Setting all students up for success at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater

by | Dec 18, 2017 | Other News

Jewish Proverb: “Who is wise? The one who learns from every person.”

While a Jewish Day School experience is often considered a homogeneous education, within every group of students, a range of abilities always exists. Hebrew Academy of Tidewater’s goal, therefore, is to create a caring community so that students feel comfortable asking for help and accepting that help from teachers and fellow students.

Everyone has a strength
Many of HAT’s “mission-appropriate” students may thrive at the school, but have a learning disability or attention issue that makes learning more difficult. In these cases, the faculty examines the student’s needs and designs strategies to set the student up for success. The school emphasizes that all students have both strengths and areas for growth, and everyone learns from each other.

Small classes mean individual attention
With class sizes of fewer than 20 students, HAT teachers offer differentiated instruction. Students can be seen working one-on-one with a teacher as other students work independently. The school’s project-based learning approach allows students to work in groups to explore, create, and discuss ideas. As a result, students feel motivated and excited.

Fidget time
HAT understands that young children need to fidget. Their little bodies are not made to sit still for hours at a time. HAT classrooms, therefore, are equipped with enhancements such as bouncy chairs, stationary bikes to use while seated, a standing desk, and a cord that attaches to a desk for resting feet. When students are comfortable in their classroom, they tend to focus better on their classwork.

Study skills
Teaching students self-help skills is key in a classroom with a variety of skill levels. In addition to posted visual aids to help students follow directions, opportunities for partner work allow students to collaborate and alleviate the pressure of “getting everything right.” Students are taught study skills such as how to break up work into chunks and to study each night when a test is planned for the end of the week.

Student Support Specialist
When teachers are concerned about a child’s performance, they speak with the Student Support Team. The Student Support Specialist meets each day with select students to provide extra support and ensure that each student’s educational needs are met. This support might be extra tutoring, help with organization, or ongoing classroom assistance.

Strategies for anxiety
Students have all sorts of worries which can impact both behavior and academic performance. Understanding that behavior problems often stem from school anxiety, HAT introduced a mindfulness program last year. Starting the school day with a short yoga class to calm their minds, followed by a lesson on social and emotional skills using the Second Step Program, the children were taught how to communicate their worries, along with strategies to employ when worries arise.

Accepted at the best
Hebrew Academy’s mission and responsibility is to provide the best education to its student body. The early years, or preschool through grade five are essential in providing an education that delivers students the academic, social, and emotional skills to set them up for success as they develop into independent learners. As a testament to this job, every year, HAT students are accepted to the most competitive public and private middle school programs in Tidewater.

To schedule a tour of the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, contact Carin Simon, admissions director at 757-424-4327 or

– Carin Simon