Village Way concept of “Earth” creates a warm, home-like environment for at-risk students at Naamat Ein Mahal High School in northern Israel.
When Naamat Ein Mahal High School, an Arab high school in the north of Israel, moved to a new school building this year, its educators embraced the Village Way concept of “Earth” to create a warm, home-like environment for their at-risk students.
Naamat Ein Mahal High School is in its second year of the Village Way integration process. Last year, the school was located in a dilapidated building with run-down facilities. Many of its students had already experienced educational failures in other schools, and the poor quality of the physical environment of the high school reinforced feelings of despair.
When the school moved into its new building in 2019, teachers and students worked together to create clean and welcoming learning spaces that reflected worthiness and community. One educator shared, “This was a wonderful process that brought us all together, and was very, very meaningful.”
Putting Village Way Concepts to Work
In Ein Mahal’s new school, wall space is utilized to send important messages, of belonging, home, safety, and success. Staff and students worked together designing and painting the once white walls.
Student artwork now decorates the hallways and classrooms. Bulletin boards (photo to right is Stop Violence bulletin board) send messages on topics that are important to the school community, such as speaking out against violence in Arab society. Clean, new facilities send the message to students that they are worthy of such resources, that they are valued in the community.
In another new Village Way inspired program this year, Ein Mahal established a student council program. This is an opportunity for students to learn important practical lessons, take on leadership roles and responsibility for the school community, and gain important life skills.
The student council program (photo, left) included workshops for all students on issues of democracy and democratic institutions, and also covered gender issues and the role of women in politics. These sessions were followed by campaigns and elections, resulting in a group of students ready and willing to be involved leaders for their school community.