The graduation ceremony of the first class of the Schwartz/Reisman Science Education Center, Rehovot, took place on June 29 in the Clore Garden of Science on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus. Participating were Weizmann Institute of Science President Prof. Daniel Zajfman, Rehovot Deputy Mayor Zohar Blum and Ness Ziona Mayor Yossi Shavo. Also present were the 207 twelfth-graders who had completed their final matriculation exam in physics. “When you learn physics,” said Prof. Zajfman, “you are learning a way of thinking. Graduates of the Schwartz/Reisman Science Education Center, Rehovot, can now do anything they desire. Special thanks to the most important people – the teachers,” he continued. “Teaching is the only profession that allows all the other professions to exist. Without people who commit themselves to helping our children to build their futures, we would not succeed in attaining ours.”
The Schwartz/Reisman Science Education Center, Rehovot, opened three years ago in the Ruth and Uriel Arnon Science Education Campus, on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus. Its aim is to give high-school students in Rehovot and Ness Ziona the opportunity to learn physics at a higher level. The unique approach of the Center was first developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science and applied, with great success, in Hemda Schwartz/Reisman Center in TA. The idea is to create a centralized space for all the students in the area, and then equip it with modern labs and the best possible physics teachers – those who will be continually involved in learning science themselves and updating their teaching methods. The students attend for free, and the center is run jointly by the municipalities of Rehovot and Ness Ziona and the Weizmann Institute of Science. The graduates attended classes in the Center twice a week for three years. One measure of its success: The cities of Rehovot and Ness Ziona are already reporting a rise in the number of students sitting for advanced physics and math matriculation exams.
The Center’s 15 teachers and three lab directors work full time; in addition to teaching these classes, they are given time to develop new curricula and tests, and to help one another. “We put 15 physics teachers in one room,” says Center Director Dr. Ronen Mir, “and they get really creative – and when they enjoy themselves, the students enjoy too.”
The Schwartz/Reisman Science Education Center, Rehovot, is supported by the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation; Ruth and Uriel Arnon; Manfred D. Moross; the Windsong Trust; and the Gelfand Family Charitable Fund.