What is the
HELLER RESOURCE CENTER
at Yeshiva of South Shore?

By Nissan Aranoff

The world of education has changed as dramatically as the nuclear family. Children have individual needs, and their skill sets are as diverse as their appearances. How does a Yeshiva who cares for every single child as an individual accommodate the needs of each child and develop a program to educate him according to his unique abilities?

How does a Yeshiva with classes as large as twenty or so children, develop an educational accommodation to ensure that every one of those students receive an education that is bringing out each child's potential, molding him to the max?

What happens to the child who has learning difficulties? What happens to the boy who cannot differentiate between the Bais and the Chof or confuses an M with a W?

The potential greatness of every child is embedded within him. It takes a special group of teachers to realize that potential and to develop the skills needed to unleash the special qualities that every child has within himself. Success, leadership and foresight are not necessarily related to one's cognitive skills or his ability to see letters and words the way the average student sees them. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are key rungs in the educational system's and society's ladder to success, but true greatness is perceived by the truly great.

Seeing the greatness and potential of every child is the function of the remarkable staff of the Heller Resource Center. Directed by Rabbi Shalom Rohr, a Masters in Special Education with expertise in learning and reading disabilities, the staff of seven expert teachers give the students the tools they need to succeed in both Limudei Kodesh and Secular Studies. Equipped with the latest teaching tools, the Yeshiva of South Shore's Heller Resource Center staff strives to help all the children reach educational accomplishments that neither they nor their teachers and even their parents had ever imagined possible.

Because of the small size of the groups and the high teacher-pupil ratio, the teachers at the Heller Resource Center are able to accommodate each child's needs and ensure that he maintains the basic academic standards of his peers. The educational staff of the Heller Learning Center uses the same materials as the mainstream class, emphasizes the same skills, reads the same literature and develops the same writing skills. In addition, they also perform diagnostic remediation - as a child's needs change, materials and methods are adjusted to meet those needs. Lessons are sequential and individualized as the teachers of the HLC build a hierarchy of skills, the building blocks of success.

All this while remaining cognizant of the fact that while learning and success build self-esteem, self-esteem, in turn, maximizes learning, a philosophy of personal attention in a relaxed educational setting that has proven to be successful. Self-improvement becomes each child's goal.

Through a generous grant by the Gruss Life Monument Funds, the Heller Resource Center was equipped with the Waterford Program by Pearson Educational Software. Waterford is a unique computer program that is geared to fill the needs of Special Education Students in reading, language arts, mathematics and science. The Waterford Early Reading Program incorporates skills like letter mastery, reading and listening development, controlled and natural language stories, complex spelling, basic writing skills, and comprehension strategies. The Early Math and Science program utilizes digital music, engaging graphics, and animation - along with a full set of student take-home materials - targeted to help students master a range of concepts such as number sense, operations, geometry and patterns, the scientific process which incorporates both physical science, and earth science.

In addition, as an adjunct of its successful Heller Resource Center in the elementary school, the Yeshiva of South Shore added a program for early intervention in its Hollander Early Childhood Center. Mrs. Elana Fertig ECC director, Mrs. Chavi Schmell, a professional educator of Special Education and the dynamic Pre-1A Rebbe, known affectionately by his talmidim as "Rebbe Eli" Herzberg, are part of the expansion of the Heller Resource Center's unique programming for our youngest charges.

On August 16th, the Yeshiva will be hosting its Eighth Annual Gala Bar-B-Que and Concert on the Lawn to benefit the Heller Learning Center. This year's event will feature the first Five Towns Performance of the incomparable Benny Friedman who is sure to enthrall the entire audience with his inspiring nigunim and kumsitz style performance. The concert, will be hosted on the beautiful lawn of the home of Ari and Chaya Cohen at 9 Sterling Place in Lawrence. For further information, please contact us at 516-374-7363.

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