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Monday, September 27, 2021
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Zoom launch event assisted parents with back-to-school questions.

(Courtesy of Hidden Sparks) Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit focused on providing teachers and parents with the tools to support struggling students in mainstream Jewish day schools and yeshivas, opened its Queens Parent Education Center (PEC) on August 30 with a special virtual program with experts offering tips to parents to help their children be prepared for the start of the school year.

The center, established in conjunction with Catapult Learning and funded by the New York City Department of Education (DOE), will provide workshops (via Zoom) for all yeshiva and day school parents, and individual counseling sessions for parents of students receiving educational support through the DOE’s Title I program. Title I focuses on improving English language and math skills for struggling students. The center has already reached out to 15 schools throughout the borough and will be run by Ethel Salomon, MS. ED.

“We are delighted that Catapult Learning and the New York City Department of Education have selected us as their partner for helping Jewish day school parents in Queens, which has one of the largest populations in the tri-state area, and we are excited to announce that Ethel Salomon will be at its helm,” said Hidden Sparks Executive Director Debbie Niderberg. “With years of leadership experience in Jewish day schools, a wealth of knowledge and a track record of helping struggling students and guiding parents, Ethel is uniquely poised for this important initiative.”

The Zoom launch event featured a conversation between Salomon and Hidden Sparks Co-Educational Director Rona Novick, PhD, about tips parents can employ to help their children adjust back into their school environment. Concurrent to her role with Hidden Sparks, Novick also serves as the dean of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

Salomon was recently hired by Hidden Sparks to manage the Queens center and its programs. She joins the organization from Yeshiva Ketana of Manhattan, where she served as the general studies principal. Prior to her work at the school, she served as the director of special services at the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (RPRY) in Edison, New Jersey, and before that at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey (RYNJ) in River Edge, New Jersey. She received master’s degrees from both Columbia Teachers College and Brooklyn College, and her bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University’s Stern College.

“The back-to-school period is daunting for all families and even more so for those with students who struggle in the classroom,” said Salomon. “Our hope is to provide parents with the necessary tools to help their child transition back into what will hopefully be a very successful school year.”

The questions submitted in advance of the event touched upon topics like helping children navigate interpersonal relationships, bullying, a transition back to in-person classrooms, mask-wearing discomforts, routines, focus, organizational skills development and more.


Founded in 2006, Hidden Sparks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers and schools educate struggling learners. Through professional development programs and on-site coaching for teachers, it helps educators deepen their understanding of learning and approaches for teaching all kinds of learners, particularly those who struggle. With 125 participating day schools and more than 17,500 participating educators to date, 3,875 having gone through the most robust training, the organization impacts thousands of children per year. For more information please visit: www.hiddensparks.org/parent-education-center.

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