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Starting an Uncertain School Year Amid the Pandemic

For the last month, educators from throughout Dror Israel’s varied programs have been preparing for an amazing (and unusual) school year. Most high school students in Israel will be learning remotely for most of the week and attending school only a few days each week. Because most of Dror Israel’s schools and boarding schools are specifically for at-risk youth and have small class sizes in any case, they have received approval to operate at (mostly) normal capacity and schedules.

Over two hundred of our teachers, counselors and principals met up for a unique seminar over the last weekend of August to kick off the school year. Unlike the large party atmosphere of past summers, it was held in four different locations, each divided into sub-groups, and lectures delivered via video – in order to fully comply with virus-related restrictions. These dedicated educators discussed what makes their brand of education unique, talked about how to help students through the pandemic, grappled with some of Israel’s education system’s greatest challenges at this time, and learned about some of the most exciting projects completed by students and teachers last year.

Dror Israel’s social project-based learning has never seemed more critical than during the pandemic – the Dror Galil high school students put their high tech skills to work designing and creating face shields for hospitals and nursing homes at the height of Israel’s protective equipment shortage; Mechinat Yiftah agriculture track students worked on farms who lacked the hands to pick and pack produce during the lockdown; and preschool kids in Rishon Letzion met senior citizens in their neighborhood and learned about bus etiquette, then designed posters about offering seats to seniors on the bus which were printed by the city government and put up on bus stops.

We can’t wait to see our new and returning students, from pre-school to gap year, on September 1st!

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