Annual Report - AMIT

Annual Report

Debbie Moed

In its 92nd year, the evidence of AMIT’s impact on Israeli society is compelling. In 2016, the Ministry of Education singled out AMIT as the country’s leading educational network, citing its bagrut (matriculation) success rate, pedagogical innovation, pluralism and programs bridging educational gaps.

Eighty-five percent of AMIT students obtained their bagrut certificates, compared to the national average of 70%. AMIT students won national and international competitions in cyber, math and robotics and were awarded for social activism and civic involvement.

Gogya, AMIT’s innovative educational platform, enabled teachers throughout the network of 110 schools and programs to be trained in the most progressive, cutting-edge methods, benefiting students in classrooms across Israel.

In Haifa, the AMIT Anna Teich Ulpana placed in the top 5 in the Ministry of Education’s list of top-ranking high schools in the country. Measured are the percentage of students making honor roll, matriculation pass rates and low school-dropout rates. For the fifth year in a row, the ulpana achieved a 100% pass rate on the matriculation exam. It is unique in being the only one of the top-ranked schools to accept all students who apply. The ulpana’s dedicated teachers guide both advanced and remedial students, helping them achieve their utmost academic and personal potential, while gaining Jewish values and a love of Israel.

At AMIT, mainstream students learn alongside children with special needs, creating empathetic young adults. Girls are exposed to female entrepreneurs, thought leaders and scientists to introduce them to potential career choices. In addition to high academic achievements, AMIT’s more than 34,000 students are involved in community outreach, raising money and donations for those in need, organizing blood drives and volunteering with the elderly. Just ask Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who said, “I came to AMIT Hammer High School [in Rehovot] unexpectedly; no one knew I was coming — and my eyes lit up! I came and saw children busy with Maot Chitim. Academic achievements and values are both found in one excellent school.”

Multiply that sentiment by 110—that is the AMIT difference. Your support enables these outstanding results and the possibilities that AMIT opens for each and every student.

Debbie Moed

For 92 years, AMIT has been providing cutting-edge education to Israel’s diverse population and helping to empower children while instilling strong Jewish values. Motivated by the vision of Bessie Gotsfeld, z”l, AMIT was founded in 1925 to create vocational schools, and is the world’s leading supporter of religious Zionist education and social services for Israel’s children and youth. Today AMIT operates an extensive network of 110 schools assisting 34,000 children each year throughout 29 cities.

The AMIT network includes schools, youth villages, surrogate-family residences and programs ranging from kindergarten through high school. AMIT is blazing a trail in how children are educated, taking a holistic approach and introducing pedagogical methods that are transforming education throughout Israel. Because of AMIT’s focus on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – our students are exposed to the most advanced education and are ready to meet the demands of the 21st century.

In fact, AMIT has become a model that many Israeli schools outside the network are emulating. AMIT students are succeeding with average bagrut (matriculation) graduation rates of 85%, compared to the national average of 70%. AMIT was recently selected by the Ministry of Education as the leading educational network in Israel across the board in: quality bagrut, pedagogical innovation, pluralism and bridging the gap, lowest dropout rate and integrity.

Every day, our students live their Jewish values, which is an integral part of
AMIT’s core philosophy. While 70% of AMIT students come from the periphery of the country and from disadvantaged homes, and live in communities with high unemployment, crime and rampant substance abuse, they are the first in their families to graduate from high school. AMIT develops every child’s innate abilities so that they realize their full potential and become productive members of Israeli society. They go on to serve in the IDF or national service, and often enroll in university, fully equipped with the knowledge and skills for a bright future.

Together, with your support, we are closing the opportunity gap for children in Israel and leveling the playing field so that our children receive the education they need to lead healthy and productive lives, and contribute to a strong Israel.

We thank and are very grateful to our AMIT supporters.
Because of YOU, this is possible!

Providing Cutting- Edge Education

The robotics team at AMIT Kamah Yerucham High School for Girls won the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) National Robotics Competition and went on to represent Israel at the world championship in the U.S. 

The AMIT Sderot Sr. High School team won first place at the YTEK National Mathematics, Aerospace and Robotics Olympiad that took place at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Over 300 students from diverse communities throughout Israel faced off at the national contest. During the competition, students programmed a robot that simulates a driverless vehicle that travels using only sensors and programming.

Closing the Opportunity Gap

Baina Bitva, a senior at Ulpanat AMIT Kedumim High School, who immigrated with her family from Ethiopia six years ago, won the Agnon House writing competition. Baina read her story to the Knesset Education Committee recalling her journey from Ethiopia to Israel. “One month after we came to Israel, I started school and did not believe that I could learn Hebrew and never dreamed of earning a matriculation bagrut certificate. I am graduating from high school, and thanks to the love and support at the ulpana, I will earn my diploma,” remarked Baina.

Rabbi Rafi Maimon, principal of AMIT Hammer Rehovot High School for Boys, was recently recognized by the city of Rehovot as the outstanding principal of the year for his educational leadership and innovation, and for the emphasis he places on community involvement, empowerment of students, Jewish values and academic success. Under Rabbi Maimon’s leadership, the school has gone from a 45% to 90% bagrut success rate.

Instilling Jewish  Values

When Ohad Abutbul, a student at AMIT Bar Ilan Netanya High School and a Magen David Adom volunteer, heard that there was a shortage of blood in Israel’s blood bank, he and his friends organized a blood drive and recruited their fellow students and teachers. They also helped by donating their own blood.

Thirty-two students at the Ulpanat Shirat track at AMIT Sderot Religious High School donated their hair for cancer patients. Organized by Renana Cohen, a student who lost her younger sister to cancer five years ago, the group donation was a meaningful way of marking her sister’s yahrzeit.

AMIT Leads the Way in STEM & More

Science, Technology, Mathematics, Computers, Cyber, Engineering

AMIT is all about providing access to high-quality education in a creative and child-centric learning environment. AMIT’s pedagogical approach creates spaces where children are nurtured and encouraged to realize their full potential and to meet the demands of the 21st century. A revolutionary transformation is taking place at AMIT’s GOGYA learning center, the network’s hub for educational innovation and collaboration, a place where teachers learn how to teach in startlingly new ways.

Much of the teachers’ training takes place at the learning center on AMIT’s Kfar Batya campus in Ra’anana. The GOGYA building has the look and energy of a high-tech start-up. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are critical in this endeavor. AMIT also provides programs for children with a range of abilities and interests, including a wide array of vocational tracks to prepare them for successful careers.

The Next Wave of Science & Technology Stars

Ofra Pe’er, the principal at AMIT Renanim Junior and Senior Science and Technology High School for Girls, thinks that the next Prime Minister of Israel will come from her school. When you start with that goal in mind, there’s no stopping the students from achieving great things. Because of its outstanding reputation for academics, AMIT Renanim is attracting girls throughout Ra’anana, 30% of whom are new immigrants from around the world. “We believe that every girl should do whatever she likes,” said Ofra. “We give them all the tools they need to choose what they want to study, and bring in female role models from all professions to speak about the many career opportunities available to them.”

The school integrates science and art studies in a unique religious atmosphere. Renanim’s diverse array of majors includes physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, technology sciences, communications, art, social sciences, French and information technology. In addition to providing special programs in accelerated math and science, there is a center to help girls with learning disabilities who need special attention. The girls can choose to pursue advanced Torah studies as well. Renanim is opening new doors by providing access to high-tech studies in cyber and computers.

Just ask Meital, a 10th grade student, who said, “I am studying cyber and computers so that I can participate in the high-tech industries and get into a leading intelligence unit in the army.”

Arielle studies physics so that she can have different options, and is interested in engineering and the police. “I have gained a lot of confidence because of what I’m learning. Sometimes, we even get to teach the classes,” said Arielle. Girls come here because of the school’s strong reputation and because it offers the most diverse courses and has very high standards.

Will Meital or Arielle be Israel’s next Prime Minister?

ROBOTICS: It’s a Girl Thing, Too

The Kamah School for girls was established in 2006 in the Negev town of Yerucham and serves approximately 220 students. The girls at the school live their Jewish values every day. Access to high-quality education is leveling the playing field in this peripheral town and empowering the girls. The school seamlessly incorporates AMIT core values: incorporating active learning, Klal Yisrael, Torat Chaim, while doing their work in collaborative study communities. Each girl chooses an academic track and a creative one. The projects represent something very meaningful in their lives. Girls come to AMIT Kamah from all backgrounds. It is a highly desirable school throughout the region because of its holistic approach and reputation for academic excellence. The school accepts everyone, and 22% of the girls earn the Excellency Bagrut recognition as compared to 8% for the rest of Israel. This year, the robotics team at AMIT Kamah High School won the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) National Robotics Competition, and was chosen to represent Israel at the world championship in the U.S.

“AMIT Kamah girls proved that religious girls in the Negev can lead the country in technology and science. The young leaders persevered, built an ingenious robot, excelled at team work and contributed to the community. This is an achievement for the girls at AMIT Kamah and for the City of Yerucham,” said Mayor Michael Biton.

The AMIT Kamah girls adopted the elementary school in a nearby Bedouin village to teach the children robotics and help them establish their own independent robotics team. AMIT Kamah is developing strong women and empowering them to become future leaders in all industries and professions. This school is a role model for “Girl Power.”

Yael created a project that reflects a very difficult time in her life. Only through her art project was she able to express her true feelings. Yael’s home was destroyed by fire and life became very difficult for her family. Afterwards, her parents separated and her mother and brother moved away. She created a multimedia project that tells her very poignant story. For her project, she used a combination of boxes, which represent various stages of her home life, and created videos that were played on laptop computers placed inside each box.

Rising Graduation Rates = Rising Stars

AMIT Hammer Rehovot High School, established in 1971, has 540 students in grades 7-12. The school serves at-risk students. Over 70% of the boys get therapy each week, with more than 100 hours provided to the entire student body weekly. All the therapies take place within the school and include animal and dog training, music and art, gardening and personal coaching.

So, how do you go from a school once known as the Red Jail (school was painted red) to being called the White House in just two years? It only takes one dynamic person who won’t take “no” for an answer. At AMIT Hammer that person is Rafi Maimon, the principal. When Rafi took over this school six years ago the building was in very poor condition. Kids were literally climbing over a fence to use bathrooms at a nearby mall. He realized that it was imperative to renovate the physical space before he could introduce new educational ideas. While working on major structural improvements, Rafi and his team began an effort to repair the emotional state of the students. Under Rabbi Maimon’s leadership, the school has gone from a 45% to 90% bagrut success rate.

It’s a tough crowd; 20% of students face serious challenges, so Rafi has created a 24/7 framework to keep them out of trouble. Any student can take advantage of the Bayit Cham (warm home), which always has a social worker on staff. AMIT Hammer is also the first religious school that provides special education classes in every grade.

There’s a lot to be proud of – this year students won first place in a Holocaust knowledge competition against other yeshivot and ulpanot throughout Israel. One student is a judo champion. As part of the curriculum, a strong emphasis is placed on chesed or volunteering. One of the most impressive volunteer activities is that students tutor autistic children so that they can have a bar mitzvah. Synagogues in Israel do not prepare children who have disabilities for their bar mitzvah. So AMIT Hammer students took on the project and all the ceremonies are held in the synagogue at the school. About three years ago, Maimon realized that his students needed additional education before entering the military and he created the Pre-Army Junior College program at AMIT Hammer Rehovot.

Today, 60-90 students are enrolled at the junior college, and last year the first graduating class achieved a 100% matriculation rate.

Students at AMIT Hammer High School for Boys in Rehovot, in collaboration with members of the local community, led an effort to assemble Rosh Hashanah care packages for 200 needy families. The students also raised over 10,000 shekels to buy food staples for the care packages, and then they turned the school’s courtyard into a chesed assembly line to get the packages ready for the holiday. It was indeed a sweeter holiday for all!

Helping At-Risk Youth

When visiting the Ellen and Stanley Wasserman Campus at Kfar Blatt in Petach Tikva, visitors are taken by the lush oasis that greets them. The beautiful campus has everything: school, surrogate homes, a pre-army junior college and community center. The youth village provides at-risk teens with surrogate parents and a loving home (mishpachton). They eat their meals, do laundry and chores and spend their free time with their “family.” Here, the children receive the support and education they need to succeed in life. “We embody a holistic community where our kids not only learn academics but are taught life skills, such as how to manage their time and money and interact with society,” said Moshe Uziel, director of the Center for Technology and Leadership Values and a former child resident. The students come from neglectful, dysfunctional and even abusive families.

There is also a pnimiat yom program at AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village for students who do not live on campus, but receive the same services as on-campus students during the day. The village teaches Torah, Zionism and mutual respect, and aims to help each student reach his/her true potential.

The village employs social workers, psychologists and guidance counselors, all of whom provide intervention, support and direction. The campus also houses a rehabilitation center where teens with substance dependency issues get personalized help and drama and art therapy in an intimate setting.

Upon graduation, many students continue to the Center for Technology and Leadership Values. This innovative AMIT model combines advanced technological studies with army preparatory programs for young men and women. Together, the center’s components combine a values-based post-secondary educational experience with academic excellence.

The young adults who study at the junior college in the Center for Technology and Leadership Values are primarily graduates of the AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village who have come from dysfunctional families and abusive or neglectful homes. Without AMIT’s intervention, many would end up on the very margins of society.

The center works to develop the students’ life and leadership skills, and aims to provide young adults with the education, civic and family values needed for a meaningful army experience and for becoming productive Israeli citizens.

In the junior college portion of the program, young men study professional-level training in auto mechanics (including Auto-Tech, a cutting-edge course in high-tech automotive systems and hybrid cars) or industrial management, while young women train to become medical or legal secretaries. E-learning is an important study tool, and an environment steeped in the AMIT Gogya principles delivers innovative teaching methodologies. When the program is completed, students have the skills needed for a successful, productive life.

The New Moise Y. Safra, z”l, Kitchen and Dining Room at Kfar Blatt

The campus had a very old industrial kitchen that was crumbling and on the verge of failing to meet sanitation and health codes. It was not an adequate facility to provide the 700 meals served daily. When Shari and Jacob M. Safra, dedicated supporters of AMIT, visited Kfar Blatt, they realized the critical need to renovate the kitchen and dining room. They, and other members of the Safra family, decided to dedicate the renovation in loving memory of Moise Y. Safra.

Last September, the new Moise Y. Safra, z”l, Kitchen and Dining Room opened and it is now the beautiful central hub of the campus, where students gather to eat together and to celebrate Shabbat and holidays.