Samara ORT Secondary School # 42, "Gesher"

Secondary School # 42 was founded in 1939 and is one of Samara’s oldest educational institutions. It was originally an all-boys school, then became an all-girls school, then held night classes and finally became a general secondary school.

In 1999, classes were introduced for the study of Hebrew and Jewish history, culture and traditions. In the same year, an ORT Technology Center was opened, thanks to cooperation between World ORT and the Samara Region Ministry of Education. Nowadays, ORT Secondary School # 42, "Gesher" is one of the most advanced computerized schools in the region.

Name of SchoolORT Secondary School # 42, "Gesher"
Location Samara\Russia
Age rangeElementary, Junior High, High School
Students706
Teachers45

Structure and General Education

ORT Secondary School # 42, "Gesher" caters for students from 1st through to 11th grade. It has an official status as a municipal-subsidised educational institution with in-depth study of several subjects. The school has two departments: “General Education” and “General Education with study of the Jewish cycle” (Gesher), attended by 66% and 34% of the student population respectively. 

Alongside the general education provided in accordance with the Russian Federation National Curriculum and Regional Curriculum of Samara Region, the school also has two advanced study tracks supported by ORT: Jewish education and technology education.

Jewish Education

This subject is taught in the 2nd -9th grades. Students often undertake their own projects, preparing for Jewish events and holidays. In the 5th-9th grades the project is adapted according to the Israel program “Ethics and Tradition of Jewish People”. 

Hebrew lessons are provided for all students from the 1st through to the 11th grade. Students in the 1st -4th grades are taught under the TaL AM program. All other students are taught according to the Hebrew Study curriculum approved and recommended by the Moscow Institute of Open Education for the Jewish Schools of the FSU. Hebrew is taught as an official in-depth study subject at the school, and is obligatory for all students of the “Gesher” Jewish Department.

Students take Hebrew for three hours per week in the 1st grade as an after-class activity, in the 2nd -9th grade three hours per week as in-depth study and in the 2nd-4th grades there is also one hour per week as after-class activity. In the 10th -11th grades Hebrew is studied for two hours per week. Various ORT and Heftsiba projects enable Hebrew teachers to receive appropriate professional development training.

Students in the 1st to 4th grade study literary works for children created by Jewish writers and poets – both classical and contemporary. Through their study of this literature, students become more familiar with the history, traditions and customs of the Jewish people. This program is developed by the School teacher Simona Fleisher.

This subject is studied in the 5th to 11th grades for one hour per week according to the program developed by Liana Simasheva and Mikhail Valyak.

This course is studied in the 10th grade, in preparation for students’ participation in Masa Shorashim –  an experiential educational trip within the FSU countries where students trace the Jewish history of the region through visiting places of both Jewish destruction and Jewish life.

Students in the 1st to 7th grades learn Hebrew songs in preparation for Jewish events and holidays.

Grants & Contributions to the National Education System

In 2007, Samara Secondary School # 42 ORT “Gesher” began its cooperation with Hewlett-Packard in line with the grant framework “Transforming Teaching and Learning through Technology”. The school’s mobile multimedia computer lab was built with this grant funding, in addition to support from ORT.

In 2009, the school won a second grant from Hewlett-Packard in line with the framework “Innovation in Education”. The grant was used to develop the project “Highway to High Tech: School, University, Career”, the aim of which was to teach students about using high-tech technology in their daily lives, to involve the whole school community in activities using high-tech technology, and to promote further education and careers in the high-tech field.

Samara Secondary School # 42 ORT “Gesher” has valuable experience of promoting tolerance and mutual respect in the wider community. Students participate in the city’s multi-ethnic conferences devoted to the issues of tolerance, describing their projects related to the history of Samara. Jewish teaching staff share their experiences with other Jewish organizations of Samara, and actively participate in national and international conferences addressing the challenges of multicultural education.

The school trains computer science and technology teachers across the Samara region on topics such as using technology as a means of building design process thinking under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Samara region.

Sunday School

Sunday School has taken place at Secondary School # 42 "Gesher" since 2002. All subjects are taught within an informal educational framework, which includes Jewish holiday celebrations, quests, family clubs, games, conferences, film projections, project presentations and excursions. The Sunday School is an active participant in the Samara International Program, organised by the Centre for Informal Education of the Oktyabrskiy District of Samara.

The following subjects are taught at the Sunday School

Taught for both children and parents - classes are taught in accordance with the Hebrew Study curriculum approved and recommended by the Moscow Institute of Open Education for the Jewish Schools of the FSU.

The Sunday School has an animation studio in which students produce cartoon films on topics of ancient Jewish history. A number of films have won prizes in competitions. 

Students and teachers work on thematic projects, such as family histories, community histories and the Holocaust.

This course is based on a program of "folk-stage dances. The dances are specially adapted for the Sunday School, which boasts dance ensemble groups including “Shemesh”. Watch video here