The Learning Together program is an initiative implemented by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The program invites pairs of schools from East and West Jerusalem to participate in English language experiential learning in a bi-communal context.
In the 2019-2020 Academic Year, JPB led programming for three pairs of schools: Rowad al Quds and the Israeli Academy for Sciences & Arts (IASA); the Abdullah School and the Beit Hinuch School and Rowad el Quds and Keshet High School. Schools met for a series of workshops built around JPB's core leadership curriculum.
Arab and Jewish high school students share their identities
Some noteworthy successes include our ability to encourage school principals and teachers to engage with one another - not a simple task in a divided city. We were also able to support the teachers to add their own voices to the JPB curriculum. It was clear that schools with committed and engaged teachers, who co-facilitated the program together, enjoyed a much more integrated student body by the time the program ended.
But the work also included challenges. This was the first cross-border experience for the students and teachers from the pairs of schools. In fact, most participants had never engaged with the population from the other side of the city in a meaningful way. Students had many questions, biases and insecurities. Teachers were challenged to find the right balance between letting students participate with each other fully and facilitating the sensitive interactions. Also, the students came with varying levels of English making it challenging to ensure that no student was left out because of a language barrier. We thank JPB Educator Noura El Zokim for her leadership and we seek to further healing in Jerusalem by participating in next year's program!