Posts by SINAI Staff

By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean and Mrs. Judi Karp, Associate Dean on May 17, 2017
It gives us great pleasure to announce the appointment of our new Director of SINAI at SAR Academy, Ms. Aura Lurie.  We will open our doors at SAR Academy in the fall of 2018, giving Ms. Lurie a full year to plan, prepare, and build a team.  Ms. Lurie has worked at SAR Academy for over a decade as a head teacher and as an inclusion teacher in the elementary school, teaching children with a range of learning disabilities within SAR’s inclusion classrooms.  She has also served as a mentor to other teachers through the Jewish New Teacher Project/New Teacher Center for the past...
By Erika Svolos, Music Therapist on May 12, 2017
Music therapy is a highly effective evidenced-based tool in the treatment of children and adolescents with special needs.  SINAI’s own board certified music therapist, Erika Svolos, shares five ways she sees Music Therapy support and help our SINAI students each day. Music Therapy enhances and supports students’ ability to effectively communicate with others.  Music has been a form of communication from the beginning of time.  In music therapy, we use experiences like music making, music creation, and singing to provide our students with new ways to express their thoughts...
By Rina Hirsch, Therapeutic Drama Teacher on May 2, 2017
As part of our Therapeutic Drama class at SINAI’s Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah, the students created a short play about Babe Ruth.  Not only did they learn about the history of Babe Ruth, but they also focused on reading and speaking clearly, social skills, drama, and they were introduced to video editing.  A lot of work was involved in this project and we are very proud of their efforts.  We look forward to additional performances by our SINAI students!
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean on May 1, 2017
Parenting is complicated. I remember how naive I was as a younger parent and less-experienced educator, thinking that it was simple—wondering how parents could do this or their children behave like that. Over time, though, I’ve grown to appreciate how nuanced parenting is and how many variables are at play. The typical complexity of parenting is only compounded further when there is disability at play. In general, it is acutely difficult to generalize good parenting advice, all the more so to share meaningful suggestions for parents of children with special needs. With very rare exceptions,...
By Dr. Karen N. Wasserman, School Psychologist on Apr 3, 2017
            The feelings leading up to Pesach---or any family and holiday meal---can bring either excitement or trepidation and fear, all depending on the lens you have and your particular cast of characters. Add an individual who has special needs into the mix, and everything is magnified.  In these circumstances, the key to a successful holiday is planning.  Whether you are hosting the entire family for all eight days of Pesach or spending the holiday away from home, the more you plan and the more you talk it through with your...
By Frada Stone, LCSW, Assistant Director, SINAI Maor High School at RKYHS on Mar 15, 2017
At SINAI’s Maor High School at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, an important part of our students’ growth is in the social/emotional domain. While our Maor students focus most of their day on academics covering a college preparatory high school curriculum, they benefit significantly from our social skills program that addresses their challenges in navigating social interactions appropriately and effectively. Both Mrs. Pesha New and I use our training as social workers to implement Maor’s social skills curriculum in group and individual settings. In addition, we work with our staff as a...
By Penina Simon, Director of Educational Technology on Mar 9, 2017
As an educator, I strive to think about the actions I have taken in the past and how they have affected my students, fellow teachers and myself. I previously thought that my talents and abilities were simply fixed traits. If I am talented in a certain area, why do I need to work to improve it? Further, if I do try and fail, then what? For instance, I have a passion in using educational technology to engage, enhance and extend student learning. I have had the pleasure of working as the director of educational technology at SINAI Schools since August. Many of my colleagues will often ask me, “...
By Abigail Hepner Gross, Director of Communications on Feb 3, 2017
I was honored to be invited to the Bat Mitzvah of one of our students a few weeks ago, a girl who has the most beautiful face and angelic smile. She has tremendous difficulty making eye contact—I wonder how the photos will come out, because she usually can’t even look at a camera to take a picture. And she has a lot of difficulty putting her words together. She speaks very softly—at just over a whisper, and often struggles to find the words she is looking for. There were at least two tables of her teachers at the Bat Mitzvah. The family had invited not only friends, but all of...
By Alisa Salamon, Speech Therapist on Dec 13, 2016
This year we started the "Givers’ Club" at our school at RYNJ, as a way to work with our students on their social skills, pragmatic learning, and speech and language skills.  The students discuss what it means to do Chesed, and the different ways to be a Giver---donating money, working for a cause, visiting an old age home, cleaning up a park, etc.  Ultimately, as a group they will pick a few projects to follow up with over the course of the year.  This month, at the younger childrens' "Giver's Club" meeting, the students decided to make a Chanukah toy drive their first...
By Rabbi Yehoshua Gold, Assistant Director, Maor at RKYHS on Nov 9, 2016
Many students from Modern Orthodox High Schools choose to spend a year learning in Israel after graduation, commonly known as the “Gap Year.” This is no different for our students at SINAI’s Maor High School, although we spend extra time helping them find a program that will be sensitive to their learning differences or social difficulties.  The year in Israel provides a really important capstone to the learning our students have engaged in while in high school, and the love for Israel that we strive to instill in them.  Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, seeing the places...

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