LONGMEADOW – Heritage Academy in Longmeadow has been named the first day school in the United Stated to be selected for an international pilot of Kadima Mada, a program of World ORT.
Since 2007, World ORT Kadima Mada (WOKM) has been providing cutting edge technological tools and pedagogical training to enrich the teaching and learning environment in classrooms throughout Israel.
Now WOKM the The Kadima Mada program will launch at Heritage Academy offering World ORT’s expertise in cutting edge educational techniques.
“They are going to come in and train us, as well as help us set up “smart classrooms,” said Heritage Academy’s Lead Administrator Lauren Life. “It is one thing to get a smartboard, but it is another thing to teach teachers how to use it for instruction and to spend time with teachers developing lesson plans so that they get comfortable with it. This is a whole new way of teaching and learning. Kids are obviously leaning differently because of new technology.”
Meredith Dragon, executive director of the Federation and other Federation leaders have visited numerous World ORT schools in Israel, Eastern Europe and South America. After seeing the Kadima Mada classrooms in action, they forged a relationship with World Ort to bring their expertise to Heritage Academy.
“The Helen and Shefford Goldband Transforming Teaching and Learning Project is an outstanding opportunity for Heritage Academy,” said Dragon. “This groundbreaking partnership between a day school in the USA and a well respected International Educational Institution, World ORT, is really unprecedented. I am so thrilled that our Federation was able to bring these two institutions together for such an extraordinary project. Because of the generosity of the Goldbands this project is being funded through a Charitable Gift Annuity that was held at our Jewish Endowment Foundation.”
Heritage Academy has made several advancements in recent years with technological infrastructure and hardware that has primed the school for such a partnership, Life said, including providing iPads for the middle school students as an educational tool for the past two years with great results. “This was the start of a long-term plan to upgrade the way we deliver instruction…We had already made these initiatives towards technology and we were already on our way,” Life said, but through the pilot program, the school’s staff will get needed training.
A representative from the WOKM program will come to Heritage at the end of May to meet with teachers and the schools IT staff to access where the school is now in terms of technology. In August, they will return for 10 days to work with the staff again to implement the new technology and to train teachers.
“The best part of the project is that our Heritage students will benefit from cutting edge teaching methodology enhanced by extraordinary technological tools and expertise of World ORT,” Dragon said. “The smart classrooms will open up new worlds to our students offering them global classrooms, right in Longmeadow.”
“The partnership with World ORT is an incredible opportunity for our school, our faculty, and certainly for our students. Sharing this with the community will make more people aware of the emphasis we place on delivering an outstanding education from both secular and Judaic perspectives,” said Dr. Adina Elfant, co-president of the board of directors.