Every child is a unique learner, both in terms of learning style and interests, and each child develops at his or her own pace. The goal of our innovative “seamless support” instructional model is to tailor instruction to meet each child’s needs. This includes continuous assessment of a student’s progress in the learning goals of the classroom so that we can address needs as soon as they arise. This model accounts for the needs of all students, whether the need is enrichment or remediation.
The Dean of Student Learning oversees the coordination of support services across the academic and social-emotional domains. In our K-4 model, having two teachers in every general studies classroom allows for the ability to differentiate two-fold. Furthermore, a general studies learning specialist is assigned to every grade level in order to support differentiation, remediation, and enrichment. Therefore, at times you might find three teachers supporting one classroom. A similar model is used in our Judaic studies classes, with a learning specialist responsible for Hebrew language (Ivrit).
We have also implemented a school-wide support program where teachers have scheduled support hours in order to assist students in other teachers’ classrooms. At Hillel, we use a model where students are helped in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom depending on the need. Further, our accelerated learners are supported by a specialized teacher.
Another support measure we use in the upper grades is the Zeros Aren’t Permitted (ZAP) program. Our philosophy is that we work together with students to achieve class objectives, and therefore, receiving a zero on an assignment is not in alignment with that goal. To begin, we have implemented ZAP in seventh and eighth grades. In short, if a student doesn’t turn in a homework assignment, he or she will be given an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) at lunchtime in order to complete the work. This is not intended as punishment, but rather a message that failure is not acceptable, and we believe that with support, all kids can learn at high levels. Therefore, teachers will be available during the ELO periods to help students as needed.
Finally, a social worker is on staff to address the social-emotional needs of our students in a proactive manner. Positive behavior support is accomplished through school-wide and individualized interventions. Through all of these services, along with our tremendous curriculum and teaching staff, our students learn to become passionate, responsible, engaged, and innovative Jewish youngsters.
Dean of Student Learningjfriedman@hillelday.org