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Student Success Team

Student Success Team

The Student Success Team provides student support, enrichment and teacher consultation in addressing the varied learning needs and strengths of students in the Hamilton Hebrew Academy.  Ms. Aly Ostrowski, director of the SST, along with Mrs.Mary Martha Starkman, Mr. George Mantik (educational consultant), Rabbi Aaron Kutnowski (SST Judaics Coordinator), Ms. Libby Holmes (School Counselor) and Dr. Ben Klein (Developmental Paediatrician and researcher) who meet  and support our teachers on a weekly basis. As well, Ms. Ostrowski works collaboratively with classroom teachers to:

•    Implement differentiated instruction in the classroom
•    Apply the inquiry process in the classroom
•    Make any necessary accommodations and modifications to grade curriculum
•    Create IEPs and Learning Profiles for exceptional learners
•    Administer DIBELS and CAT testing
•    Provide enrichment materials for gifted learners
•    Refer students for speech, occupational and physical therapy as well as print groups
•    Coordinate grade team meetings

•    Run lunch time homework club


Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated Instruction (DI) is the preferred teaching method at the Hamilton Hebrew Academy as it allows teachers to teach students with differing learning styles. Using the DI methodology, teachers ensure that their lesson appeals to various learning modalities (kinaesthetic, verbal, visual, auditory, naturalistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical-mathematical) by presenting their lesson in varying formats to meet the needs of their learners.

Inquiry Learning

As mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the inquiry process is the platform the Hamilton Hebrew Academy is using to deliver a wide range of our classroom lessons. In the inquiry process, our students become their own explorers of knowledge, with the teacher serving as a guide in assisting them in coming to new understandings. Through its use of differentiated instruction, the inquiry process allows all learners to explore at their own pace using their preferred learning modalities. While the board mandates that the inquiry process is to be used in the instruction of geography and history, the Hamilton Hebrew Academy uses the inquiry process across the General Studies and Judaics curriculum.

Accommodation and Modifications

According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, the term accommodation is used to refer to “the special teaching and assessment strategies, human supports, and /or individualized equipment required to enable a student to learn/or to demonstrate their learning. Accommodations do not alter the provincial curriculum expectation for the grade” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004, p.25). Accommodations can be instructional, environmental or be reflected in changes in the way students are assessed.

Modifications however are the, “changes in the age-appropriate grade-level expectations for a subject or course in order to meet a student’s learning needs. These changes may involve developing expectations that reflect knowledge and skills required in the curriculum for a different grade level and/ or decreasing the number and/or complexity of the regular grade level curriculum expectations” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004,p.25).

IEPs and Learning Plans

IEPs and Learning Plans are documents written by the SST and teachers that direct teachers in how to manipulate their teaching style and content to best meet the needs of individual exceptional learners in their classrooms. An IEP is written for a child with a formal psychoeducational assessment, while a learning profile is designed for a child with undiagnosed learnings needs.

Dibels and CAT Testing

Dibels is a 1:1 teacher given assessment that identifies student oral reading and comprehension skills. This test, which is administered bi-annually in the fall and spring, is given to students in SK through to grade 6. The CAT test is the Canadian Achievement Test that assesses the essential learning outcomes of the following basic skill areas: reading, language, spelling, and mathematics. It is administered in the late spring at the conclusion of the academic year.


Enrichment is best defined as opportunities within the classroom that allow gifted students to independently work on materials. This independent work, which is provided by the teacher or the SST, must either present the grade curriculum concepts in a more challenging and stimulating way, or give the learner an opportunity to work with above grade level materials.  The purpose of enrichment learning is to present the student with challenging and engaging material that match his or her learning abilities.

Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy Referrals

The Academy works with the government funded LHIN to receive therapies for our students from SK-8. For children 18 months-JK parents need to privately contact Early Words for government funded early intervention services.

Print Groups

Print Groups is an optional service provided by the Hamilton Hebrew Academy for parents whose children do not qualify for OT services from the LHIN but still need support in strengthening their handwriting skills. Sessions take place at the school and are led by an OTA.

Homework Club

The SST provides a daily homework club which runs after lunch from 12:20-12:50, supervised by Ms. Heather Wilson.

At the HHA we address student concerns promptly and collaboratively to ensure that all of our students may reach their full potential.