Jun 12, 2014
How to Prevent Failing The System
Students at Cheder Darchai Limud in the 580 Crown Condos shul

Op-Ed by Rabbi Yehuda Adelist: How can the phenomena that many parents face of children failing the yeshiva system be prevented?

By Rabbi Yehuda Adelist

How can the phenomena of children failing the yeshiva system be prevented? This is a question that many parents face. We all know what can result when a child struggles in school repeatedly for years on end. The experience of failure and lack of self worth can do much damage R"L.

What can a parent do when this is observed as it first begins? Until now, the solution has unfortunately not been an easy one. If the child has an underlying learning disability (the term 'learning difficulty' is really more appropriate as there is hope), tutoring will not be enough to keep the child up to par. There are programs out there that offer promises of magic. Though these programs may have merit, 'magic' is usually not the reality, and they can be quite costly.

Sending a child out of the mainstream to a special kind of yeshiva is not for everyone. For a child with a severe delay or a child whose personality will not be affected by a change in the social atmosphere, a yeshiva that addresses their core issue may work. For many though, such a move carries risks as there is a good chance that the classes will be watered down without seriously remediating the core issue. Even when the core issue is addressed, the child can develop a social stigma of feeling different from the community which they grow up in or be affected by negative influences. In addition, many of these special kind of yeshivas rely on government funding and as a result, they compromise on the yiddishkeit being taught to be kept to a minimum.

At the same time, leaving the status quo in the mainstream school where there is much emphasis on textual learning (information that is learnt from reading a text) is not a solution. For a child with a learning difficulty such as reading, auditory processing, or lack of mental focus, the textual learning is just simply too overwhelming. And it only gets more difficult as they move up the grades.

As a special educator, the answer to this dilemma, although experienced by many, seems obvious. These children need a program that tailors the textual classes to their level while at the same time attempting to remediate their skills in the core textual subjects. The ideal would be for this program to be offered during the time of those classes where the child struggles. The children would still be able to join their regular class for the easier non textual classes (such as yahadus, halacha, parsha etc) where many of them thrive. This would also allow them to socialize with their friends in their mainstream yeshiva.

It was on this basis that Cheder Darchai Limud was founded 3 years ago to provide remediation in multiple core subjects using a highly professional curriculum that was developed specifically for this purpose. Until now, it was run as a separate program in the afternoon. The good news is that as of the coming school year, the above in its ideal form will be an option for children in Crown Heights from 1st grade and up, as CDL's program will become streamlined with the mainstream yeshivas.

Cheder Darchai Limud has collaberated with some of the mainstream yeshivas of Crown Heights to begin a full program offering classes on the core subjects of Kriah, Chumash, Mishnayos, and English during the time that they are taught. From 1st to 4th grade this is in the morning until lunch and 5th to 7th grade from 1:00 to 4:00pm. These classes will be considered as an alternative to the mainstream classes that are taught at that time. They are also skill based and work to remediate the underlying learning difficulty. Students join their mainstream friends for the remainder of the day.

80% of the students do get pushed back into the mainstream full time after 2 to 3 years. For those students who eventually move on to a special yeshiva (if and when the mainstream becomes too difficult in the upper elementary and mesivta years), such a program serves a purpose and acts as a solid stepping stone.

Having worked with children with learning difficulties for over 10 years, I have seen clearly that when the child has no major difficulty other than needing a boost, the child can keep up to the pace of the class with the support of a tutor. When there is an underlying learning difficulty, the child usually struggles to keep up in the mainstream class, regardless of support staff and modifications. The only chance of remediation is for them to learn skills at their current level without the pressure of living in the shadow of the mainstream class. For example, a child with a kriah issue will struggle in Chumash as well and will likely fail despite the help. When given a Chumash class on his level simultaneous to kriah remediation, the child can gain chumash skills and narrow the gap. The stigma of leaving the mainstream yeshiva is a big issue, but can be alleviated when the child is still part of the mainstream yeshiva for the majority of the day the way Cheder Darchai Limud packages it.

It would be great if the yeshivas could provide such a service, but that is an unrealistic expectation as the financial burden is too prohibitive. B"H CDL has been able to keep the cost down to a fraction of the cost of an alternative yeshiva and are able to offer limited scholarships.

CDL thanks Rabbi Lustig and Rabbi Simpson for their advice and encouragement, and for their help in this becoming a reality.

Registration at Cheder Darchai Limud is now open. CDL operates from the Crown Condos shul at 580 Crown St and therefore space is limited. Registration will be available on a first come first serve basis. For more information please call 347 743 6132 or email jewishspecialed@gmail.com.

Rabbi Yehuda Adelist, MS SpEd is the director of Cheder Darchai Limud and has been working with children with learning difficulties in Crown Heights for 10 years.



Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
mordi adelist
Sounds like a great idea!
(6/12/2014 8:33:12 PM)
2
Rivkah
How lucky is CH to have such a program, giving the option to those that would benefit tremendously. Well done Yehuda Adelist, may you continue to go from strength to strength!
(6/12/2014 8:49:27 PM)
3
dina lebovic
work there great program keep it up
(6/12/2014 8:54:12 PM)
4
Citizen Berel
I'm not a rage against the machine sort of fellow but this the first time I heard of kids failing the system.

I've heard of the system failing the kid and of the system failing and of the kid failing, but kids failing the system is sorta kinda weird just saying
(6/12/2014 8:58:01 PM)
5
Say it like it is
Children "failing the system"??

What you are really speaking of is the system "failing the children."

While this article seems to be more of a personal advertisement, I applaud your effort to help children in need, and wish you and them every success.
(6/12/2014 9:00:17 PM)
6
good idea
All fine and good but what if the problem is not academic but something like social or lazyness or unmotivated You would think that yeshivas would work with all boys and include them. Unfortunately, they COULDN'T BE BOTHERED!!!
If the teacher or principal is lazier than the student you're left with a PROBLEM!
(6/12/2014 9:00:38 PM)
7
a parent of a student that attends this yeshiva
This school is the absolute answer to many problems that can be avoided. Learning is catered to the children, the children realize that they are not a failure and they can really do it( its amazing to see this actually happen). We as parents want the best for our children,we want to see them succeed and this is what Darchai Limud makes a reality.
I am really happy with this Yeshiva!!!! Thank you Rabbi Adelest for your continuous effort!!!!!
(6/12/2014 9:10:48 PM)
8
Miriam A
for those blaming the system for failing the kids: the end of the day, the reality is that there is not enough man power or time for 1 teacher in a classroom to fix the problems of struggling kids. a program such as darchei limud is very beneficial not only in improving skills, but also boosting self esteem and confidence in students.
well done Rabbi Adelist
(6/12/2014 9:39:10 PM)
9
Grateful mother
My son attends rabbi adelists program. The days that there is no program he is very upset. He enjoys all the individual attention that he receives in this program. The point reward system is amaZing. Every week the children are given a statement balance indicating how many points they have earned and which items they can redeem them for. I for one saw significant changes both cognitively and socially from my son. Thank you rabbi adelist and your dedicated team for filling a void in our community. Much hatzlacha!!!
(6/12/2014 10:13:24 PM)
10
great program
Dovid Horowitz Keep up the Great Work!
(6/12/2014 10:32:21 PM)
11
greatful parents
Our son learned so much at Rabbi Adelist's program. He gained skills and confidence in learning as well as reading. Rabbi Adelist truly caters to each student and is involved with every aspect of their learning and development. Thanks for the wonderful program. Asher and Miriam Friedman
(6/12/2014 10:52:31 PM)
12
Rabbi Adelist is the best educator!
We are so blessed to have had our son for the past 2 yrs with Rabbi Adelist. He has been everything a Rebbi could be.
(6/12/2014 10:54:05 PM)
13
Sound article
I hope they are successful
(6/12/2014 11:03:55 PM)
14
Gedaliah L
Kol Hakavod for this wonderful initiative! It is truly a shame that students who genuinely struggle academically are stigmatised, but unfortunately, it is yet another pitfall of the frum community's toxic obsession with externals and conformism.

I am happy to hear that this program is finally being streamlined. The benefit is twofold; the students themselves can remain in their familiar school environment while taking full advantage of the program, and the mainstream Yeshivas will hopefully acclimatise to and embrace the idea of having such a program on campus.

Keep up the great work, Rabbi Adelist!
(6/13/2014 12:00:24 AM)
15
Dedicated Staff
Thank you Rabbi Adelist for dedicating so much of your time and energy in making this much needed program a great success.

From creating an original curriculum to a fantastic point and prize system to the individual attention given to each and every student and parent...

May this be a source of blessing and may you see much and much more success...

(6/13/2014 12:36:24 AM)
16
research on the success of this school
At first I thought this might be another start up school that will close down after a year, but I was wrong.
Firstly, the principal is extremely devoted. He doesn't try to cut corners. Secondly, the curriculum is created for the students; he tailor makes the curriculum. Thirdly, he interacts with students in a very communicative manner; he explains to the students why he does what he does and gives them the time of day so they can be heard.
I've seen the effects of the program! A boy walked in there in first grade barely knowing the aleph beis and walked out two years later knowing how to read (yes it doesn't happen over night!).
This program comes highly recommended for boys who need remediation.
(6/13/2014 12:36:28 AM)
17
Girls
We need such a program for girls
(6/13/2014 1:24:43 AM)
18
go yehuda
well done for taking the initiative to launch such a well needed program
(6/13/2014 1:44:22 AM)
19
great idea
It's also beneficial to the mainstream school where the Chid goes, as when he's ready to go back full time the school will be to say how they have these wonderful kids turned out and probably even get some credit.
Great idea!
Keep up the good work, and much success!
(6/13/2014 2:27:46 AM)
20
NOT MY PROBLEM??????
BUT WHAT ABOUT ZAL AGE BOCHURIM WHOSE PARENTS WANT TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO MAINSTREAM YESHIVOIS, NOT THE WACKY "REMEDIAL" ALTERNATIVES THAT ARE OUT THERE ??. THE SYSTEM IS FAILING THEM ALSO. YESHIVAS MUST DO MORE TO HELP THEM PROGRESS. THERE ARE NO CHOICE OF NORMAL ZAL YESHIVAHS THAT HAVE INFRASTRUCTURE TO HELP BOCHURIM REACH THEIR POTENTIAL, LIKE IN LlITVISHER/POILISHER YESHIVOIS, IF THEY HAVE HAD FORMATIVE DIFFICULT YEARS FROM THE EARLIEST GRADES TO ZAL AGE. WE NEED TO HEAR THEIR PAIN AND THE STIGMA THAT GOES WITH IT!!!! WAKE UP HANHOLOHS!!! WHAT HAVE WE BECOME IN CHABAD, ONE LARGE MELTING POT????
(6/13/2014 4:03:04 AM)
21
selfs esthim- self confidence and motivation
this 3 point are the basis from where every teacher have to go.
if the lessons are given on this basic a lot of children will not failed in the systhem. but it ask a lot from a teacher. to know the children, to be awer of the needs from every child an to PREPARE the lesson, so that every chil can get with even small succes in the class . with this small and big succes that the teacher put in front of the children and they picked up they will be motivate to do more.
this is true for light "disabilities"but also with big one.
feeling of succes is the key in the classroom, and this will keep the children that needed a little bit push to get up instead of get down.
sorry for my broken english, but this subject is so important that i dare to write also in a not good english
shoshanna huisman
shuisman@chinuch.eu
(6/13/2014 5:11:07 AM)
22
agree with five
how many children have been dropped or dropped out of the yeshiva system because it failed them.
It isn't just the yeshiva system its the lack of tolerance from the children and parents as well as overwhelmed teachers that don't want or cant or are qualified to deal with the children that aren't average and need help.
A great many of these children are singled out as problems and parents wont encourage their children to befriend or help them. This withdrawing cv" ends up with children being left out and feeling they are not part of the group. It can have very serious repercussions cv". Great to hear someone is trying to help now. Its a shame for all those that slipped through the system and have been alienated by it.
(6/13/2014 8:59:45 AM)
23
Yasher Koach
Brilliant concept. The totality of the child is being respected and validated.
(6/13/2014 9:11:11 AM)
24
Best Teacher Dovid Horowitz!
Keep up your great work!!
(6/13/2014 10:41:55 AM)
25
I agree with number 20
Many bucherim say that Smicha is successful because it's a clear-cut curriculum we need a clear-cut curriculum with credits for the mesivta and zal
we're boys get credits when they accomplish their curriculum goals
(6/13/2014 10:44:28 AM)
26
Best teacher
Go Dovid Horowitz!!
(6/13/2014 1:06:09 PM)
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