This is just one in a series of ongoing posts on the educational innovations in Israel. You can see additional coverage here.
New York City (the place I teach) is indeed a melting pot, and while New Yorkers embrace its diversity, teaching in a school where students are not fluent in English, and often are not even literate in their own language, is challenging. Students are often unable to perform at grade level, not because of their capacity to learn, but because of their capacity to understand the language. What’s more, after just one year in the country, foreign-born students are expected to perform on the same standardized tests as native speakers. When they don’t, there’s a domino effect: the student is labeled a failure. His parent feels like a failure. His teacher a failure, and if there are many such students in attendance, the school is labeled a failure. The failure however is not the student, teacher, or school. The failure is the a school system that is failing these students.
What if there was a way to change this scenario?
As one of five bloggers invited to be a part of #VibeIsrael’s #VibeEdu Education Innovation tour I had the chance to visit a school where none of this is the case. The Bialik Rogozin School provides a unique model where refugees and children of migrant workers, some of them with little or no schooling at all, are integrated into Israeli society with common sense educational strategies that any school or district could adopt.