Israel’s First and Only

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At the start of the school year, Boys Town Jerusalem students made history by becoming Israel’s first—and only—school to offer a curriculum in “Open Source Computer Operating Systems” (the Oracle Corporation’s “OpenSolaris”). At the close of the school year, five Boys Town students were invited to present their senior projects to the Israeli Oracle Users Group forum, a gathering of the top echelons of Israeli computer professionals. The students’ presentation left much of the audience visibly stunned.

“We’ve been in the field for years,” one participant told the students, “but you’ve already grasped the essentials at age 18! You’ve been given a gift for life.”

“The Boys Town students are superstars,” declared Haim Zadok, the renowned expert in Open Systems who was tapped by the Education Ministry to design the high school curriculum. Zadok has worked closely with the Boys Town program, headed by instructor Shlomo Saruk.

Shlomo Saruk could hardly contain his pride at his students’ landmark presentation. “These 17 seniors studied the CISCO networking management program in grades 10 and 11, and then pioneered the very different Solaris studies as seniors. Their drive to learn was intense—we couldn’t give them enough. The results: their average grade on the bagrut national matriculation exam was 85%, and six students scored 100%!”

Open Source systems are based on the groundbreaking “Solaris” system created by Sun Microsystems, now a part of Oracle Corporation. In 2011, Boys Town Jerusalem was selected by the Israeli Ministry of Education to pioneer the Solaris curriculum. This follows a Boys Town milestone in 2000 in becoming Israel\’s first high school designated a center of instruction for the CISCO Network Management Program. Today Boys Town is the country’s only high school licensed to prepare students in both CISCO and ORACLE commercial systems. A number of the current graduates are in the final stages of CCNA certification as CISCO Certified Network Associates, certified to install and operate communications networks for CISCO Systems, Inc.

“The Solaris course is quite complex, and we still lack the proper quantity and quality of computers and infrastructure,” Shlomo Saruk noted. “Yet, despite the shortcomings, our students are in the highest demand by the IDF and the hi-tech industry. They have knowledge and skills far beyond any other high school graduate in the country.”

For his part, Shlomo Saruk is now preparing for a bumper year to come. “Nearly 50 new seniors have registered for the Computer Networks class for the upcoming school year. Among them are new immigrants from Boys Town’s Ethiopian and French programs, whom I’ve been teaching computer studies for several years. This will be a special accomplishment for them as well.”

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