Yachad National Conference on “Creating A Positive Environment For Diverse Learners,” 2/9-10

January 23, 2014

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Classrooms with diverse learners, that is, those with children with special needs who are placed together with mainstream students, provide a special challenge for educators. To help them meet this challenge, a Yachad division, The International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education, will present a two-day conference, “Creating a Positive School Environment for Diverse Learners.” It will be held Sunday and Monday, February 9-10 at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ. The Sunday session will be from 12 noon to 9 p.m., including dinner. The Monday program will run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Continuing education is a vital ingredient to excellent teaching and classroom management. As almost all of our classrooms include diverse learners, every child is a diverse learner. The need therefore for quality, cutting-edge professional development is critical,” explained Batya Jacob, Director, Yachad Educational Support Services and Director of the International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education. “Yachad/ National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) has secured experts in the field of inclusion and special education in both secular and limudei kodesh (Jewish Studies) areas in order to keep all of our educators up to date on the latest methodology to ensure that all students are included in the Jewish day school and yeshiva community.”

“Yachad,” the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s NJCD, provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community.”

The educators will be coming from across the United States and Canada, with about 200 expected to attend. Two schools have closed for the day so their educators can attend; in other cases, the schools have released the teachers from classroom responsibilities for the day to participate.

There will be a keynote speaker each day. Sunday from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Dr. Howard Muscott will discuss “Creating a Positive School Climate.” Dr. Muscott is Director of the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Support. He has more than 30 years of experience in education ranging from preschool to higher education and has special expertise in education for students with disabilities.

Monday’s keynoter, speaking from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., will be Rick Lavoie of Boston, an educational consultant who will address the topic “It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Social Success.” He holds three degrees in Special Education and two Honorary Doctorates in Education and has served for 30 years as an administrator of residential programs for children with special needs.

Featured speakers include Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad/NJCD; Rabbi Yaakov Aichenbaum, Director of the Limudei Kodesh Resource Room in the Scranton Hebrew Day School; Dr. Jed Baker of New Jersey, Director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems; and Dr. Karen Gazith, Director of Education at the Bronfman Jewish Education Centre in Montreal and adjunct professor in the department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill University there.

Sunday will feature seven workshops and Monday will present 26. The Monday program will conclude with a keynote summation by Rick Lavoie, “When Elephants Fight, It’s the Grass that Gets Trampled.” Among the workshop sessions, are the following:

• Supporting Students with Learning Issues in the Mainstream Classroom
• Creating the Brain-Friendly Classroom
• Building Classroom Management Systems of Positive Behavior Support
• Last One Picked – First One Picked On
• Dyslexia Research and Challenges
• Using Technology to Teach Diverse Learners Limudei Kodesh
• The Social Aspects of Learning Disabilities
• Kriah (reading) for Struggling Students
• No More Meltdowns: Managing and Preventing Challenging Behaviors
• Study Skills: How to Become an Active Listener
• Teaching to Multiple Student Intelligences
• The List: A Practical Way to Teach Chumash (The Five Books of Moses)
• STEM and NAO: Robotics in Education

For further information, contact Batya Jacob at {encode=”batyaj@ou.org” title=”batyaj@ou.org”}, or 212-613-8127. Hotel accommodations can be made through Yachad.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life