Mazel Day School is a coeducational elementary yeshiva of nearly 250 high-achieving students, founded in 2002 by Russian-Jewish parents. 70 percent of students are from the Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay area, the remainder from other Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Mazel first partnered with Hidden Sparks in 2013 through the Internal Coach Program, sending faculty members to train as Internal Coaches in the school. Rivkah Dahan, Assistant Principal, had worked for Hidden Sparks and knew the value of the program, “The program aligned with our school vision which is very child-centered.” In fact, the school quickly submitted an application for the more comprehensive, External Coach program, though they would have to wait two years for an opening.
Mazel is currently in its second year of the External Coach Program. Says Mrs. Okonov, “The types of children that Hidden Sparks addresses are those about whom teachers would typically throw their hands in the air, at a loss for how to help them, but now they are talking about the creative ideas they can use to help the child be successful. Taking that perspective is incredible.” Mrs. Dahan echoes this sentiment, “Teachers are now more reflective and less apt to jump to conclusions. I don’t hear the teachers using words like “lazy”, ‘impossible”, or “we can’t”.” Says Okonov, “Teachers are trying to better understand…Hidden Sparks has provided the tools.”