Nearly 100 teachers from Jewish day schools in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Arizona are gathering online for a two-week summit to discuss the challenges associated with distance learning and virtual classrooms for atypical learners. The event is hosted by Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit training Jewish day school teachers of struggling students, in partnership with Bank Street School of Education.

Participants noted that the spring 2020 semester, held under lockdown, was particularly challenging for children who struggle in the classroom and require individual attention and learning plans.

“One of the most important lessons emerging from this pandemic is the critical importance of classrooms that are socially and emotionally attuned,” said Hidden Sparks Executive Director Debbie Niderberg, in a statement. “Though our teachers did a fantastic job pivoting in the spring, students have experienced loss, anxiety and disorientation and teachers will have to be equipped first and foremost with how to welcome students back in the fall – either onsite or remote, and how to support them.”

What Learning Summit Participants Are Saying…

 “Having attended PD summits in the past, I usually have a few takeaways that are great and the rest I feel was okay or a waste of time. This summit was WOW! I walked away every single day with practical tools and strategies that I could begin using right away. It was wholesome, rich, inspiring, and mind blowing. Being able to collaborate with other like-minded professionals, and expanding my networking circle was an added bonus!!”

“OMG! This was INCREDIBLY helpful. Primarily, for the mental health and peace of mind. Collaborating with the other educators made me feel valued and validated, and just being with this community reinvigorated my love for teaching. I loved listening to the presenters and I loved the materials, and it just gave me so much insight about how to incorporate these wonderful ideas into my classroom.”

“Besides giving practical tips, it allowed time to play around with ideas for implementation. The summit gave so many tools that I can use in my own classroom, and I could give over to the teachers that I coach.I feel uplifted and thoroughly equipped. I also have a ton of reading I want to remember to do.”

“This summit was absolutely fabulous! I learned so much and in such an interesting and interactive way. There are so many ideas I would like to bring to my school. I also went from feeling really worried to feeling worried but also excited. The work groups were a really important part of the learning process. We all shared so much together and I look forward to keeping in touch with my group and our wonderful group leader.”

“I LOVED this summit. I was so glad I was able to participate in this amazing learning experience… I also loved being able to work in a small group collaborating with other teachers and hearing about what ideas work for them. 10/10!”

As Featured in the Press


Thank You To Our Sponsors

Thank you to The George Rohr Foundation for sponsoring this Summit.


Thank you to LI Tech for sponsoring the Tech Support for this Summit.

Email for tech support during the summit.


And thank you to CIJE and SHEMESH for their collaboration.

Thank You

Thanks to our Leadership Advisory Board for helping us plan our Learning Summit:

Mr. Richard Altabe, Lower School Principal, Hebrew Academy of Long Beach

Mrs. Barbara Deutsch, Associate Principal, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County West Hempstead

Ms. Ruth Gafni, Head of Nursery – Grade 8, The Ramaz School

Dr. Rafi Kalman, Incoming Principal, Solomon Schechter School of Queens

Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin, Head of School, North Shore Hebrew Academy

Rabbi Yaakov Sadigh, Principal, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County West Hempstead

More Information

To find out more ways in which Hidden Sparks can support your school, please reach out to Sara Diament, Director of Hidden Sparks