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Academics

General Studies

Meet our General Studies faculty

Our general studies curriculum is rigorous and common core aligned. RPRY students develop the foundational skills that will enable them to be successful in high school and, ultimately, in the 21st century workplace. Our metacognitive approach places the students in the roles of author, scientist, mathematician, and historian as they develop the habits of mind to be lifelong learners.

Mathematics

Mathematics provide students with the opportunity to develop a strong grasp of numbers. The rigorous math curriculum is aligned with Common Core standards and emphasizes the encouragement of student understanding, analysis and application of mathematical procedures. At every grade level, the three main areas of focus are procedures, concepts and real world applications/problem solving. Procedures refer to the steps and planning needed to solve a problem. Strategies for planning are incorporated into instruction. Concepts denote the logical organization of ideas that underpin procedures. Real world examples and manipulatives bolster conceptual development.

The curriculum encompasses the major domains of number operations, patterns and algebra, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability. It emphasizes developing strong number sense, understanding of fractions and decimals, and patterns that model algebraic thinking. Each year, the complexity increases and teachers adjust to individual student ability. A wide variety of materials and digital resources allow for differentiating instruction and practice. Teachers enrich the curriculum with problem solving strategies and logic puzzles. In addition, teachers encourage the application of mathematical reasoning to everyday problems.

Science

Excitement permeates the atmosphere during science classes. Science instruction at RPRY is driven by curiosity and the scientific method. The curriculum is standards-based and heavily infused with technology and practical engineering applications. Students engage in hands-on exploration and experimentation where they ask questions, think critically, plan, experiment, test hypotheses, revise and persist in their efforts. Research and laboratory skills become more intense in each successive grade. Numerous STEM modules are sprinkled throughout the school year in grades K-8, seamlessly integrated with each grade’s science curriculum. Students strategize and apply their ingenuity to a real-life problem, proposing and creating a project that offers a solution. Hour of Code programs introduce computer programming skills. This exciting and challenging curriculum expands students’ critical thinking and prepares them for future STEM opportunities.

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum melds civics and history. It encourages the students to be active, confident and contributing citizens in this country’s democracy. The students gain global awareness of current events through print and digital media, and develop their critical and evaluative skills to form opinions and make decisions about social, political and global events. Knowledge of history and geography inform student understanding of the modern world.

Through explorations of local, American and World History, students gain valuable knowledge and insight. Students discover the major ancient civilizations and study American history and government extensively. Note-taking, study skills, research, and essay writing are integrated into the teaching of Social Studies. Students develop their higher order thinking as they navigate primary and secondary sources and differentiate between facts and opinions. They learn to evaluate the trustworthiness of a variety of sources.

English Language Arts

English Language Arts immerses students in the process of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Language is the essential tool of communication and thus leads to knowledge acquisition in all subject areas. The curriculum is aligned with Common Core standards, promoting depth and strong analytical thinking. The effective ELA program weaves the joy of reading with the fostering of robust skills. Students in every grade apply similar language skills and concepts in increasingly complex ways.

Reading is a process that unfolds as a child matures. It begins with phonemic awareness, the ability to manipulate sounds in spoken language. Building strong phonics skills, the understanding that there are relationships between sounds and letters, is the foundation for fluency and accuracy. As students’ sophistication increases, so does their ability to analyze root/base words, prefixes and suffixes. Grammar conventions and vocabulary acquisition are intertwined with daily lessons and taught in contextually meaningful ways. 

Students have the opportunity to read both fictional and nonfictional text in a wide range of genres. Texts and readings are chosen to be purposeful and goal-oriented. Students practice key comprehension and analytical strategies to interpret and evaluate text before, during, and after reading. Students engage in active discussion and learn to express their thoughts clearly to different audiences. Teachers use explicit instruction to model reading strategies with mentor texts, think-alouds and writing-to-learn graphic organizers. Skill development includes identifying literal information, finding supporting evidence, characterizing, inferencing, and identifying themes, with the primary goal of nurturing independent readers.
Passionate belief that all students have the capacity to write and should be encouraged to write daily is part of the ELA philosophy. When students engage with and respond to literature, they clarify and organize their thinking. Students are deeply involved in the writing process of prewriting, drafting, revising and editing. Writing is very much a cross-curricular skill and is balanced to include expository, persuasive, narrative and creative opportunities. Teachers model and demonstrate each aspect of the writing process. As teachers provide constructive feedback, the students cultivate ownership and responsibility for their writing.

The Arts

RPRY’s art program enables students to explore visual communication in a with a focus on process over product.  This approach promotes risk taking and exploration. Additionally, the art classes often integrate with the curricula; from math to social studies, related art projects and art history education widens perspectives on these subjects.  For example, a tessellation project provides an additional approach to geometry.  The classes enable innovation, creative problem solving, collaboration, perseverance, and observing diverse perspectives. 

This year, RPRY reintroduced a music education program for Grades K-4. Mrs. Chana Salamon, who has been a music teacher for over two decades and has degrees in Tanach and Musicology from Michlalah in Yerushalayim, joined our faculty. She is passionate about instilling a love of music in children through music appreciation classes and uses her classes to enrich the Jewish and general education that our students receive.

Improv theater, class plays, song, and dance round out the arts experience.

Physical Education

RPRY students enjoy regular gym classes.  Physical education teaches coordination, balance, and teamwork, and promotes overall health.  Our two certified PE teachers masterfully build skills with fun and structured education.  PE class starts in Nursery (3 years old) and meets twice a week.  Lower School has PE four times a week, and Middle School meets for PE everyday.

Additionally, there are middle school boys’ and girls’ basketball and floor hockey teams that compete in the Yeshiva Middle School Sports Association League, and after school clubs such as soccer and ballet.


General Studies Faculty

Mrs. Chana Luchins

Assistant Principal of General Studies

Mrs. Luchins is a consummate educator with over twenty years of experience in the field of education, working with students from preschool through Grade 12, in both General and Judaic Studies. Additionally, she has provided professional development for colleagues, and mentored fellow classroom and special education teachers. ... (click name to read full bio)

Meryl Silver

Special Services and Think Tank Coordinator

Mrs. Meryl Silver's career spans 21 years, working with children of all ages, from 2 years old through high school. She has worked as a special education and general education teacher, and as a Professional Development Coach at Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help children with learning differences reach their full potential in school and life...(click name to read full bio)

Karen Bialik

Middle School Math Teacher

Rebecca Bick

Middle School Math Teacher, Middle School Activities Coordinator, and 8th Grade Advisor

Berg Bracha

Assistant Teacher in Kindergarten General Studies

Alexandra Cooper

2nd Grade General Studies Teacher and Think Tank Teacher

Ally Cooper received a bachelor's degree from Boston University and holds a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College. Additionally, Ally is certified in Montessori Education at the Elementary level. She is thrilled to have joined the RPRY family in 2018 (as a parent as well as a faculty member!) and enjoys working with her students every day.

Linda Garfinkel

Librarian and Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Linda G. has her undergraduate degree in French Language and Literature, with a minor in Theater and the Arts. She attended La Sorbonne in Paris, France to enhance her French education. ... (click on name for full bio)

Bethany Goldstein

1st Grade General Studies Assistant Teacher

Bethany Goldstein has over ten years of experience in the field of education. She holds a Master's Degree in TESOL and a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and Spanish from The College of New Jersey. Bethany has extensive experience teaching students of all ages and is a NJ State Certified Teacher...(click name to read full bio)

Penny Kaplan

Think Tank Teacher in General Studies and Names, Not Numbers© Co-Coordinator

Sara Kaplan

Middle School Science Teacher

Mrs. Sara Kaplan earned her B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Touro College after graduating from Yavne Teacher's Seminary in Cleveland, OH. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. ... (click name for full bio)

Elana Kurtz

1st Grade General Studies Teacher

Michael Kyriacou

Physical Education Teacher

Michael Kyriacou holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Physical Education & Health from Kean University. Michael Kyriacou joined the RPRY family in 2016. He currently teaches Upper School Physical Education. In addition, he assists Mr. McNamara’s Lower School Physical Education classes.

Marla Liebhaber

5th Grade General Studies Teacher

Marla Liebhaber has been teaching at RPRY for 25 years! She holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey, and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from SUNY Albany. Ms. Liebhaber currently teaches 5th grade math, social studies, language arts, and science.

Carlson Limerick

Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Brian McNamara, Jr.

Physical Education Teacher

Brian McNamara has been teaching Physical Education for 12 years. He previously taught in public schools for a number of years, and has been teaching at RPRY for the last 7. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education and Health from William Paterson University.

Emily Menasha

3rd Grade General Studies Teacher, Middle School Social Studies Teacher, and Think Tank Administrative Support

Maxine Pilavin

Middle School Lanuage Arts and Social Studies Teacher

Maxine Pilavin has over twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature from Brandeis University, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s Degree in Library and Education Science from Rutgers University. ... (click name for full bio)

Tzippy Rapps

Think Tank Teacher for General Studies

Vera Schreck

3rd Grade General Studies Assistant Teacher

Sari Shalmon

Middle School Science Teacher and STEM Coordinator

Ahuva Tsibulevskiy

4th Grade General Studies Teacher and Computers Teacher/Technology Coordinator

Debby Waldman

Art Teacher

Debra Waldman, MA Ed., started her teaching career in public school in NY as a 4th grade teacher, a Reading Interventionist, and as an art teacher. ... (click name for full bio)

Debbie Wasserman

2nd Grade General Studies Assistant Teacher

Chani Wiesel

2nd and 4th Grade General Studies Teacher