Combined Jewish Philanthropies
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BJE/CJP Funded Special Education School Programs

Since 2002 the BJE’s goal empowers programs to initiate and expand special education services so that students with special needs can meet success in a Jewish educational school program. Starting with only three programs we now work with more than two dozen synagogues and three community programs received funds to support their special education efforts. This year an additional four congregations will receive funds to begin and develop their inclusion services.

“How do you measure success?” In the words of one student, “I have come from ground zero at the beginning of the year to now reading Hebrew.” – Synagogue special educator

Regional Programs

Brookline Area Special Education Collaborative
Temple Sinai, Congregations Kehillath Israel and Ohabei Shalom, Brookline and Temple Israel of Boston
This collaborative enables staff members to share ideas and resources for their synagogue inclusive special education programs. Funds are used to support professional development opportunities, technology, and support staff.
 
Lexington B’Yachad Program
Temples Emunah and Isaiah
These schools offer special education support for children with special needs and their families. Students who are unable to participate in a regular classroom setting are served in a self-contained class which is open to the entire community. The program also helps students with special needs learn alongside their peers in an inclusion model for synagogue members. The part-time education director provides professional consultation to inclusive classroom teachers as well as to the teachers of the self-contained class.

Newton Area Special Needs Program
Congregation Mishkan Tefilla and Temple Emanuel
Each congregation offers special education support for students using both in-class and pull-out models.

South Area Regional Center
Beth Emunah, Ahavath Torah Congregation, Stoughton, and Temple Beth Abraham, Canton
Each year close to 50 students receive some special education support for Hebrew reading and Judaica. Children gather for stories and songs to open and close their weekly session   and then work with an individual tutor as needed. The goal is to provide them with an appropriate learning environment according to their needs so they may acquire the skills needed to become a B’nai Mitzvah and to lead active Jewish lives as they continue on their Jewish journey.

Sudbury Valley Jewish Special Education Initiative
Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, Congregation Kerem Shalom, Concord, Congregations Beth El and B’nai Torah, Sudbury, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland
Sparked by parent and educator interest congregations joined together for both professional development and service delivery. This collaborative exemplifies collaboration through their commitment to ensuring all children in the five congregations are able to participate in Jewish education and practice. Working in concert with the BJE, two colleagues work part-time as co-coordinators for the services, including recruitment of tutors, consultants and professional development support to teachers. Each school receives approximately 2 hours per month of consultative support from a special educator and 2 hours per week of tutorial/remedial service for children. Each consultant has a slightly different background so that the team can provide support when needed to children with different learning issues. 

Individual Synagogue Programs

Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
For the past ten years, since the inception of the community grant programs this congregation participated fully in developing their special education focus for all learners. The director of this inclusive program, who is a special educator, observes children in classrooms and makes suggestions to the teacher for curriculum modifications and instructional accommodations. Some children are invited to work outside of the classroom for extra support by a tutor who receives consultation from the director.

Temple Emanuel, Newton works with individuals, classroom teachers and families to design the most appropriate educational plan for its participants from diverse backgrounds and learning styles.

Congregation Mishkan Tefilla, Chestnut Hill continues to support students and families individually.

Temple Reyim, Newton practices inclusion on a case by case basis. Along with their colleagues from the other individual sites they participate in the BJE Special Educators Professional Network.

Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline works in collaboration with the BJE, Hebrew College, and Temple Emeth of Brookline to stimulate staff development and support individual professional growth.  Recently their special education staff began to acquire new skills toward certification at Hebrew College.

Community Programs

Boston Jewish Education Program, BJEP, Waltham -Brandeis University Campus
Working closely with the BJE the Education Director of this program engaged a professional special educator to train and observe staff in action while working with children. All teachers are students at Brandeis University and work in teams of two.  Funded for the third consecutive year, families note the support makes possible their participation in the Jewish community.

Minyan Me’YOUchad  
Celebrate Shabbat in an interactive and inspirational service designed for people of all ages with special needs and their families and friends. Services are held at Congregation Kehillath Israel (384 Harvard St., Brookline) for a Ruach-filled (spirited) service from 10:30-12:30 in Lander’s Hall that includes prayers, songs, and Torah reading and lesson. The entire congregation joins the Minyan for Kiddush following services. Services for 2005-2006 are: Sept. 24th, Nov. 5th, Dec. 10th, Jan. 28th, March 11th, April 8th, and June 10th. (This program is partially supported by grants from BBJCF and Synagogue Council as well as CJP/BJE.)

Kerem Shalom, Concord summer learning program “Pizza and Practice"
Students keep up their Hebrew skills and develop new ones in an interactive and individualized informal setting through the summer. Area congregation members participate. All are welcome. Contact the Education Director for more information.

Synagogue Preschool Programs

Temple Kehillath Israel Nursery School, Newton
A part-time speech and language therapist was hired to support children with special needs, educate the staff about teaching children with special needs, consult with parents and help the staff determine how they can accommodate children with special needs into the preschool.

Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham
This preschool program provides support to teachers and families as issues are identified within the classroom. Professional development and consultation opportunities are offered for the staff.

Kehillath Israel Nursery School, Brookline
In the heart of Brookline, 384 Harvard Street, this program serves an ever-widening population of children and their families receiving continued support from speech and language, psychology and occupational therapy specialists.  Teaching teams continue to enhance their skills working with diverse learners.

Temple Beth Shalom Children’s Center, Needham
Consultation with the BJE provided an opportunity to look at how to observe and document findings, improve the classroom environment through a careful examination of the space and purchase of a loft for children’s privacy along with support from a speech and language pathologist for parent and staff consultation and training.

Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center of Temple Israel, Boston
An ongoing collaboration with specialists from Children’s Hospital Medical Center provides staff and families with the expertise and support they need to include children with diverse learning and emotional needs.  

Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham provides small and nurture in program where staff develop their skills

Jewish Preschool of Lexington
For the second year this program offers a Parent Education Series on understanding developmental milestones through movement, sensory integration, speech and language and play in addition to support by a specialist to deal with the children who display challenging behaviors.

Temple Shalom, Newton
In addition to  support to work with individual children working with a Behaviorist and the BJE consultant, the Preschool Director launches Parent2Parent, a parent Mentor Program that begins a unique pilot program this year especially designed to provide support and assistance to Jewish parents who have children with special needs.  Through this program, parents who have just learned that their child has special needs will be connected with a Parent Mentor.  The role of the Parent Mentor is to be a source of knowledge and support to families who are just getting the news about their child’s diagnosis and who need coaching on how to effectively navigate public and private special needs systems and advocate for the needs of their child.  Through a structured series of trainings sessions, mentors and their partners will be offered the tools and supports they need to create a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship in which there is an exchange of information and ideas on parenting and special needs programs. Also funded by the Synagogue Program Fund, parents will be recruited from Temple Shalom and other local synagogues.

Additional Funded Programs

Hebrew Curriculum
This highly interactive, multi-sensory approach to teaching Hebrew is used in classrooms to facilitate children’s success in Hebrew reading and with individual children who need remedial help. This grant enables schools to attend workshops, visit a classroom to see this program, obtain the curriculum materials, and receive coaching from the creator of these materials, Stephanie Bernstein. Hebrew Reading Curriculum Sites:
  1. Brandeis, Jewish Education Program (BJEP), Waltham
  2. Ohabei Shalom, Brookline
  3. Beth Emunah, Brockton
  4. Klal Yisrael, Sharon
  5. New sites considering this program for 2008-2009:
  • Temple Emanuel, Newton
  • Temple Beth Abraham, Canton
  • Temple Israel, Natick
  • Chabad of Sharon
  • Rashi School
  • Chaye Shalom, Easton
A new cycle of training and mentoring to implement this effective multi-sensory approach to Hebrew instruction began during the summer 2008.

TeenAde
Teens spend about 35 hours in seminars throughout the year learning about disabilities, Jewish views on disabilities, and teaching strategies. They are placed in 11 congregational schools, teaching in inclusive classrooms and/or with individual children who have special learning needs and receive supervision from special educators and BJE staff. The seminars provide the students with the opportunity to share practices, learn about themselves and develop friendships.

Four new sites proposed by the BJE SPED Advisory Board to receive CJP Special Education funds in 2008-2009 by redistributing the same allocation:

  1. Temple Tifereth Israel, Malden - to provide  professional development
  2. Congregation Chaye Shalom, Easton - to establish a Mercaz Limud (Learning Center) on Sunday mornings staffed by a Special Educator
  3. Temple Israel of Natick - To strengthen the classroom management abilities of all staff through professional development
  4. Temple Shalom of Newton, Preschool - To provide parent support, training, consultation and creation of essential adaptive materials.  

TeenAde
Teens spend about 30 hours in seminars throughout the year learning about disabilities, Jewish views on disabilities, and teaching strategies. A special focus this year is on the power of story telling. For the academic year 07-08, we placed 18 TeenAdes in congregational schools, teaching in inclusive classrooms and/or with individual children who have special learning needs and receive supervision from special educators and BJE staff. The seminars provided the students with the opportunity to share practices, learn about themselves and develop friendships.  Since its inception in 2002, we have prepared 60 teens who have been placed in 15 congregational schools with special educators on staff.  Sunday Seminars take place at the BJE on Sept- May.  A final celebration will be held at the end of May.

Minyan Me'YOUchad
Shabbat is celebrated in an interactive and inspirational service designed for people of all ages with special needs and their families and friends. Services are held at Congregation Kehillath Israel (384 Harvard St., Brookline) for a Ruach-filled (spirited) service from 10:30-12:30 in the Rabb Chapel includes prayers, songs, and Torah reading and lesson. The Minyan joins the entire congregation for Kiddush following services. Services for 2008-2009 will be held monthly Oct. through  May. (This program is partially supported by grants from BBJCF and Synagogue Council as well as CJP/BJE.)
 
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