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Academic Support

The goal of academic support at Schechter Westchester is to enable students to fulfill their potential. Learning specialists, trained in special education, work closely with:

  • Students who can benefit from support outside of the classroom
  • Students who need increasingly challenging material
  • Teachers who embrace strategies of differentiation to meet the needs of their students
  • Parents who want to better understand the learning needs of their children
Students needing support beyond what they receive from their classroom teachers may attend the Center for Academic Support (CAS). There they work with a learning specialist and receive instruction and guidance in the following areas:
Executive Functioning

CAS works with students to develop the eight general components of executive functions that impact school performance. These components are: 

  • Working memory and recall (holding facts in mind while manipulating information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory) 
  • Activation, arousal, and effort (getting started; paying attention; finishing work) 
  • Controlling emotions (ability to tolerate frustration; thinking and planning before acting or speaking) 
  • Internalizing language (using "self-talk" to control one's behavior and direct future actions) 
  • Complex problem-solving (taking an issue apart, analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas) 
  • Shifting, inhibiting (changing activities, stopping existing activity, stopping and thinking before acting or speaking) 
  • Organizing/planning ahead (organizing time, assignments, materials, and possessions) 
  • Monitoring (self-monitoring and prompting) 

CAS models, teaches, and practices strategies that best exploit the three types of memory (working memory, long-term memory, short-term memory). Our goal is to improve students’ skills in acquiring information and being able to demonstrate knowledge. 


Reading development continues throughout secondary education and beyond. For many students, the fact that reading is a compilation of many skills and a necessary part of all classes makes classroom engagement a particular challenge. CAS teaches strategies for actively engaging in the text and developing skills to become a critical reader. 


Writing requires a student to have well-developed reading skills and to be linguistically and cognitively organized. Writing well also demands an understanding of text structure and the ability to combine content and structure. Students in CAS have the opportunity to engage with the writing process in a more detailed way than they might in the classroom and to have more guided practice and greater individualized support with the organization and articulation of ideas. 

Content Application

Often students learn a strategy or skill in one course and there it stays. We emphasize the ability to generalize (applying a rule or pattern to a new context or setting) as well as overlearning, (learning to the point of automaticity), Students are guided by learning specialists as they learn these crucial skills. 


There are instances in which students in a rigorous, dual-curriculum school need more time on task, as in pre-teaching and/or re-teaching, in order to be most successful. At times learning specialists pre-teach material prior to it being addressed in the classroom or extend instruction so that students are able to be successful with challenging tasks.

Meet the Team

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Mr. Elisha Andron
Director of Student Services
MA Ed, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
MS Ed, Fordham University
914-948-8333 ext. 8008 (School)
Dr. William Blank
HS Psychologist
Director of Student Support Services
PsyD, School/Clinical/Child Psychology, Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
BFA, Drama, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts
MS, Psychology, Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
914-948-8333 ext. 8010 (Work)
Dr. Renee Holtz
US Chair of Student Learning
PhD in Education, Fordham University
PD in Educational Administration, Manhattanville College
MSEd, Special Education, Johns Hopkins University
MA in Judaic Studies, Baltimore Hebrew University
914-948-8333 ext. 8006 (School)
Ms. Danielle Lerner
High School CAS Teacher, Learning Specialist
BA, History and Philosophy, Politics & Law
MA, Social Studies Education, Columbia University
914-948-8333 ext. 8106 (Work)
Ms. Shelby Tager
HS Learning Specialist
BA in sociology, Jacksonville University
MS in Special Education with emphasize on Learning Disabilities, College of New Rochelle
914-948-8333 ext. 8193 (School)
Rabbi Sandy Zisser
HS Learning Specialist
BA, American History with a minor in Judaic Studies, State University of New York at Albany
MSEd, Special Education, Bank Street College
914-948-8333 ext. 8207 (School)
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These words by Rabbi Yishmael, which reflect the essence of our mission, are found in Pirkei Avot. They advise us to lead lives filled with learning, teaching, preservation of our heritage, and social action.

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