The Niot Project

Helping Israeli Teens with Learning Disabilities Succeed in School

The Niot Project is a comprehensive, educational model dedicated to enabling students (ages 13-18), parents, and school staff to work together effectively to improve the scholastic performance and emotional resilience of teens with learning differences.

Currently operating in Israeli high schools and residential campuses affiliated with the Society for Advancement of Education in Jerusalem (SAE), the Niot Project makes maximal use of government sponsored services and offers additional support services through philanthropy.

The Niot Project honors the life and learning accomplishments of Niot Watzman, z”l

 

Niot Watzman and his parents faced the challenge of getting help – and succeeded.

A classic “problem child,” Niot found it nearly impossible to sit still in class and concentrate on lessons. His parents grew increasingly frustrated as discipline, positive incentives and extra help failed to yield a solution.

Consulting with experts, they learned that with proper interventions and a supportive learning environment, children with ADHD and learning disabilities can succeed in school and in life. With the school system unable to furnish a diagnosis or a coordinated plan of intervention, Niot’s parents found, synchronized – and paid for – much of the extra assistance on their own.

Their efforts paid off. Thanks to the ongoing perseverance of Niot, his teachers, and his family, Niot progressed to the point where he became an eager student. Not only was he able to complete the full battery of Israel’s high school matriculation (bagrut) exams, but he received one of the highest scores in his class.

Niot enlisted in the IDF and successfully completed the Golani Brigade’s training in the spring of 2011. A short time later, while on leave for the Passover holiday, Niot tragically lost his life in a scuba diving accident. He was 20 years old.

The Niot Project Aims to:

✓ Improve the overall scholastic performance and emotional resilience of students with learning difficulties and disabilities;

✓ Fine-tune an effective educational model that can be adopted by other junior high and high schools in Israel.

✓ Use professional interventions to increase the rates at which teenagers with learning differences receive high-level high school diplomas, which are key to enabling them to succeed in the IDF, attend university, and pursue meaningful careers;

✓ Enable comprehensive assistance by providing teachers and administrators with skills and knowledge that will enable them to understand young people with learning difficulties and create an environment, in classrooms and the school as a whole, in which learning-challenged students can learn alongside their peers;

✓ Reduce the stress and financial strain on families by subsidizing diagnostic testing, providing all necessary interventions, while keeping parents involved and informed.

parallax background

“It’s enough for me that a girl comes up to me with a sparkle in her eyes and says, ‘I knew what to do on the test!’”

Learning Center Coordinator, Dror School

How the Niot Project Works


Niot Learning Centers and Coordinators

The Niot Project was established in cooperation between Niot’s family and the Society for Advancement of Education (SAE) in Jerusalem. To date, the Niot Project has established learning differences centers in all the schools of the SAE.

The centers are run and coordinated by dedicated staff within the school who are experts in the field of learning disabilities and ADHD, who follow up on every student in need of assistance and provide assistance and support according to each student’s needs. The coordinator is responsible for identifying suitable interventions for each student, building a personalized learning program, and organizing the additional assistance and accommodations each student is entitled to.

As needed, the coordinator identifies additional resources, in order to ensure that each student will receive all the necessary assistance in the best possible manner. The coordinator remains in ongoing contact with the teachers and assists in coordinating among the them.


Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities

The Niot Project subsidizes learning evaluations. These are carried out by carefully chosen registered diagnosticians. Niot Learning Coordinators then use this diagnostic information in order to fashion a tailored intervention plan for each student. In schools where special-needs students have already been diagnosed, the program assists with adapting learning strategies and guiding teachers working in small groups that are adapted to the students.

Proven Success and Future Goals

The Niot Project was evaluated by Yuval Fiorko, and social psychologist and independent researcher from the Zofnat Institute for Organizational Consulting, Development and Research. Preliminary findings from Yuval’s report included:

parallax background

“It’s enough for me that a girl comes up to me with a sparkle in her eyes and says, ‘I knew what to do on the test!’”

Learning Center Coordinator, Dror School

Niot Project Leadership

Eden Israeli, SAE Learning Differences Coordinator, has over 15 years of experience in treating learning disabilities. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Special Education from the Hebrew University, and certified at Bar Ilan University to conduct didactic evaluations and Applied Behavior Analysis.

Haim Watzman, Head of Niot Project Steering Committee, was born in Cleveland, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and graduated from Duke University. After his college studies, he went to Israel to volunteer in a disadvantaged community for a year —a year that turned into a lifetime. In addition to working as a translator of Hebrew books into English, Haim is the author of two books of his own, Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel and A Crack in the Earth: A Journey Up Israel’s Rift Valley. He also writes the monthly “Necessary Stories” for The Jerusalem Report.

Haim is married to Ilana. His older daughter Mizmor is an animator, and his older son Asor is an officer in the Israel Defense Forces. His son, Niot, died in April 2011 during his service in the Golani Brigade, and his younger daughter, Misgav, is now serving in the Caracal infantry unit.Haim’s website - Press Here

Contact information

Haim Watzman Niot Project Steering Committee
Email: hwatzman@gmail.com
Mobile: +972-544-612-939

The Society for Advancement of Education, Jerusalem
Email: SAE@www.kidum-edu.org.il