OU’s Yachad New Jersey Teacher and Special Education Conferences Grow to 700 Participants
Yachad and the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), in coordination with the National Association of Jewish Schools Serving Special Children, presented dual conferences -- the New Jersey Statewide Professional Development Conference for Elementary, Junior High School and Special Education levels; and the National Special Education Professional Development Conference at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston on Election Day.
“With more than 700 professionals in the field of education, and representation from 60 schools in nine states, these have grown into the largest national conferences in Jewish education,” declared Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/NJCD.
The conferences, with the shared theme of "Talmud Torah Al Pi Darko (Learning Torah According to His Own Way): Reaching all of Our Students," ran simultaneously and concentrated on general, Judaic studies, and special education; serving children with special needs; providing educational advocacy; leadership development; teacher recruitment and training; and developing programs of inclusion.
Dr. David Pelcovitz, who holds the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Jewish Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education of Yeshiva University, gave the first keynote presentation on, “Understanding the Unique Needs of Children: Reaching Children Who Don’t Fit.”
The foremost authorities on effecting teaching, and the authors of the best-selling book in education, The First Days of School, Harry and Rosemary Wong, ED.DS, gave the second keynote presentation on “How to Be an Effective and Successful Educator.”
“Participants came from across the spectrum of Jewish observance, as our goal with National Association of Jewish Schools Serving Special Children is to enable educators to network and stay on top of the newest advances in Special Education, specifically in the field of Jewish studies,” declared Batya Jacob, Director of Educational Services of NJCD, and Associate Director of both the New Jersey and the National Associations.
Planning ahead, Mrs. Jacob announced that the date for next year’s conference is Tuesday, November 8.
Teachers became the students at the conference, held at the Kushner Academy.
Rabbi David Abramchik, of Mesifta Yam HaTorah in Bayswater, NY, addressed tools to assist in developing the proper attitude towards prayer; and the use of storytelling from biblical and secular sources to teach Torah values to young pupils.
Elaine Haven, of the Educators Training Network, addressed methods for memory retention with respects to mathematics, testing, and literature.
Mrs. Ettie Siegel, of the Bais Yaakov of Queens, gave practical advice and proven methodology for teaching Hebrew easily and effectively with no discipline problems.