TORONTO — Grade 6 students at the Dr. Abraham Shore She’arim Hebrew Day School, which serves children with learning disabilities, now have a place to go within the Jewish school system next year.
Last week, the board of Netivot HaTorah Day School approved in principle a Grade 7 program for 14 children who are in Grade 6 at She’arim, which will close in June because of financial difficulties.
It is the third of three Jewish day schools to offer a place to She’arim students, following the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto and Associated Hebrew Schools.
Last month, it was announced that 18 She’arim students entering Grade 8 would be housed at TanenbaumCHAT’s south campus on Wilmington Avenue for a one-year program to be taught by the community high school’s special education teachers.
Associated Hebrew Schools’ Kamin Campus in Thornhill will have a program for up to 20 She’arim children in Grades 3 to 6.
The three schools will work together to share resources for the new programs, which will constitute, “in effect, a school within a school at three educational facilities,” according to a UJA Federation of Greater Toronto press release.
The federation will provide funding for the cost of education over and above the usual tuitions for the host schools, said federation spokesperson Howard English. The dollar amount is still being worked out, he added.
The long-term future of the program will be discussed after this year, English said. “The goal is certainly for these [programs] to be longer-term, as they affect She’arim kids. The programs are for She’arim kids. That’s not to rule out permanent programs for children with learning disabilities, [but] these schools already have programs for children with learning disabilities.”
Netivot’s board approval is subject to the signing of a memorandum of understanding with federation.
“Our primary priority has always been the well-being of She’arim’s students, and educating them as a group within sensitive settings that meet their unique needs,” federation chair David Koschitzky said in the news release. “We commend Netivot, TanenbaumCHAT and Associated for making this their priority as well and for acting so decisively on behalf of She’arim’s children.”
“Netivot is proud to assist the children of She’arim and the community in providing quality, caring education in an atmosphere that is consistent with the spirit of She’arim,” Netivot president Stuart Lewis said in the federation release. “We’re also enthusiastic about working in close collaboration with Associated and TanenbaumCHAT, which are recognized for their high educational standards.”