From June 15 to 18, Professor Emeritus Dennis Orthner of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work trained over 170 teachers, principals and curriculum specialists to implement CareerStart in 20 middle schools in Israel. The teachers work in seventh grade classrooms, the first year of middle school in Israel, in schools that serve both Israeli and Arab students in the southern part of the country.
CareerStart, a project of the School of Social Work, is an intervention program that helps middle school students connect what they are learning in school to future career opportunities. The program is a way to reach those students most at risk of failing. Orthner helped launch CareerStart in 2005. He had one primary goal in mind: to keep more students in school.
“It was a fantastic experience with all my slides and materials translated into Hebrew and Arabic, and simultaneous translation for those educators who were not that proficient in my English presentation,” said Orthner. “The teachers I trained will be teaching English, Hebrew, Arabic and science.”
The training was well received. “My teachers came back from their sessions with light in their eyes and even higher motivation to implement the program in their teaching process,” said school principal Shelley Keren.
“Everyone left excited about the possibilities of supporting their students in this new pedagogy. It was so great to do this, and they loved the strong research foundation that we build to support the implementation,” added Orthner.
This was the first formal training and implementation of the CareerStart model outside of the United States.