I have always believed that a school cannot cut its way to excellence. Important as expense management is, a school must continually invest in its educational program. That is why I have been leading the way in creating and implementing opportunities for advanced learners who seek enrichment. One example is the Advanced Placement program, which will begin in 2016 and which will give qualified students the opportunity to earn university credit or placement.
Now, I am thrilled to announce a second initiative that I have been working on for the past two years. In 2016, we will open the Chai Engineering Academy, a program of study that will offer students Ministry-approved courses in areas related to engineering design, coding, and robotics. Thanks to a generous gift from Daniel and Anita Chai, grandparents of one of our students, we are inaugurating courses that will prepare students to become some of the most desired applicants to elite university engineering programs.
The goal is to empower students with a robust approach to solving complex authentic problems. Through hands-on classroom discovery, authentic projects, field trips, and exposure to guest speaker engineers in medicine, technology, energy sciences, business and industry, students will gain intrinsically valuable and transferable skills in problem-solving, creative thinking, and critical reasoning. A connection to the high tech world of Israel, the “Start-up Nation,” will be an indispensable part of the program.
The Chai Engineering Academy will open officially in the fall of 2016. However, we will begin to excite students about the Academy with comprehensive and cutting-edge robotics programming in September 2015. Through co-curricular and extra-curricular clubs, we will introduce students to hands-on robotics projects where students learn about and use robot mechanisms, mircro-processors, and intelligent controls.
TanenbaumCHAT will also partner with several companies to expose students to the various uses of robotics technology and introduce other technologies (e.g. CAD). At the start students will primarily utilize Arduino, which is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software that enable students to make interactive projects. A highlight for students will be the partnership with the leading robotics team in Israel at the Goldwater School in Eilat.
The Chai Engineering Academy further underscores the value of a TanenbaumCHAT education. It demonstrates one more way that we reach higher and higher in order to provide our students the tools to contribute something of enduring significance to the world around them.