On the grounds of Kishorit is the Ziv Kishorit Democratic High School, a unique educational facility for adolescents with mental illness. The school services the entire North of Israel and is the only democratic school in the world for this population.
The Ziv Kishorit Democratic High School was founded in 2003 and is recognized by the Ministry of Education as a revolutionary model of education that can be replicated.
The school currently educates more than 50 Jewish and Arab students, ages 14-21, who suffer from a range of complex mental health issues, often compounded by learning disabilities and ADHD. All of the students have experienced at least one psychotic episode, have been previously hospitalized and are on medications to stabilize their conditions.
The school’s unique educational approach empowers students to make decisions about the school community and their own futures. The school is intended to be a replacement for the locked psychiatric ward and has demonstrated tremendous success at reducing both the duration and frequency of hospitalizations.
Students are accepted after a complete evaluation determines that they appropriate for the school. Each student has an individualized therapeutic program including core subjects such as Mathematics, English, Computers and Humanities coupled with Vocational Training, Life Skills, Leisure & Enrichment studies, and group and individual therapies. Each student is encouraged to fulfill his/her own personal potential, and is supported by a team of qualified professionals including a psychiatrist, psychologist and different therapists. Many of the students finish a full or partial matriculation diploma. This entitles them to a certificate of 12 years of education and qualifies them for certain benefits and training courses upon graduation.
The Ziv Kishorit Democratic High School equips students with both professional skills and independent living skills. Upon graduation, our goal is that students should be able to cope in the general community, live independently and earn a livelihood. Most importantly, our aim is to empower students to fulfill their personal potentials and increase their self esteem. We do this by guiding the students in tailor made projects that speak to each student’s personal strengths. Ultimately, more than 90% of Ziv School graduates are able to live in the general community upon graduation.
The school’s unique educational approach empowers students to set school policies and make decisions regarding their community. By emphasizing free choice and independence, the Democratic school helps students take control of their lives and surroundings and, in so doing, helps to break the cycle of helplessness, reliance, and ultimately, hospitalization and school drop-out faced by individuals with mental health issues. By actively participating in their school community, students regain the ability to be contributing members of society at large.
The Ziv Kishorit Democratic High School is guided by principal, Nitzan Amit.