For Immediate Release: Contact: Marcia Grayson
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 (732) 254-8300
East Brunswick Charter Opens Middle School with Winning Robotics Team
Two years ago, a group of Hatikvah International Academy Charter School parents, teachers, school administrators, and Board members asked themselves the same question that many of the finest universities in United States have grappled with as they transitioned into more current and relevant educational models, “What are the changes that need to be implemented in schools in order to best educate our students to become global thinkers and problem-solvers?” The theme that surfaced repeatedly at Hatikvah was to incorporate more opportunities for collaborative learning and additional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses.
This forum was held as the school prepared for its new middle school (grades 6-8) which opened this past August. Upon opening, a number of pioneering parents, some of whom had been informed risk-takers years before when Hatikvah opened its successful elementary school (K-5) and some who are brand new to Hatikvah’s approach to learning, were excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for their children to engage in new and different models than the more traditional ones offered in most public area schools.
This year, the school incorporated robotics as a regular middle school class within the school’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (Hatikvah is a Candidate school in this program). Robotics was incorporated into the program to facilitate mandatory education in design process thinking in the rapidly expanding field that encompasses programming, engineering, and collaborative learning.
In the past few weeks, Hatikvah’s middle school students and students from its elementary school, who participate in an after-school robotics club, took their newly developed skills on the road to participate in Robotics Education and Competition Foundation meets. The meets are held for students to build and program a robot to compete against other students in a worldwide competition. They vie for a spot in the World Championships where children from 30 different countries compete for the number one spot. There are more than 12,000 teams worldwide.
Hatikvah’s teams have been very successful with Zachary (grade 6) and Ofek (grade 4) placing second, just 3 points away from the first place winners and Jack (grade 6) and Katie (grade 5) winning first place this past Saturday. These students will be moving on to the State level championships competition. The school convinced Robot Revolution Inc. in South Orange, NJ to work with them since their owner, Chris Marbaix, already had a history of developing middle and high school level robotics champions.
Parents have been thrilled with the new class and club. “We are really excited to have the robotics program for our son Zach. The robotics program at Hatikvah provides a great opportunity for our children to develop critical thinking skills with hands on activity. This is another area where the school focuses on developing the foundational thinking skills needed for high school, college and beyond.”
Students in Hatikvah’s sixth grade believe that robotics is the most amazing class that they have ever had. Jack, this week’s first place winner, says, “Robotics has made this school more interesting. Most middle schools don’t have this program.”
Hatikvah is a tuition-free, public, secular school. Students become proficient in Hebrew language and engage in service-learning while following a rigorous course of core academics and interesting special subjects. The school’s mission includes teaching how to promote a better, more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect for diversity. Parents are welcome to apply for the 2016-2017 school lottery by completing an application for their children entering grades K-7 on the school’s website: www.hatikvahcharterschool.com.