SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
At Torah Day School, we understand that Jewish education is a fundamental value. We strive to meet as many needs as possible, while also being realistic about what is possible in a mainstream environment with a rigorous dual curriculum.
When we are approached by the family of a student with special needs, we devote time to meet with parents and to look carefully at the student’s strengths and challenges. This process includes looking at previous evaluations, speaking with teachers or administrators at present and/or past schools, occasionally visiting the student in his or her present environment, and sometimes requesting new evaluations. Our goal is, when feasible, to create a plan through which the student will thrive and feel successful here.
Support services include:
- Participation in the federal Title I program for reading and math support. Two tutors work with children to give pull-out support in these key subject areas. This program’s focus is on grades K-4.
- Partnership with Jewish Family Services (JFS) for a variety of services through their Family Liaison program. Two teacher/therapists visit TDSD regularly to assist teachers in creating individualized plans for identified students. Many families obtain speech and language services through JFS, and others use the agency to obtain educational evaluations. We also contract with JFS for counseling services when needed for certain situations and student needs.
- Differentiation within the classroom is a primary goal for our teachers, and we have devoted a significant amount of staff development to this topic. When we have identified a student with a learning difference, we expect the teachers to modify the environment so that the student meets basic goals for the subject.
- Rabbis and Morahs offer pull-out support to identified students in Judaic Studies. Sometimes these students are coming to TDSD from a non-Jewish school and need to make up gaps; sometimes they have learning differences that require extra support for difficult subjects.
- We welcome many therapists to our building. We have relationships with public and private agencies offering occupational therapy, speech therapy, and language therapy for dyslexic students. These services are sometimes at the family’s expense, but we assist in directing families to the most cost-effective options.