School Partnership for Inclusion
September 20, 2019
Kayla’s Children Centre and Netivot HaTorah entered a new and exciting partnership to leverage their close physical proximity (literally, next door to each other) and help close the gap in the Jewish day school system for students whose behavioural, social and emotional needs are beyond the scope of the traditional dual curriculum program.
As part of the Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Satellite Program – special education classrooms hosted in four Jewish day schools in Toronto that cater to children who require small group instruction and therapeutic interventions, while offering integration opportunities within the host school – the new KCC-Netivot model removes barriers and offers students an inclusive academic and social experience appropriate to their individual learning needs and level of independence.
Students are given the opportunity to integrate into academic classes while having access to all the therapies and supports KCC offers in its new state-of-the-art facility.
Originally piloted last year with a handful of students from grades 1 to 3, the partnership was expanded this year to include students who have greater needs and are unable to integrate into traditional academic classes. For the current school year, 10 students will be included in Netivot classes. In addition, following last year’s success, two middle school students are now attending Netivot full time with KCC supports.
According to Rabbi Rafi Cashman, PhD, who is head of school at Netivot HaTorah, collaborations such as this are an enormous benefit for communities.
“Creating opportunities for positive and creative interactions between the often-siloed work of classroom teachers, let alone between educational organizations, is a challenging task, but the benefits of interaction and collaboration are exactly what we found when our two schools entered into this partnership by sharing space,” said Rabbi Cashman. “KCC is an extraordinary organization with great leadership. We are privileged to have this partnership and would love nothing more than to continue expanding it. We need to do so slowly, ensuring each piece we add can be properly supported so students can achieve the greatest success.”