OROT’s goal is to build an educational program in a day school setting that meets the needs of the individual child. Most OROT classes integrate the concepts of academic self-contained classrooms with social inclusion classes where students are mainstreamed whenever possible. OROT seeks to include all Jewish children in the quest for a Jewish day school education regardless of their particular challenges which may include severe learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), brain injuries, and Down syndrome. In addition, OROT sponsors parent and teacher workshops in the special education field to educate the OROT staff as well as the faculty and staff at the host schools.
OROT designs an individualized academic program for each child. The building blocks of math, reading, and Judaic studies are introduced in a manner in which each child meets with success. OROT teachers also act as the child’s “case manager” in terms of integration into the mainstream class and social integration with peers. OROT teaches and reinforces such skills as “active listening”, following directions, organizational skills, and time management; skills that will help the OROT student transition back into the mainstream class.
Student teacher ratio is capped at eight to one. This small group environment allows the OROT teacher to give each child the attention he or she needs to internalize lessons and strategies. When necessary, class size can go up to twelve but only with the addition of a full-time aide. Since the OROT ratio of students to teacher is kept so small, we need more teachers to staff our classes.
OROT’s presence in our host schools, PJDS, Politz, TA, has served to enhance the lives and experience of the general population at the schools. These students learn tolerance, patience, and acceptance of the unique differences of each OROT child. They participate in the success of the OROT experience by serving as peer role models to OROT students, as helpmates and, most touching of all, as friends.