Segula Meets Students' Individual Learning Needs

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COVID-19 on student learning is one of the biggest challenges of this pandemic. Students have had to adjust to a completely new way of learning at a rapid speed. For children with special needs and their families, this has meant even more hurdles to overcome.

Children with disabilities often need multi-level supports in order to learn. Segula, an inclusion program, has provided supports for these children in Cleveland’s Jewish Day Schools through differentiated instruction and curriculum modifications. Segula coordinators have developed varied learning strategies to meet each child’s individual needs, and instructional aides typically work directly with their students in the classroom. With the COVID-19 “stay at home” order, Segula has had to completely rethink how they can meet these needs at home.

For some students, working via internet technology is possible, but for others it is not. Some children’s needs simply cannot be met that way. This means thinking way out of our comfort zones and constantly brainstorming new ideas. It is so gratifying when those “out-there” ideas pay off in wonderful ways.

Dassi Shtern, director of special education and Segula, recently received a call from a parent gushing with appreciation for her child’s Segula support team. This child has significant cognitive disabilities and does not have access to online technology. For the first couple weeks of quarantine, Segula was unable to provide her with any support services and her staff was working with her over the phone, which as you can imagine, did not have nearly enough meaning or impact. When the weather finally got a bit warmer, her aide came to her home in mask and gloves (and coat and hat!), with enlarged sized materials that she posted up to the back porch windows. She then brought out window markers and began to teach her student through the glass. It was a moment that will be hard to forget!

COVID-19 has thrown us into a world where we are forced to think far out of the box and try things that are so unusual! But sometimes, the impact may be far greater then we can even imagine. With continued dedication of the incredible staff, our students will come through smarter and stronger because of it.

You make stories like this possible because of your support to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Campaign for Jewish Needs.

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