in Elkana), course coordinator (Mrs. Sarah Eliash), and a team of workshop and course instructors.

On 12 Kislev 5776, we had the honor of welcoming Dr. Sara Zilbershtrom, director of the Education Ministry’s teacher induction department, who visited Orot together with two of her colleagues: Dr. Dalia Immanuel and Dr. Tzvia Shimoni. Participants at the festive gathering included Rav Professor Neria Guttel, Orot Israel College’s president; Rav Dr. Moshe Rachimi and Rav Dr. Yechiel Lash, the academic deans; and the staff and coordinators of Orot’s teacher induction program.

Dr. Zilbershtrom presented her department’s objectives for the 5776 school year:
1. Placement: Preparing for the in-service training year, coordinating with human resources and the
    school districts, and job placement via a dedicated website used by principals and superintendents.
2. Absorption: Following up on the trainees and new teachers’ orientation, partnering with the
    schools and the mentors, and strengthening the relationship between those in the field and the
3. Assessment: Overseeing the assessment of trainees and new teachers on the path to tenure.
4. Recognition: Organizing competitions for the schools and the trainees. (This year, four trainees
    from Orot Israel College’s Rechovot campus came in first in these competitions.)
5. Resources and technology: The department encourages faculty members and trainees to use Bar
    Ilan University’s educational simulation center, where they learn effective ways of dealing with
    professional difficulties and challenges.
6. Research and development: Satisfaction surveys and quality control for the mentoring process;
    conducting studies of the induction program’s activities.

At the end of the visit, Dr. Zilbershtrom said that she had enjoyed meeting the induction program’s staff from both Orot campuses and that she was very impressed with their dedication and commitment to the students. She also expressed her best wishes for the teacher induction program’s continued growth and success.

To Be Or Not To Be… A School Principal

Dr. Hodaya Hoffman
Educational Administration and Organization Department, Orot Israel College

More than a century ago, theoreticians were asked if management is a “profession” and if it requires schooling. At Orot Israel College, it’s no longer a question; it’s an established and welcome fact. Our educational administration and organization department offers a master’s degree program, whose graduates go on to serve as school principals throughout the country.
The program was founded in 5771, and today boasts over 250 current students. In fact, Orot Israel College has more educational administration and organization students than any other religious college in the entire country. The faculty includes leading experts in the field. On a personal level, I have had the privilege of being affiliated with the program for the past six years, and I am struck by how it has grown and developed – both in terms of quantity and quality – over the years. It is truly meaningful to play a role in training a new generation of school principals, who represent the most important link in the education system.
Orot’s program, which received temporary approval from the Higher Education Council, is now in the final stage before receiving full accreditation. The program’s goal is to train students to serve as school principals or in other administrative capacities, such as department coordinators, vice principals, and so on. During the course of their studies, the students acquire relevant skills, including decision making, team leadership, human resources administration, administering budgets, and establishing educational policies. The courses are based on the latest research and theories and are all recognized and approved by the Education Ministry. We believe that management in general (and school administration in particular) is an art that must be studied and developed. Our program’s reputation precedes it, and students come from all across the country: from Tzfat, the Beit She’an Valley, central Israel, the Shfela, the Shomron, and Ashkelon.
The curriculum consists of traditional courses, online courses, workshops, various trips, and a final research project. Courses include decision making, administrative skills, educational economics, initiating change, educational leadership, the Israeli educational system, human resource administration, educational ethics, team leadership, and more. Students visit schools and meet with principals, faculty members, and pupils. Typically, the visits revolve around a specific theme – i.e. pedagogic innovations or school climate. After studying the topic on a theoretical level, the Orot students get a chance to see it implemented on a practical level. Each trip is organized by the educational trip coordinators (Dr. Chaim Shaked and myself), and we thank the schools for opening their doors to us, giving us some of their valuable time, and strengthening the bond between the academic world and the field. It is a two-year program – including a summer semester following the first year. Classes are separate for men and women and held on Mondays. Graduates are awarded master’s degrees and can submit their candidacies for school principal positions after completing the Avnei Roshah Institute’s principal course.
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a school principal, Orot Israel College is the place for you! We’re waiting for you!