MTA’s Adopt-A-School initiative adopts a holistic approach to improving pupil happiness, achievement, retention and successful integration into institutions of higher education. It takes under its wing an entire Arab school community—pupils, parents and teachers—and implements a combination of rigorous academic learning (either one-on-one or in small groups), a dedicated literacy program, academic excellence program, teacher professional development and parent involvement activities.
Through these various activities, Adopt-A-School helps youth overcome academic, religious, social, emotional and cultural obstacles that bar the way to higher education and integration into the workforce. The program further instils in participants the feeling of self-worth and accomplishment and provides them with the skills and knowledge needed to enter higher education on par with other students, negating the need for affirmative action in the acceptance process. The multiple expected benefits of this first-of-its kind program include advancing the socio-economic standing of the next generation of Arab adults, and consequently Arab communities, and, thus, hopefully addressing the entrenched and long-standing disadvantages Arab communities face in Israel. In doing so, Adopt-A-School will inevitably contribute also to the prosperity and stability of Israeli society.
MTA’s academic staff are intimately involved in the program’s development and teacher training, while many of its student’s volunteer in the various Adopt-A-School programs.
Currently, Adopt-A-School operates in the Arab Ironi Lamed Gimal (ILG) High School in Yaffo, but MTA’s intention is that this program become a blueprint for duplication throughout Israel. The ILG High School is home to 320 pupils and 52 teachers and staff. The second tier of influence is the surrounding, mostly underprivileged, Arab community, who will be exposed to this unique, inspirational model and experience a ripple effect due to the dissemination of knowledge, skills and attitudes by the pupils to the wider population.
Adopt-A-School represents an unprecedented collaboration with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo. The impetus for the program was the municipality’s desire to improve the quality of education in its Arab high schools. It approached MTA, who has vast experience in this field thanks to many previous education programs that it has initiated in the its surrounding disadvantaged communities of Yafo and South Tel Aviv. MTA heeded the call and, together with the teachers and staff at ILG, built a holistic, targeted program that is especially suited to advancing the academic and career prospects of the Arab pupils at ILG.