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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Principal of General Studies
Mrs. Chana Luchins is the principal of General Studies at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva. She is a New York and New Jersey certified teacher and a New Jersey certified supervisor who holds a Master's Degree in Special Education from the Graduate School of Education at Touro College and a Supervisory Certificate from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Mrs. Luchins has also completed the Hidden Sparks and YouLead leadership programs... (click name to read full bio)
Middle School Math Teacher, Middle School Activities Coordinator, and 8th Grade Advisor
Think Tank 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)
3rd Grade General Studies Teacher
Elana Kurtz comes to RPRY with years of experience in education. Elana has a B.S. in Ea...
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.
Middle School Social Studies and 6th Grade Science Teacher
Emily Menasha has over 21 years experience as a classroom teacher, 17 of which have been as a classroom teacher at RPRY! She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women and a Master's Degree in Reading and Literacy from Bank Street College of Education. Emily Menasha has taught kindergarten, first grade and fourth grades. She currently teaches third grade general studies subjects and middle school social studies. Emily and her husband, Ben, have two daughters both of whom are current students at RPRY.
First Grade General Studies Teacher
Penina Shmuel holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in special education from Brooklyn College.
4th Grade General Studies Teacher and Computers Teacher/Technology Coordinator
Ahuva Tsibulevskiy has over 12 years of teaching experience. She received her und...
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)
4th Grade General Studies Teacher and 2nd Grade General Studies Assistant Teacher
Debbie Wasserman holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Barnard College and an MSW degree from New York University. She received her master's in teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Debbie previously taught at Berman Hebrew Academy in Maryland before joining RPRY.
2nd Grade General Studies Teacher
Mrs. Chani Wiesel has over 15 years of teaching experience. She received her undergradu...
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