While you were enjoying the summer heat, at Dror Israel’s Karmiel high school, the connection between students and teachers remained active. Teacher Liran Leibowitz: “Even teens who aren’t students at the schools are invited to our activities. Our door is open to all youth.”
Translated from an article written by Eliza Rosen Haberman in the “Voice of Karmiel” newspaper
Students and teachers going to school of their own free will during summer break sounds like something that would only happen in another galaxy.
As it turns out, each summer, including this summer, educators at Dror Israel’s Karmiel high school aren’t letting up for a moment and are continuing to meet with their students.
While the school year for high schools across the country ended on June 20th, the educators from the Karmiel high school in Dror Israel’s school network are continuing to create moments with their students. They have been meeting their students wherever the teens are spending time throughout the summer: at home, at summer school courses for those who need them, at their boarding school, at their jobs, at Karmiel’s dance festival, and at youth movement summer camps. In addition to meeting them throughout the city, the educators also run Open School programming in the lobby of the high school, featuring a variety of activities and crafts.
Mor Baruch, the educator of a class of incoming 11th graders, along with her co-teachers, came to visit their students’ homes with a cold treat, “We really missed our students after not having seen them for over two weeks. So we decided to pop over to say hi with a refreshing popsicle. It was really important for us to meet with them and it seemed like our students really missed talking with us.” She added, “Thanks to these short meetings, we had the chance to get caught up on how their break has been so far, who has summer plans and who doesn’t, and of course, to hear all the class's hot new gossip.”
In addition to the educators’ activities outside of the school, they also run open programs every week in the school’s lobby. All of the school’s students are invited. “In our summer programming we try to alleviate the boredom that some teens feel over the summer break with a fun and educational program.”
“It’s a long break and not all our students always have something to do, so a few years ago we decided to open the school for social and fun activities,” shared Liran Leibowitz, an educator at the high school and the coordinator of the summer programs. “As part of our Open School programs, students and their friends take part in a variety of activities like baking workshops, open musical jam sessions, designing t-shirts, pizza and movie night and more. Even teens who aren’t students at the school are invited to our activities. Our door is open to all youth,” Liran adds.
Dror Israel’s high school in Karmiel was founded 16 years ago by graduates of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement – a group of young educators from Israel’s north who dreamed of creating a different kind of school that imparts values and tools for life, where the students aren’t measured by grades and numbers, and where there is a place for everyone to grow and blossom according to their unique abilities. Here, the class is a close social group encouraging self-expression of all its students. The school feels like a home.
Students at the school are teens from Karmiel, from the Misgav regional council, from Kibbutz Eshbal’s boarding school, and from all over the northern region of Israel who are looking for a framework to develop their unique personal and social skills and abilities through personal connections with educators who also serve as mentors for the students. Each student is assigned to an educator who will continue with them throughout their years at the school and who also creates close connections with the student’s parents. The personal connection and the earnest education create trust and openness, which replace strict discipline, rules, and punishments.
Learning at the school happens through a unique pedagogy called PBL - project based learning. This approach nurtures teamwork, creativity, project planning and time management skills.
The school features three tracks of vocational training: dog training and horse care which take place at the dog kennel and horse stables on Kibbutz Eshbal in which students learn to care for animals, to train them, and ride the horses, as well as the new photography track in which students learn to take photographs, edit them, and arrange exhibits.