Learning Center – Nomi Winderbaum, Sara Weiss and Kim Hardman
The goal of the Learning Center is to ensure that all students at SHA are supported in reaching their full potential as learners. Our three learning center teachers reach this goal by:
• Supporting teachers with differentiation of curriculum to meet a range of learners
• Provide in-class support for students who struggle or may benefit from enrichment
• Provide pull-out services for students who require individualized instruction beyond what the general classroom can provide.
• Act as liaisons between Seattle Public Schools or private therapists (speech, occupational therapy, etc.) and families.
• Teach study and organizational skills for students.
Services are available for students above or below grade level in General or Judaic studies, who are English Language Learners, or who struggles with organization/executive function skills.
The Counseling program at Seattle Hebrew Academy follows the comprehensive guidance model which means that a large focus of the program is on developmental prevention activities for all students. Students in classes from kindergarten through 4th grade all participate in weekly lessons which focus on building social skills, developing empathy, learning to manage difficult emotions, and learning problem-solving skills. In addition, a personal safety unit is taught in grades K-3 which teaches topics such as traffic, fire, and gun safety, what to do if you are lost, and safe and unsafe touching. 4th & 5th Graders, as well as Middle Schoolers are taught about the importance of staying safe while using electronic communications (such as email, texting, and social media websites). Also at the middle school level, the counselor organizes and co-teaches classes in human growth and development (Puberty) for 5-8th graders. Middle Schoolers also are taught from a comprehensive social-emotional skill-building curriculum, Second Step, throughout the school year.
In addition to classroom presentations, a large part of the counseling program is working with individual or small groups of students at all age levels around particular topics such as building friendship skills, divorce, anger management and stress management. While students who require long-term individual counseling are referred to private therapists or community agencies, many children can benefit from short-term individual counseling consisting of up to four weekly session or more sporadic support throughout the year. Sometimes students require even just one visit to problem-solve a situation that is troubling them. A majority of students at SHA will visit with the counselor in this way at some point in the year.
The counselor at SHA also provides support to teachers and parents through consultation about how to address difficult classroom behaviors, information about normal child development, and signs of emotional distress, parenting advice, and community referrals.
Services provided through the counseling program enrich the lives of our students and help to prepare them for a healthy future; in addition, they also reduce incidences of behavior problems and allow more time for classroom teaching.
Tips, outside events related to counseling, referrals and other resources can either be obtained through the School Counselor directly, or from the counseling blog: www.shacounseling.wordpress.com.