Riverdale — SAR Academy and SINAI Schools have announced a partnership in establishing a pilot program for students with special education needs in fall 2018. SINAI at SAR initially will serve children ages 6-8 who have a wide range of complex learning challenges and/or developmental disabilities. “Bringing SINAI to SAR will allow us to provide a place for the children of SAR families whom we currently are unable to serve,” said Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, SAR Academy’s principal. “This new relationship directly reflects SAR’s educational goals, to foster a community of students who demonstrate sensitivity for their peers and an appreciation of the differences in others,” he said.
In opening a new school at SAR, SINAI is responding to the increased demand for their services, particularly within New York City and Westchester. “SINAI has doubled in size over the past seven years, to meet the ever-growing needs of the community,” said Sam Fishman, Managing Director of SINAI Schools. He added that 35 percent of SINAI’s current students reside in New York City or Westchester.
SAR Academy, located in Riverdale, New York, is a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school established in 1969. The school’s open architectural plan is a physical representation of the value placed by SAR on open thinking, engagement, collaboration and respectful relationships. “The SAR philosophy and approach to education and inclusion makes them ideal partners for us at SINAI,” said Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean of SINAI Schools.
“We all have something to learn from one another. Everyone will benefit from our partnership—not only the students who need SINAI’s special education expertise, but our own SAR students as well,” said Rabbi Krauss.
SINAI at SAR will be SINAI’s seventh school. SINAI currently operates elementary schools at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, both of which serve students with a broad range of complex special needs in Grades 1-8. SINAI operates three high schools for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities at Torah Academy of Bergen County, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School and Heichal HaTorah. SINAI also operates a high school at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School for college-bound high schoolers with complex learning disabilities, Aspergers, ADHD and social/anxiety disorders. SINAI is the only Jewish special education school to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, an independent agency that sets rigorous educational standards.
The new school is set to open in September 2018, with a SINAI class serving children ages 6-8, and will expand to serve more children in its second year. Following their inclusive “school within a school” model, SINAI will operate in partnership with SAR Academy, providing the academic support SINAI’s special education students need, and working together with SAR to create an inclusive educational experience for the students of both schools. SINAI students will be part of the SAR community — sharing the playground, lunchroom and even classes with SAR students when appropriate, and riding the same buses as their brothers and sisters to school. “It is so exciting for us to work with Rabbi Krauss and his talented staff at SAR,” said Rabbi Rothwachs. “From our first conversation it was obvious that SAR and SINAI share fundamental similarities in how we approach education and inclusion. The success of our schools is intrinsically tied to the positive relationships we have with each of our partner schools, and I can see that this will be a wonderful partnership.”
“Our partnership with SAR will enable us to continue to grow to meet demand, and allow us to serve children who currently live too far away to commute to our existing schools in New Jersey. It is my hope that SINAI at SAR will become an important resource within New York City and Westchester for families who have children with special needs,” said Fishman.
For more information about SINAI Schools, visit www.sinaischools.org or call 201-833-1134.