Like many schools serving those in the Orthodox Jewish community, Chicago’s Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov takes pride in its ability to provide a curriculum that meets national educational standards while also offering students a thorough grounding in Orthodox traditions and teachings. Through co-ed nursery services and formal classes for girls from kindergarten to 8th grade, the state-accredited school provides community, fellowship, and education for its students and their families. However, all students are different, and those with special needs can sometimes encounter difficulties in smaller, community-based schools. Luckily, thanks to Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov’s participation in the P’tach and Keshet program, every student at the school is able to receive a high-quality education, regardless of her learning differences.
Keshet is a Chicagoland-based nonprofit that focuses on helping children with developmental disabilities obtain an education and a firm grounding in the Jewish tradition. Established in 1982, Keshet has grown to encompass programs that offer education, recreational opportunities, and vocational training for children and young adults. The K-8 Keshet program at Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov allows students to fully participate in daily activities at the school, thanks to peer buddy assistance, in-school jobs, and integration into mainstream classrooms.
The P’tach program has its roots in 1976, when parents and educational professionals banded together to ensure that the country’s network of yeshivas were equipped with the resources to serve every child, regardless of his or her learning needs. The P’tach educational model they developed provides individualized instruction within yeshivas, and the organization has since expanded throughout North America and Israel. Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov joins numerous other Orthodox day schools in offering a P’tach classroom, which solidifies the community’s ability to instruct and care for all of its children.