Israeli teachers meet with faculty, students

Chronicle Staff


By Daniel Rothberg

Three teachers from Ironi Dalet High School in Tel Aviv met with administrators and students and toured sites in Los Angeles with faculty last week as part of a teacher exchange program.

The delegation comprised the school’s principal, the director of Ironi Dalet’s gifted program and an eighth grade dean.

Chaplain Emily Feigenson and Middle School Communications Department Head Jen Bladen visited Ironi Dalet earlier this year and helped coordinate Harvard-Westlake’s involvement in the trip.

The educators from Ironi Dalet met with several Harvard-Westlake administrators, including Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts and Head of the Middle School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau.

The meetings were intended to build relationships between the educators of both schools, according to the itinerary.

Additionally, the participants discussed trying to build an exchange program with Ironi Dalet, Bladen said.

“We never anticipated that the teacher exchange would be the last step. We’ve always hoped that we would have a permanent relationship with this other school,” Bladen said. “How that manifests itself is yet to be seen.”

Bladen said that several issues stand in the way of developing a student exchange program.

“There are so many factors,” Bladen said. “To be really frank, security is a factor for them coming here and for us going there.”

At the Upper School, the delegation attended two panels of Harvard-Westlake students.

The students on the first panel were chosen to represent the different aspects of student life, while the second panel comprised several Peer Support leaders and prefects.

The participants on the first panel spoke primarily about what they thought of their experience at Harvard-Westlake and what they might change about the school.

At the end of the panel, Ironi Dalet’s principal, Naomi Tissona, said she was amazed by how similar Harvard-Westlake is to her school.

Prior to the panels, Head Prefects Reid Lidow and Jennie Porter showed the delegation around the Upper School.

“I think they loved the school,” Lidow said. “They were amazed by our facilities.”

The Israeli delegation celebrated Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the receiving of the torah, at Donald and Paula Etra’s (Harry ’05, Dorothy ’08, Anna ’10 and Jonathan ’11) home on May 18.

The Israeli delegation also socialized with Harvard-Westlake teachers at off-campus events.

On Thursday, the delegation had dinner in Koreatown with several middle school teachers.

Bladen said that the delegation especially enjoyed this dinner because they had never eaten Korean food before and were impressed that English teacher Steve Chae was able to order the meal in Korean.