Colegio Isaac Rabin
Colegio Isaac Rabin in the Republic of Panama is an open, not-for-profit, Jewish institution – founded in 2000 – committed to forming young citizens responsible for their own growth and learning, to promoting the acquisition of knowledge and critical thinking skills, and to the Judaic tradition and its continuity.
The school hopes to be recognized for its excellence, innovative spirit, the success of its graduates and its commitment to Judaic learning, as part of a network of institutions promoting a progressive perspective within the Jewish tradition and cultivating partnerships on a local, national and international level.
The school became affiliated with the ORT network in December 2012, as part of its commitment to raising the profile of science, technology and mathematics – and thereby providing students with opportunities to deepen their learning and open up possibilities for future study and careers.
Since 2009, Colegio Isaac Rabin has been an International Baccalaureate certified school. It offers the Primary Years Program and the Middle Years Program, both of which emphasize inquiry-based learning and inter and trans-disciplinary approaches. Teachers all undertake training in IB methodologies so as to be current with what is recognized as best educational practice.
In Pre-Kinder to 4th grade the school is also implementing the Singapore Math model, with the focus on developing number sense, problem solving and conceptual understanding, so that students perform well because they understand the material on a deeper level.
Outside of the curriculum, students participate in the Math and Science Olympics, local and international debating competitions, extensive community service activities and educational exchanges with other countries. The school also offers a variety of extracurricular programs in sport and the arts.
All students take Judaic Studies and experience a well-rounded Jewish education. Jewish students learn Hebrew, while students of other religious backgrounds learn French. The school celebrates all Jewish festivals, and marks Shabbat with a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony. In the senior year students participate in March of the Living.
The school is located in Panama’s “City of Knowledge,” situated close to down town Panama City and just across from the Panama Canal. The City of Knowledge is a hub of international and national organizations consisting of UN Agencies, NGOs, humanitarian and development organizations, innovative commercial firms and academic institutions. The City of Knowledge provides benefits and services for its members, including access to its sport and arts facilities.
Colegio Isaac Rabin is involved in a number of projects:
Between March and June every student in grades one through twelve designs and executes a project in science, a project around a theme of global importance. During three days in June, the projects are exhibited with each group provided an opportunity to present and explain their findings. Local experts attend, in order to evaluate the projects and offer talks on relevant themes in science.
Each class in the school, between pre-kinder and grade 12, develops, writes, organizes and performs a play for the festival every September. The school realized this annual festival because teaching through drama stimulates students’ creativity and imagination, develops their confidence and communication skills, and provides an outlet for their written and oral expression in English, the non-native second language of our community.
Orchestra, Choir and Band
The music department promotes a variety of activities during the school year. The Academy of Music gives students the opportunity to learn an instrument. The school Orchestras - one in primary and one in secondary - bring together the more advanced students in violin, viola, flute and cello among other instruments, and the Choir features selected students with vocal talents. Together these groups perform at special events and in two concerts yearly. The Band is charged with preparing annually for the Panamanian Independence Day parade, where the school’s students, with drums, lyres and batons, march alongside the rest of Panama’s schools and students.
Math and Science Olympics
These competitions are held at the national level in Panama. The school annually sends delegations to participate alongside public and private institutions in the country, in solving problems in math and science of a high degree of complexity and difficulty. The school has earned numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in recent years, and currently has one secondary student participating on the national mathematics team competing in international competitions and Olympiads.
March of the Living
The 12th grade class participates annually in the “Marcha por la Vida.” The trip to Poland and Israel, for an immersive experience in Jewish history and culture, represents the culminating experience of the study of the Shoa, realized in the grade 11 year. The school’s students return after the two-week journey every May, having had a powerful and transformative learning experience, and they present these learnings and reflections to their parents and to the community in a special annual event.
Patronato De Nutricion project at Las Gaitas
This project is designed to improve the nutrition and self-sufficiency of smallholder farming families. Patronato runs a program to train these rural families how to improve the quality of their subsistence farming and how better to prevent and manage problems with their crops. Students from the school help evaluate the needs of the assigned family, and collaborate with them during a few annual visits in order to help implement improvements and lend a valuable helping hand in the fields.
FANLYC is a foundation that supports Panamanian children with cancer, from newborns to the age of 18, and supports their families, many of whom are not able to pay for the necessary treatments. The school sponsors a child per year, and the students participate in fundraising activities and interact with the affected children and their families on a personal basis, to be a vital part of the support network in battling childhood cancer.