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The Commencement of the School Year, 2005-2006

Wednesday 7 September 2005

September 1: Schoolchildren arriving for the new school year were delighted to discover the brand new school building awaiting them, so that suddenly there was much more room to play and learn. Many people, not just the school staff, but members of the community, had worked all summer so that, by the start of the school year, the new classrooms were ready. The result was impressive – a new, bright and spacious building, surrounded by green freshly turfed lawn.

the new building

 

A new lawn: before and after

The new building provided needed space for the school, which in recent years has agglomerated a number of prefabricated huts for extra classroom space. Its formal opening of the new building will take place later in the school year but, in the meantime, the 150 pupils in the primary school can enjoy it, the additional fifty at the junior high school level also benefited from expanded classroom space, as will the kindergarten, which is scheduled to move into the ground floor level of the new building – its old building being given to the nursery, so that all of the children’s educational system can be gathered together in the same area.

"welcome first graders!"

 

On opening day, an assembly meeting for the pupils took place as usual in the courtyard, with particular emphasis being given to welcoming new first grade students. The older children prepared garlands of flowers and colorful “welcome!” signs while the first graders passed with great excitement under the bridge formed by their elders in the sixth grade, welcoming them to the school.

 

At the ceremony we were honoured by the presence of the Chilean ambassador to Israel, Mrs. Sally Bendersky and representative to Palestine, Mr. Hernan Tassara, who were invited to say a few words to the school children.

(Co-princ. F. Mansour, Amb. Bendersky, Sect. Gen. A. Najjar, pupil M. Najjar, Co-princ. D. Lugassi, Amb. Tassara)

 

After the festive morning hours, the students moved on to their school work, the sign that the school year had truly began.

This year’s enrollment

 

For various reasons, including graduations and a fall-off in enrollment of Jewish pupils, 2005-2006 attendance is down from last year. The following table shows comparative figures for Jewish and Arab students this school year:

Level  Jewish c.  Arab c.  Total
Nursery 4 2 6
Kindergarten 1 23* 24
1st Grade 8 10 18
2nd Grade 9 13 22
3rd Grade 6 14 20
4th Grade 10 20 30
5th Grade 14 13 27
6th Grade 2 21 23

* One child of a Jewish mother and Arab father.

Changes in the School Program

- The school day has been lengthened, in keeping with recommendations for country-wide Dovrat Report program for educational reform. The school day begins at 8:10 am. and ends at 3:05 pm. This year, there are eight classes a day whereas, last year, students had seven classes a day.
- The smaller number of students in each classroom offers us the opportunity to make changes in the educational strategy: In all classes there is now one teacher who is responsible over the entire classroom along with an accompanying teacher. If the head teacher is Jewish, then the second teacher will be Arab, and vice-versa.

 

The Curriculum

Besides their usual program of studies, children this year will benefit from the following:

Ecology and environmental studies:

- Each class will receive a plot of land that they are responsible for and which they’ll cultivate during the year. The work in the pet zoo (home to rabbits, geese, lizards, and other small animals) and the greenhouse will be supplemented by visitors from outside who will give the students professional guidance.

Improvements in the computer room and library:

- The computers have been moved to the upstairs classrooms in the older school building. The goal is to upgrade both the computers and the library and to incorporate both into one unit. Reading and reference books will be acquired in both languages, along with additional furniture for the library. The teachers responsible for the library will choose some trustworthy readers among the students to help with the lending of books.

Archeology:

- The fifth, sixth, and possibly fourth grades will take part in archaeological studies. The goal is to learn about historical processes and development by way of archaeological findings. The work will be done in cooperation with the educational department of Israel’s Bureau of Antiquities.

Science:

- A special room has been set aside for use as a laboratory. Our goal is to equip the laboratory in order to expand the school’s science curriculum..

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