Jerusalem Principals learn from the Hand in Hand model

On Tuesday, November 11th, 40 elementary school principals from all over Jerusalem gathered at the Max Rayne Jerusalem Hand in Hand school to learn about the unique educational model as part of the Municipal Principal's forum. The session focused on racism and violence in Jerusalem in the aftermath of the anti-Arab graffiti on the school and the escalating tension in Jerusalem.

The forum began with two speakers who shared their visions of shared living in Jerusalem.  After that, there was a discussion led by the Hand in Hand principals Nadia Kennan and Arik Sporta as well as three teachers and three students from Hand in Hand.

In the discussion, the principals heard about Hand in Hand's unique educational approach - the vision, dilemmas and responsibility for the public space outside of the school. Students and teachers gave examples of how Hand in Hand's educational values are implemented in the school. Among the examples, they spoke about the dual-teacher model, in which there are two teachers, one Jewish and one Arab, in each elementary school classroom. They also addressed how the school relates to the recent rising tension and violence in Jerusalem – students spoke about the conversations that were held in the classrooms that gave space to each student to share their personal feelings – no matter how difficult or confused.

The principals and Shuli Dichter, Hand in Hand CEO, said that "The basis for our work is building a social and pedagogical mechanism that is able to contain and include both narratives - Palestinian and Jewish - as well as a wide range of emotions and feelings on both sides."

The principals responded warmly thanked HIH principals and the organization.  They expressed a need to deepen the way their schools address issues of conflict. Etti, a principal of an elementary school in the Armon Hanetziv neighborhood, said: "This school is an inspiration for me in this conflicted reality in Jerusalem. I hope to continue learning from you."

Another principal asked to have encounters between the teachers in her school and the Hand in Hand teachers, so that her teachers can learn how to create dialogue in classrooms about the conflict.

All agreed that this is just the beginning of this type of cooperation and that the city schools have a lot more to learn from Hand in Hand.

Both Ministry of Education District Supervisors who organized this meeting thanked and praised the Hand in Hand school, and said: "This school is a ray of light for all schools in Jerusalem. We hope that we can soon build more schools like this in this city."  

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