Page 1

FALL 2016 NEWSLETTER Director’s Message

13300 Arctic Avenue Rockville, MD 20853

Suburban, MD Permit No. 1699

PAID

Non-Profit Org. US Postage

sulam.org/match

Special education is a labor of love, dedication, care, and exquisite expertise. With constant research-based scientific advances in brain development, special educators must be knowledgeable, and able to implement cutting edge practices immediately. They must exercise compassion and understanding for both students and their parents, who are searching for answers and support in raising their children. At Sulam, our biggest asset is our team of innovative and creative special educators. Every Sulam student has their very own team to support their success in Berman Hebrew Academy general education classes. Take a look at the photographs and stories in the pages of this newsletter that highlight the Berman-Sulam partnership, an exciting collaboration between two outstanding educational institutions.

Sulam in Action at Berman Hebrew Academy

Sulam students are seamlessly integrated within Berman Hebrew Academy classes and activities while also receiving the individualized instruction that they need. Check out some of our students and their friends in action on a typical school day. A Sulam kindergarten student shows Berman Kindergarten teacher, Morah Michal, that he knows the Hebrew day of the week.

Sixth grade Sulam and Berman students enjoy conversation and lunch

It’s here! Look inside for details.

in the library.

Likewise, our Shearim students are given opportunities to learn and socialize with their typically developing peers at Berman Hebrew Academy, as well as receive direct instruction in life skills and (in Upper School) receive on-the-job coaching. We are thankful to the community businesses that have opened their hearts and their doors to make this learning possible. It is gratifying to know that the Greater Washington community supports our important mission of including students in their community schools - be it by offering job and internship opportunities, or making financial contributions to help finance our students and their families in their quest for a specialized and inclusive education. May we all merit to continue providing students with what is rightfully theirs - the right to be included in their community school, learning alongside their siblings, friends and peers. Lianne Heller

First grade students work together on a project with the help of both Sulam and Berman faculty.

Sulam is well represented on the Berman Beats with two Sulam students adding their talents to the overall success of the a capella group. Sulam and Berman students play together on the Cougar soccer team.


Meet our Sulam Specialists: Meet Mrs. Arlene Sullivan, Sulam’s Reading Specialist. Mrs. Sullivan works with Sulam teachers to develop researchbased curriculum and implement data-driven instruction in their literacy classrooms. She tutors individual students needing specialized reading intervention and provides resources to parents and educators on best practices in literacy instruction. Mrs. Sullivan holds a Master of Special Education Degree, a Master of Elementary Education Degree, and multiple reading intervention certifications. She is also a regular competitor in Tough Mudder, a ten to twelve mile obstacle course to test mental grit, camaraderie and all round physical fitness. “It is a true pleasure to work alongside the incredible Sulam professionals everyday and help our wonderful students develop the grit and perseverance they need to conquer their reading challenges,” says Mrs. Sullivan.

Upper School Shearim Work Study Program

Shearim Upper School students at Berman Hebrew Academy participate in a Work Study program, affording them the opportunity to learn vocational skills in real community work settings. “Our Work Study Program offers our students opportunities to acquire on-the-job skills and life skills,” explained Mrs. Sabina Radin, Shearim teacher. ”My students are proud that they are making a contribution to the workplace and in the community. They feel appreciated.” Community businesses Shalom Kosher and Ben Yehuda Cafe and Pizzeria, plus Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Synagogue have partnered with Sulam to make the Work Study Program possible. Students learn to take public transportation to get to their workplace, learn how to cooperate with other workers, and maintain a journal about their experiences.

Marsha Stepensky is Sulam’s new Behavioral Specialist. Ms. Stepensky works with Sulam students to promote strong social and emotional skills. Together they explore subjects such as “expected and unexpected” behaviors, and learn to selfmonitor their interactions at school. Ms. Stepensky holds a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. “The varying needs of our student’s challenges me to find creative and innovative ways to aid our students’ social, emotional, and behavioral development. Success in these domains is so critical to our students being happy, independent, and productive members of their communities,” says Ms. Stepensky.

Sulam / Berman Hybrid Class

To meet every student’s needs, Sulam is offering several Hybrid classes in partnership with the Berman Hebrew Academy. These small classes give the students the exciting opportunity to learn through hands-on, interactive and creative activities. Sulam superstar Judaics teacher, Rabbi Eli Perles (pictured with his 4th and 5th grade Hybrid Chumash class), pulls out all the stops to make this a “fantastic experience!” “The hybrid class is an amazing opportunity to connect with Sulam and Berman students and staff. Together we have become partners in learning, making connections and engaging with one another,” says Rabbi Perles.

Shearim Touch Math

Lower and middle school Shearim students are using the Touch Math curriculum this year. It is a visual, tactile, and auditory math program that has already proven to be very popular with students. “We are having so much fun learning math,” enthused Mrs. Linda Goodwin, Shearim lower and middle school teacher. “We have used index cards and button candy for counting, completed math sentences using applications on our iPads, and we particularly love the kinesthetic strategies that keep us up and moving and always problem solving!”

Flexible Seating Classroom

In her own words, Miriam Riven, Sulam Upper School Teacher, explains why she has redesigned the typical class setting for her Study Skills and English classes this year: “I first became interested in implementing a flexible seating classroom when I was in grad school. Sitting for three hours during my evening courses was excruciating. I realized that if I am having trouble with this arrangement just once a week for three hours, I can't imagine how our students feel sitting for so many hours each day. I began to do some research and found evidence that supported and advocated for flexible seating arrangements in classrooms. Flexible seating gives students a comfortable and safe space in which to study, allows students to work collaboratively or independently, and provides for movement breaks when necessary. One of the greatest benefits I have witnessed is that this seating arrangement gives our students a choice. When students begin to make choices based on where and how they learn best, they are conscientious about the option they choose. Students self-select their seat. If it isn't working for them, they have to reevaluate if that seat is the best choice for them. It is a pleasure to see my classes fully engaged and on task while being in a student centered environment that lends itself to learning.”


Meet our Sulam Specialists: Meet Mrs. Arlene Sullivan, Sulam’s Reading Specialist. Mrs. Sullivan works with Sulam teachers to develop researchbased curriculum and implement data-driven instruction in their literacy classrooms. She tutors individual students needing specialized reading intervention and provides resources to parents and educators on best practices in literacy instruction. Mrs. Sullivan holds a Master of Special Education Degree, a Master of Elementary Education Degree, and multiple reading intervention certifications. She is also a regular competitor in Tough Mudder, a ten to twelve mile obstacle course to test mental grit, camaraderie and all round physical fitness. “It is a true pleasure to work alongside the incredible Sulam professionals everyday and help our wonderful students develop the grit and perseverance they need to conquer their reading challenges,” says Mrs. Sullivan.

Upper School Shearim Work Study Program

Shearim Upper School students at Berman Hebrew Academy participate in a Work Study program, affording them the opportunity to learn vocational skills in real community work settings. “Our Work Study Program offers our students opportunities to acquire on-the-job skills and life skills,” explained Mrs. Sabina Radin, Shearim teacher. ”My students are proud that they are making a contribution to the workplace and in the community. They feel appreciated.” Community businesses Shalom Kosher and Ben Yehuda Cafe and Pizzeria, plus Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Synagogue have partnered with Sulam to make the Work Study Program possible. Students learn to take public transportation to get to their workplace, learn how to cooperate with other workers, and maintain a journal about their experiences.

Marsha Stepensky is Sulam’s new Behavioral Specialist. Ms. Stepensky works with Sulam students to promote strong social and emotional skills. Together they explore subjects such as “expected and unexpected” behaviors, and learn to selfmonitor their interactions at school. Ms. Stepensky holds a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. “The varying needs of our student’s challenges me to find creative and innovative ways to aid our students’ social, emotional, and behavioral development. Success in these domains is so critical to our students being happy, independent, and productive members of their communities,” says Ms. Stepensky.

Sulam / Berman Hybrid Class

To meet every student’s needs, Sulam is offering several Hybrid classes in partnership with the Berman Hebrew Academy. These small classes give the students the exciting opportunity to learn through hands-on, interactive and creative activities. Sulam superstar Judaics teacher, Rabbi Eli Perles (pictured with his 4th and 5th grade Hybrid Chumash class), pulls out all the stops to make this a “fantastic experience!” “The hybrid class is an amazing opportunity to connect with Sulam and Berman students and staff. Together we have become partners in learning, making connections and engaging with one another,” says Rabbi Perles.

Shearim Touch Math

Lower and middle school Shearim students are using the Touch Math curriculum this year. It is a visual, tactile, and auditory math program that has already proven to be very popular with students. “We are having so much fun learning math,” enthused Mrs. Linda Goodwin, Shearim lower and middle school teacher. “We have used index cards and button candy for counting, completed math sentences using applications on our iPads, and we particularly love the kinesthetic strategies that keep us up and moving and always problem solving!”

Flexible Seating Classroom

In her own words, Miriam Riven, Sulam Upper School Teacher, explains why she has redesigned the typical class setting for her Study Skills and English classes this year: “I first became interested in implementing a flexible seating classroom when I was in grad school. Sitting for three hours during my evening courses was excruciating. I realized that if I am having trouble with this arrangement just once a week for three hours, I can't imagine how our students feel sitting for so many hours each day. I began to do some research and found evidence that supported and advocated for flexible seating arrangements in classrooms. Flexible seating gives students a comfortable and safe space in which to study, allows students to work collaboratively or independently, and provides for movement breaks when necessary. One of the greatest benefits I have witnessed is that this seating arrangement gives our students a choice. When students begin to make choices based on where and how they learn best, they are conscientious about the option they choose. Students self-select their seat. If it isn't working for them, they have to reevaluate if that seat is the best choice for them. It is a pleasure to see my classes fully engaged and on task while being in a student centered environment that lends itself to learning.”


Newsletter Fall 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you