ORT Network Jewish Secondary School, Riga

A Jewish secondary school - named after Shimon Dubnov - was set up in Riga in 1989, becoming the first Jewish state school in the former Soviet Union. The school moved to new premises in 2010, in which World ORT installed state-of-the-art ICT, science and robotics laboratories. In 2011-2012, the school was ranked as the 8th best secondary school in Latvia, according to the Latvian Ministry of Education. In addition to providing education in line with the state curriculum, the school offers advanced study in two tracks: Jewish education and technology education.

Name of SchoolORT Network Riga Jewish Secondary School
Location Riga/Latvia
Age rangeElementary, Junior High, High School
Students291
Teachers39

Jewish Education

All students study Hebrew for 3 to 4 hours per week, depending on age.

Students in the 5th and the 9th grades learn about events and holidays in the Jewish calendar, together with learning about Jewish identity and Jewish traditions.

Students in the 5th grade are introduced to the idea of Jewish history and develop an appreciation of why it is important for Jewish people to study their history. In the next year students cover a period spanning the biblical patriarchs to the Second Temple period. In the 7th grade pupils study the Talmudic era and the period of emancipation.

Students in the 8th and the 9th grades study the history of the Jews in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Students in the 10th grade study the history of the Holocaust. Students in the 11th grade study the history of Zionism, including its goals and objectives, Zionist personalities, and other countries’ attitudes to Zionism. In 12th grade the students revise all the material they have learnt in preparation for examinations.

This course is studied in the 10th to the 12th grades. It develops students’ understanding of the essence of the commandments, of approaching Talmudic texts, of Jewish ethics and of philosophy.

Informal Jewish Education

The school runs a leadership (hadracha) school, a Jewish scout troop, a variety of Shabbatonim, Jewish art and singing clubs, and a Jewish dance ensemble.

Technology Education

In Lower Secondary, students learn to work with office software applications, they learn how to make effective use of the Internet for research, and they learn coding algorithms.

In Upper Secondary, students learn about databases and how to use database management systems together with office software, learning to create web-pages.

Students in the 4th grade learn about devising algorithms, how to use basic programming tools like LOGO, and how to work with graphic editing programs.

The aim of this course for students in 5th to 7th grade is to learn the basics of object-oriented and graphical programming. Through working with robotics equipment, students learn about key ideas relating to information technology, problem-solving and dividing up problems into smaller components, developing and testing hypotheses, and how to deal with unexpected results.

Robotics teams successfully participate at Festival-Competition of Robotics among students and teachers of ORT network schools in the CIS and Baltic countries.

Students in the 10th and the 11th grades learn about different styles of programming and different programming languages, such as Fort, Ruby, Python, C, Pascal and Java.

This is an optional course for students in the 12th grade who want to develop their expertise with applications such as LibreOffice Writer, LibreOffice Draw, Kompozer web-editing program, Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Excel

Contributions to the National Education System

  • One of the school’s most experienced mathematics teachers has authored a number of textbooks and gives teaching master-classes to teachers across the city.
  • The school administration actively recruits for young innovative specialists; now they make up about 95% of school teachers.