The goals of the Learning Support Department at NEHA is to meet the individual learning needs of all of the students in the elementary and middle school. We believe that all students can thrive given the right approach and instruction tailored to their learning profile.

Our department currently consists of two Learning Specialists with training in Special Education, one of whom also serves as coordinator of the program. Our specially trained staff is able to provide support for students in grades 1-8 in both secular and Judaic studies. A consultant from Gateways Access to Jewish Education is also available as a resource to our department.

The Learning Specialists collaborate with teachers to recognize and find ways of meeting the diverse learning needs of all of our students. They consult with teachers on an ongoing basis to make sure the curriculum is accessible to all students and to help teachers in tailoring instruction to specific students’ needs, as necessary.

When teachers feel a student is not making adequate progress in a particular area, they can refer the student to the Learning Support department for further assessment and support. If appropriate, the Learning Specialists will work with the student to provide individualized instruction. The Learning Specialists spend time in the classroom and confer with the classroom teachers to ensure continuity between the work done in the Learning Center and in the classroom.

At times we may request that parents obtain a more formal evaluation of their child outside of school, so we can better understand the child’s needs and how to address them. The Special Education Coordinator is available to assist parents in navigating this process.

If a child would benefit from Speech or Occupational Therapy services, parents can opt to receive these services through the Day School Program of Gateways. In this case, the services would be provided at NEHA during the school day by a Gateways therapist. Doing so, allows for a smoother and more effective collaboration between teachers and therapists. For more information about Gateways services contact the Special Education Coordinator at NEHA.

As part of ongoing professional development and with the goal of deepening teachers’ understanding of diverse, NEHA is participating in a Boston area pilot of the Hidden Sparks External Coach program through Gateways.

The Learning Support Department at NEHA is made possible through generous grants from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Special Education Initiative and from the Congregation Beth Israel of Malden Ruderman Family Endowment Fund.