Student Services

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A Note from the Student Services Coordinators

The Student Services Department is here to ensure that all our students are provided a strong foundation and the necessary skills to achieve success in school and beyond. We collaborate with REACH to promote the academic and social/emotional success of every child.

Our nurturing team of professionals is committed to identifying the individual needs of each student and providing them with the instruction and support they require in all areas of growth – academic, behavioral, social, and emotional. Through regular assessments in grades K-8, both formal and informal, teachers and Student Services staff work in partnership to identify and provide remediation support to those students who qualify.

Academic support is provided with targeted intervention through varying levels of assistance, ranging from differentiated instruction in the general education setting, using accommodations and modifications to small group assistance from our learning specialists outside of the classroom.

Students with social or emotional needs are supported within the classroom and they also may participate in organized social groups. Some receive individual support from our school social worker.

Our goal is to provide the best learning environment possible and meet the needs of all students. We believe in a collaborative approach where students, teachers, and parents all work together with the Student Services team. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time with questions or concerns about your student’s educational, emotional, and social experience at Hillel Torah.


Sydney Robinson                                               Samara Kipnis
Primary School Student Services Coordinator   Middle School Student Services Coordinator

[email protected]                      [email protected]

We take pride in our credentialed and licensed learning specialists who provide children with the instruction and support they need, in academic, behavioral, social, and emotional growth areas.

Students are supported in academic subjects, including both general and Judaic studies. Our classroom teachers provide differentiated instruction as an initial level of intervention. Beyond this, for students requiring additional support, our learning specialists use engaging, research-based interventions and monitor progress regularly to ensure that students are actively involved in learning and making progress towards their educational goals.

Our learning specialists also serve as case managers to coordinate classroom accommodations with classroom teachers and outside professionals.

Academic Resource Support 

In both primary and middle school, we provide:

  • Intervention plans
  • Guidance in navigating the evaluation process and understanding results
  • Individualized Support Plans (ISP) based on evaluation results
  • Support in the classroom for both teachers and students
  • Support in a small group setting outside of the classroom when necessary
  • Middle School testing accommodations and modifications when needed


How to Access Support:

Hillel Torah provides children with differentiated instruction and interventions to support a wide range of learners. Our team is committed to meeting students’ needs collaboratively with families and classroom teachers. Classroom teachers and the Student Services Team reach out to families when there is a concern about a student. Additionally, if you, as the parent or guardian, have concerns about your child, we encourage you to communicate with your child’s classroom teacher who will work to address your child’s needs. The classroom teachers are in frequent communication with the Student Services Team and together will determine the best next steps in supporting your child.

If additional supports outside of the classroom are needed, the Student Services Team will draft an intervention plan for your child. Parental consent is required before implementation of the intervention. If the Student Services Team feels that more information is needed to best support your child, an outside evaluation may be recommended, and we will help families navigate that process. Currently, there are three options for evaluations: private evaluations, evaluations through REACH, and evaluations through the public school district. We can help walk you through the details of each option and help you make the best choice for your child.

After the Student Services Team receives an evaluation, we will draft an Individualized Support Plan, which includes: student strengths, diagnostic information, accommodations and modifications, and proposed Special Education services. Together with the classroom teacher and parents/guardians, the Student Services Team will lead an Individualized Support Plan (ISP) meeting, where the child’s team will collaboratively agree upon or alter the student’s Individualized Support Plan for the remainder of the school year.

You, the parent/guardian, will always be part of the process when it comes to your child getting his/her needs met at school. Your child’s progress will be monitored regularly, and we are committed to maintaining ongoing communication with you.

For more detailed information about services available for primary school students, please contact Sydney Robinson, Primary School Student Services Coordinator, and for middle school students, contact Samara Kipnis, Middle School Student Services Coordinator.

Our learning specialists are trained and have certifications in:

  • Collaborative Problem Solving
  • Fountas and Pinnell Literacy
  • Nurtured Heart Approach
  • Mediation
  • Orton-Gillingham
  • Wilson Reading System
  • Kriah Master
  • Kiwak Kriya Method
  • Lifnai Vlifnim

Additional Learning Support

Title I
Children residing in Chicago may be eligible to receive support from Title I which includes Academic Coaching and after school tutoring.  Students participating in these programs receive additional academic support for reading, math, and executive functioning skills. We can help you determine if your child qualifies for any Title I assistance.

Middle School Learning Lab
Learning Lab is a specialized class that meets four times a week in which students receive targeted, direct instruction of student skills. These skills include emotional awareness, self-advocacy, how to complete and schedule homework and long-term projects, note-taking, annotating, mindfulness, stress reduction, how to study, and test-taking strategies. One time each week, the class takes a break from its usual curriculum in order to provide students with an opportunity to study for upcoming quizzes and tests, ask questions, and receive additional support for a specific assignment, and/or to catch up on missing work.

Enrichment Services
Classroom teachers are trained in differentiating instruction to meet every child at his/her level and challenge students to progress appropriately.

In addition to classroom differentiation, students who qualify are invited to participate in a rigorous math enrichment program. Students in the math enrichment program meet regularly with a math instructor and participate in creative activities to challenge their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Social/Emotional Support 

Our licensed School Social Worker, Carly Krawetz, LSW meets with children individually, as well as in small groups. She is also our Middle School Advisor Coordinator as well as a member of our Child Safety Team.

Ms. Krawetz works collaboratively with therapists in the community to support students in the school setting. Her goal is to help students develop self-awareness, help them build their resilience, and empower positive, proactive decision making

Additionally, Ms. Krawetz coordinates and develops Wellness Workshops and safety initiatives for all students at Hillel Torah as well as programming and education for parents.

Our Social Work Programs and Curriculum include:

  • Safety Kid: Grades K, 2, and 4 learn about the ABC’s of safety.
  • Digital Citizenship: Middle school students participate in lessons about how to stay safe while using the internet and social media.
  • Family Life: Middle school students learn from a medical professional about physical and emotional development changes they may experience. This is done in an appropriate manner for each grade level.
  • Stress and Anxiety Management: Students learn skills to manage stress and anxiety such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, and executive functioning.
  • Zones of Regulation: This is a Cognitive-behavioral approach used to teach students how to regulate their feelings, energy, and sensory needs in order to meet the demands of the situation around them.
  • Social Thinking: Through age-appropriate materials, students gain strategies to help them improve their social competencies, including: self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective-taking, and social problem-solving.
  • Positive School Environment Initiative: All students take part in lessons to address different types of conflicts and how to identify and respond to bullying behaviors.

Outside Consultants and Evaluations

In-School Services from Outside Consultants
As a convenience to our families, we coordinate with outside agencies to provide services to our students during the school day.

  • Occupational Therapy: A licensed Occupational Therapist comes to Hillel Torah on a case-by-case basis to consult with classroom teachers, screen students, and to provide direct support to children who may need extra help in this area. Children are supported in their fine motor, writing, and classroom functioning skills. If you have a specific concern in this area, we would be happy to connect you with the Occupational Therapist.
  • Speech Screenings through Northwestern: Every year, Northwestern University graduate students screen students for speech needs in nursery, kindergarten, and first grade and by referral for pre-nursery, second and third grades.
  • Niles Township District for Special Education. NTDSE provides limited speech therapy services. If your child qualifies, we will help you navigate the appropriate channels to obtain speech therapy from the township.


Referrals for Evaluations
When it is determined that a child needs a comprehensive educational evaluation and/or outside therapies, the Student Services staff works with the family to refer them to the appropriate outside resources.

Families at Hillel Torah who qualify may access a REACH grant through the Jewish Federation for subsidized academic evaluations.

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