The 2015 TALMA teachers gather after landing in Israel.

The 2015 TALMA teachers gather after landing in Israel.

Seventy young teachers from across North America are working with 2,500 underprivileged Israeli elementary school students to boost the students’ English skills. Meanwhile, the visiting teachers are getting a rare look behind the headlines of Israeli life.

It’s all part of a novel immersive educational experience called TALMA, which provides under-privileged Israeli children in the periphery and in some urban areas with a three-week supplemental summer English program. TALMA aims to improve the students’ English-language skills, reduce those with learning gaps and significantly enhance those with outstanding English skills. TALMA also aims to boost the students’ confidence with English and increase their chances of entering university.

TALMA is a national program operated in partnership with the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. TALMA places a teacher from the United States alongside an Israeli teacher in schools across Israel, and has assisted over 1,200 students since its inception in 2014.

For the 2015 program, the TALMA teachers were spread in schools across Israel, from Jerusalem to Migdal Ha’Emek, Upper Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley. The northern portion of the program was also made possible with the support of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.