TLW ThinkHigher 2021-2022 - All about our after-school activities!  
The LearningWorks

TLW ThinkHigher 2022-2023
All about our after-school activities!

Dear LearningWorks parents,

We are very happy and excited to inform you that we are opening registration for our ThinkHigher after-school activities!
In this email you will be able to read all the details about ThinkHigher, in terms of content, price, location, dates, commitments, refund policy, as well as the corona regulations we will adhere to.

If you already know about ThinkHigher, here are the most important details:
Who: students aged 6 - 16
When: starting October 23, 2022, and until June 15, 2023, once a week. Day of the week and times to be determined based on registration.
Where: at Reut School, Torah veAvoda Street, Bayit VeGan, Jerusalem, as well as selected other locations with sufficient interest, such as: Modiin, Efrat/Gush Etzion, Beit Shemesh, Rechovot.
Cost: NIS 5,800 for the school year
To register: fill out and send in this application form. Registration is free and does not constitute a commitment until payment. To be relevant to the 2022-2023 season, we must receive your application form before October 16, 2022.

Click on one of these paragraphs to read the details:

Refund Policy
Would you consider organizing online after-school activities?
Corona guidelines, instructions and restrictions
What is the corona vaccination policy for students participating in ThinkHigher and their families?
What will happen if a student is found to be infected with corona while participating in ThinkHigher?


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This year, ThinkHigher will take place at The LearningWorks campus at
Reut School, Torah vaAvoda Street, Bayit VeGan, Jerusalem. If there are sufficient applications from other localities, we will consider opening a local ThinkHigher group in Modiin, Efrat/Gush Etzion, Beit Shemesh, Rechovot, or any other location from which we receive sufficient applications.
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Our Head Teacher and Founder is Shaiel Yitzchak. He has degrees in Engineering, CS, Education and the Humanities. He teaches Robotics at The Hebrew University and has teaching certification in the State of Israel.

Shaiel has 32 years of experience in formal and informal education, and 22 years in high-tech, in Israel and in the US.

Shaiel is fascinated by group dynamics, teamwork and motivation. His specialties are:
- Motivating students to break through their own barriers
- Encouraging students to raise their level of inquiry
And kids seem to have a bit of fun around him. (Despite his sense of humor...)

Ariel Hershler joined The LearningWorks in 2014. He holds an engineering degree and is a certified teacher. He has 33 years of experience in formal and informal education as well as 33 years of experience in the high-tech industry, including 3 successful "exits".

Ariel is deeply moved by the child’s ability to cross barriers, to adapt and to do the impossible. But more important than all this is that students truly enjoy being in his company no matter what they’re doing.

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We primarily work with ages 6-16.

We select the makeup of each learning group very carefully. Applicants are interviewed. The fact that you're reading this suggests your child and ThinkHigher are well-matched, but it's important to us (and to you) to be sure. The interview is also an important opportunity for children to ask us questions that are on their mind about ThinkHigher and TLW in general.

Please note that we do not offer an opportunity to "try out" ThinkHigher classes, so it is important to make a careful decision. The application process, including the interview, is free. But once you pay, we expect your child, and you, to be fully committed for the entire term. 

We look for students who wish to be engaged in their own learning process. Age and background matter but they are less important than a student's drive, their fascinations and what they enjoy about learning. Scientific inclination, technological prowess, these things are nice. But whether (and why) a student wants to be there is more important.

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Our mission is to remake our student’s roles in their own education. We teach whole-mind thinking and we facilitate our students’ active engagement in their own education. There are plenty of passengers in this world; We make our students into proficient navigators and expert pilots.

Students work in groups of up to 12, which have been selected based on interest and ability. Students should expect to have different types of people in their group, and different ages. They will accomplish things together which are too big for any of them to accomplish on their own. And they will do this despite (or is it, thanks to?) these differences.

That said, while age is a relatively low-priority, the closer a child is to either 6 or 16, the higher age figures into what they do at The LearningWorks, and with whom they do it.

Lots of what we do is community-related. Your child's presence will quickly become vital to their micro-community. As such, they are required to attend as regularly as possible. We will request that you avoid, as much as possible, your child missing class, and that you notify us in advance if you know it's going to happen.

It's also worth mentioning that, while there is no obligation they participate in even one extra activity beyond the ~2 hours/week of ThinkHigher, there is a direct relationship between their total investment of time and effort, and the return we can expect on said investment.

The LearningWorks is an educational partner of Google Maker programs, Make, Inc., SpaceIL, and Facebook. We sometimes make recycled junk into science projects and we make old technology into new computers. We make our own Minecraft mods (and hacks), we do CAD modeling, 3-D printing, and make good use of our extensive industrial-design lab. (And to preempt questions we’ve already received many times by phone, yes, we did make a working arcade cabinet this past summer, with licensed versions of everything from Pac Man to Space Invaders. Yes, we turned two old microwaves into a welder, and yes we made an augmented-reality topographical map out of a sandbox, a projector, and an old Microsoft Kinnect camera.)

But every student has his or her own focus. Our goal is to make our students better thinkers – not necessarily to make them Python gurus, master carpenters, or security experts (though all of these are possibilities). So here is a list of some of the subjects your child may encounter:

Making and Design Skills:
- Structural Engineering and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering – simple machines, wheeled/treaded/tracked vehicles
- Use of the LEGO CADs LDD, LeJos, L-draw
- Use of SolidWorks and SketchUp, general engineering CADs also used for 3D Printing
- Electronics and electric engineering

Software skills:
- Programming, multi-operating-system environments, development process - System architecture, network infrastructure, information security
- Multi operating system environments and behavior; use of, and communication between Microsoft, Apple, Linux, rPi, Arduino and other OSes

General science skills:
- Research, analysis, collaborative projects and presentations
- Use of telescopes, and Astronomy
- Use of microscopes, Microbiology Lab, Biology and Microbiology
- Safe use of basic Chemistry lab and equipment

Robotics skills:
- Sound engineering and design principles
- Efficient use of sensors, XOR, XANDOR functions
- Interdependence between engineer/designer and programmer

LEGO Robotics
We have one of the best educational robotics labs in Israel, making use of 2,890,000 LEGO elements. We are able to have 104 robots operate 24 trains and 30 motorized vehicles simultaneously in a city of roads and train tracks (930m of track!) created by our students.
The LearningWorks uses Lego’s NXT and EV3 platforms. (Other platforms below.)

ThinkHigher usually participates in a robotics tournament. This involves robotics, research, innovation, collaborative projects, presentation skills and more. The tournaments will be in the May-June timeframe and will require missing one or more days of school. (Permission is required from parents and teachers. Participation in robotics tournaments are considered permitted absences from school. Students must make up all missed work, and schools look more favorably on students who are already performing strongly.)

Other Robotic Platforms
ThinkHigher also uses Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Einstein, RoboFLAT and Edison. If a Raspberry Pi (rPi) is needed for a project, we can give them to students who have not previously received one from us.

These cutting-edge technologies excite students a lot. (They probably excite you as a parent!) But it is important to remember that these are vehicles for our educational goals; these cool things are not the goals themselves.

Educational Values

Robotics and STEM subjects are ideal playgrounds for the development of personal creativity and problem-solving skills, communication and especially effective teamwork.

The LearningWorks is not the only place a student can learn robotics or engineering (though we really are very good!) But few programs are better than we are at pinpointing a students’ motivation, at making them excited to learn, or at raising their expectation level of themselves.

As mentioned, age is not the highest priority to how students are grouped. We consider interest and potential more important.

Creativity is the start, not the end of innovation. One of our goals is to prepare our students to creatively solve real-world problems, and this requires a deep understanding of things. As such, teaching effective research is one of our primary goals.

Teams we take to tournaments sometimes win prizes of which we are very proud – These links are to score sheets for
Project Research and Innovation, and for Innovation and Strategy in Robot Design and Programming. In fact, these teams won trophies at these tournaments, and sometimes advance to national championships. But we are more proud of their achievements than we are of their trophies. Recognition is nice, but more than that, we’re proud of the quality of their work – we are proud they earned the recognition more than we’re proud of the recognition itself. When you talk with our students about this, you can see their experience has really taught them this set of priorities.

This is not a promise that we'll win anything; it has never been, and will never be a goal.

But we do promise to give our students the opportunity and encouragement to do really great work. If judges in tournaments, and the gods of timing and luck should smile on us, then so be it - but we will teach your child to earn the feeling of accomplishment one way or another.

Student-made documents
We are always in the process of better documenting our core educational values. This document itself is largely written by our students. You can also follow this link for a student project on core values from a few years ago; and you can look over our TLW Media Policy (also a student project). The films and TV shows are a few years outdated now, but you can read their values clearly all the same. We are a learning community and always benefit from parental input.
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Parents and students fill in and sign the
application form, and send it to our email address, together with the other documentation listed in the application form. Send in the application form before October 16, 2022.

Registration process for new students
New students are students who did not participate in ThinkHigher and/or Jerusalem HackerCamp.
Please note that acceptance to ThinkHigher (or HackerCamp) is not automatic.
After receipt of the filled out and signed application form together with all the other accompanying documentation, you will be contacted to schedule a personal interview for your child.
After the interview, you will be notified whether your child has been accepted as a student in ThinkHigher.
If accepted, you will receive an email with a payment request, which includes a link to our automated online payment system.
After payment, you will receive a tax invoice and receipt, as well as information regarding the specific class your child has been placed in.

Registration process for returning students
Returning students are students who participated in ThinkHigher in the past, or students who participated in Jerusalem HackerCamp. These students do not need to fill out the entire application; their parents just fill out the first page, and they and their parents sign the last page. You still need to provide the requested accompanying documentation.
After receipt of the filled out and signed application form together with all the other accompanying documentation, you will receive an email with a payment request, which includes a link to our automated online payment system.
After payment, you will receive a tax invoice and receipt, as well as information regarding the specific class your child has been placed in.
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ThinkHigher 2022-2023: NIS 5,800 with all supplies and activities included
Participation in Chanukkah Camp for guests: NIS 1,600
Participation in Chanukkah Camp for ThinkHigher students: included in tuition
Participation in Pesach camp for guests: TBD but approx. NIS 1,600
Participation in Pesach camp for ThinkHigher students: TBD but will be half the tuition of that of guests.

The LearningWorks accepts Israeli-issued Visa and Mastercard credit cards. You will receive a link to a payment page with your acceptance letter (which is after your child submits their application and after their interview (for new LearningWorks students).

In the past there have been options to cycle to some field trips and activities. Recent changes to cycling laws have made this difficult, but we will put this back on the table if we are able to do so. If this interests you and your child, then please consider the costs associated with safe cycling when making your calculations.

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Refund Policy
a. In principle we do not issue refunds. All our activities are based on cooperation and the creation of a supportive community of students, and we therefore expect anyone registering for any of our activities to fully commit to the entire term of the activity. Whoever does not continue their enrollment as planned for any reason, causes a disruption to the remaining students in their team and/or the community they were part of.
b. In special circumstances of Force Majeure, such as serious illness, hospitalization of the student (God forbid) etc., we will consider the circumstances and the seriousness of the case and issue a suitable discretionary refund.
c. In other special cases of serious incompatibility with the community and/or the program, we will consider issuing a discretionary refund. In any case the maximum refund will be 50% of the residual credit.
d. The refund calculation will take into account the amount(s) that were paid, minus any payments that were not actually paid, and minus all irrecoverable expenses we paid to plan or cover the participation of the student in our programs.
e. A refund will be issued only after receipt of payment by The LearningWorks. In case of payment by credit card, this means a refund will be issued only after the full amount has been received from the credit card company.
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Would you consider organizing online after-school activities?
When the corona crisis broke out, we moved everything for all of our teams to the virtual realm. We learned from that experience that it is very hard to do the types of activities we do, using Zoom. While the subjects we work on are science, engineering and technology oriented, all of our activities, in camp as well as during the year, are meant for our students to experience team work, cooperation, and inter-dependence, and improve their skills while working together as a team. With the possible exception of one team,
which  did some admirable team work via Zoom, what our teams achieved on Zoom was not really up to ThinkHigher's standards. So while we could do some Zoom activities, our current thinking is that such activities are not "us". And we do not want to become just another provider of Zoom activities. It isn't totally off the table but we're not giving this any priority right now.
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Corona guidelines, instructions and restrictions
ThinkHigher will comply with any and all corona-related guidelines, instructions, and restrictions, as issued by relevant local and national government authorities.

Students must be vaccinated; and proof of vaccination is required.

Masks will be absolutely required during 100% of time at ThinkHigher, including while on any transport to or from ThinkHigher with other students. The only possible exception is during breaks while drinking and/or eating, which will always take place outside (even when it is hot, so please prepare your child for this). Spare masks are always required as well.

We note that the corona situation is dynamic. Your child’s safety and the collective safety of us all is critically important to us and we would never take any risks, or let anyone in our community take any risks with this. Anyone at ThinkHigher must be fully masked (mouth AND nose covered 100%) at all times. This is true for parents coming into campus, and of course for all children and staff. We know this may not be what some of us are used to doing. Please prepare your child appropriately.

Please also prepare your child for the possibility that the Ministry of Health will (rightly) make other directives, policies and restrictions, and of course we will follow all of them to the letter.

Some things we think may happen if the situation warrants it:
• The government may re-impose previous restrictions of varying levels of efficacy, for example, capsules.
• The government may (or destinations may) restrict our ability to take field trips.
• The government may make mask restrictions even more stringent, including fines and such, and may require masks even outside.

We can NOT note enough times that the corona situation is dynamic, and we must be prepared for these, and other changes.  

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What is the corona vaccination policy for students participating in ThinkHigher and their families?
We are asking all parents to make sure anyone eligible is in fact vaccinated. This includes not just students but also parents and siblings of students eligible for vaccination. This will ensure that students will reside, as much as possible, within an environment in which they are unlikely to be exposed to the corona virus.

The LearningWorks will, in all of our activities, strictly adhere to all guidelines, regulations and restrictions published by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and any other relevant government or local authorities. This includes any regulation or restriction which would require us to suspend physical meetings for some or all of our students and/or groups.

Please note that at the time of this writing, the government has approved, and is actively offering, corona vaccinations for children from age 0.5. We ask parents to vaccinate students participating in ThinkHigher, of all ages, as well as all siblings of ThinkHigher students, of any age above half a year old. 
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What will happen if a student is found to be infected with corona while participating in ThinkHigher?
In accordance with official guidelines and restrictions, if a student is found to be infected with corona, s/he will be isolated immediately; parents will be notified; the student will be taken home as quickly as possible, possibly by the medical services; the group that student was in, may be asked (by the Ministry of Health) to quarantine at home for up to two weeks. Please note that all insurance policies have included clauses excluding direct and indirect corona related claims. We will therefore not be able to give refunds for absence or inability to attend ThinkHigher due to corona-related issues or restrictions, including quarantine.

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We hope this has answered some of your questions. For photos (of both ThinkHigher, and Jerusalem HackerCamp, our summer camp), please visit our Facebook page which can be found at

These documents will give you more of a sense who we are: 01_Welcome_and_Hogsmeade_Contract (Sample activity 1)
02_Logic_Train (Sample activity 2)
03 The LearningWorks’ Educational Values 2014
04 Our website.

A graphic artist would probably design our website more professionally. But it is an end-to-end student project and we are more proud of this than we would be if it looked more stylish.

We can be reached at 03-7639688 for further questions – or we can call you if you email us your phone number. You can also email us your questions:

We look forward to discussing ThinkHigher with you in further detail.

We wish you and your family best of health!


Shaiel and Ariel
The LearningWorks
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