Israel’s Athena Fund today announced that nearly 500 special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in Jerusalem have received an iPad as part of the Athena Fund's iPad for Every Special Education Teacher program. In addition to the iPad, the teachers will receive 120 hours of professional training. They join special education teachers who received iPads last year, bringing the total number of Jerusalem’s special education teachers and kindergarten teachers who received iPads to about 1,000.

Through this Athena Fund program, about 10,000 special education teachers in Israel will receive iPads, along with special software and applications for students with special needs and disabilities. Since the program's launch in November 2015,     5    ,    746     special education and kindergarten teachers across Israel have already received iPads. The program is being implemented in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education's Department of Special Education under the direction of Rachel Abramson, and the Information Technology Division of the Ministry of Education, led by Roni Dayan.

The program is designed to empower special education teachers in Israel and enable them to communicate better with their students. In addition, the program provides access to a wide variety of teaching materials that significantly change the lives of students. Teachers can prepare special programs for their students using the iPad, and students can continue the learning experience at home after school.

"The experience we have amassed since the beginning of the distribution of the iPads to special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in Jerusalem about a year ago, shows that we are succeeding in doing things in the special education system that we could not do before. Athena Fund's distribution of the iPads complements the individual technological accessibility funded by the Ministry of Education and implemented by the Jerusalem Education Administration, in which students with special needs receive technological means that are tailored to their needs," said Noa Fahima, head of special education in Jerusalem Municipality. "The iPads allow teachers to adapt the environment to the needs of children with special needs, and enable the children to maximize their abilities and potential."

"The Jerusalem Municipality invests significant resources and efforts in the field of special education for all students with special needs, and we are happy to assist the municipality in these efforts and initiatives," said Uri Ben-Ari, president and founder of the Athena Fund. "The Jerusalem Municipality operates a variety of special education frameworks according to type of disability or difficulty, in order to adapt the educational and therapeutic staff to the school population, and create specific expertise in the field."

The iPad for Every Special Education Teacher program, launched in 2015, is one of Athena Fund's programs, including Laptop for Every Teacher (launched in 2007), Laptop for Every Kindergarten Teacher (launched 2012), Tablet for Every Science Teacher (launched 2014) and Laptop for Every English Teacher (launched 2018). To date, the fund has distributed laptops, tablets and iPads (according to the fund’s various programs) to more than 20,000 teachers and kindergarten teachers in 1,602 schools and kindergartens in 136 local authorities, along with professional training courses.

The distribution of iPads to special education and kindergarten teachers in Jerusalem was made possible thanks to contributions from the Athena Fund and its partners: the Israel Teachers Union's Professional Advancement Fund, Bank Massad, Israel’s Ministry of Education, the Ted Arison Family Foundation, the Sylvan Adams Family Foundation, the United Israel Appeal of Canada and the Jerusalem Municipality.

About the Athena Fund

Established in 2006, the Athena Fund is a nonprofit organization working to promote the empowerment of teachers in Israel by providing them with tools for self-fulfillment and professional advancement. Athena Fund was founded by several prominent business leaders under the direction of President Uri Ben-Ari (CEO of UBA Ventures and former Executive VP of Ness Technologies). Athena Fund's programs include Laptop for Every Teacher in Israel (launched in 2007), Laptop for Every Kindergarten Teacher (2012), Tablet for Every Science Teacher (2014), iPad for Every Special Education Teacher (2015) and Laptop for Every English Teacher (2018).

So far, the Athena Fund, together with its partners, has provided laptops, tablets and iPads to more than 20,000 teachers across Israel, in 1,602 schools and kindergartens in 136 local authorities (municipalities, local and regional councils). Each teacher also receives 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training from professional instructors, with support from the Ministry of Education. For more information please visit http://www.athenafund.org/index.php?categoryId=8561

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