Special Needs class and training program at Ohef Sholom

November 8, 2013

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One of the most significant issues facing religious school educators is accommodating students with special needs in the supplementary school setting. With numerous obstacles to overcome, both practical and attitudinal, it is challenging to adapt curriculum, implement proactive classroom management strategies and differentiate instruction in the limited time frame of the religious school. This is particularly true for most religious schoolteachers who do not have formal training in special education.

Ohef Sholom Temple’s Religious School has been awarded a grant from the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater to provide educational services to these special needs students.

“Ohef Sholom intends to reach out to the Jewish community, especially other religious schools in two ways,” says Kitty Wolf, temple educator at Ohef Sholom Temple.

First, Teacher and staff training and/or consultation will be available to any school or facility that serves Jewish children in Tidewater. Ohef Sholom is using a comprehensive special needs training program developed by the regional educators at Union for Reform Judaism in conjunction with qualified Special Education consultants. Each training session will be tailored to meet the specific needs of each school or program. Much of the training will concentrate on learning disabilities and behavioral issues. A Virginia-certified Special Education teacher, Ohef Sholom’s presenter has the knowledge, training and ability to address a wide variety of special needs, both physical and mental.

Second, Ohef Sholom’s Sunday morning classes will be open to special needs students from other Jewish supplementary schools who cannot be accommodated in their home school. Ohef Sholom will work with teachers from the student’s synagogue to develop an appropriate JIE P (Jewish Individual Education Program) so that they can learn what others are learning in their home school while benefiting from Ohef Sholom’s structured special education program.

If a school or program is interested in either of these opportunities, contact Kitty Wolf, temple educator at Ohef Sholom Temple at kitty@ohefsholom.org or 757-625-4295.

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