At the beginning of each school year, all classroom teachers assess each child’s strengths and weaknesses in the core areas of reading, math and writing. The assessment tools used have been developed in collaboration with classroom teachers and learning specialists.
In Kindergarten, a learning specialist observes and monitors a child’s progress in the classroom. During the spring semester, kindergartners in need of additional support meet with the learning specialist in the classroom and/or in a small group.
Grades 1 and 2 students who needed additional support in Kindergarten continue working with the learning specialist as necessary. Following the classroom formal assessment, teachers may identify additional children who are in need of support and the learning specialist will conduct further screening for the children referred.
In Grades 3-4, a grade level Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test is administered to all children. Following this assessment, and in conjunction with teacher assessments or any evaluation that might be on file, students are identified for individual or small group support. Moreover, it assesses if grade specific curriculum, as developed by grade level teachers, is being implemented consistently across classrooms.
The mathematics specialists are also responsible for supporting effective K–6 mathematics instruction and student learning. Specific roles and responsibilities vary according to the needs of each teacher and their students. At the classroom level, specialists teach mathematics to students in one or more grade levels or work with particular groups of students to provide remediation or enrichment support services. At the school level, specialists work with K-6 teachers, colleagues in the Grades 5-12 mathematics department, and administrators on the development of curriculum, assessment, and parent outreach. For teachers, specialists work with them in a professional development capacity to help strengthen their understanding of mathematics content or help them develop more effective instruction or assessment. At the department level, specialists work with colleagues to streamline and improve the overall K-6 mathematics curriculum and assessment process.
Additionally, the Guidance team, including the division head, psychologist, learning and math specialists, director of diversity and inclusion, and nurse meet regularly to discuss any child or family in need of intervention and support. Classroom teachers may also be included and a classroom observation may follow in the decision-making process.
Middle School & Upper School
Middle School small group support is based on the recommendation of the prior year’s academic team, including division head, teachers, and specialists or at the recommendation of an evaluation. The academic team continues to monitor student strengths and weaknesses as they progress, and determines whether or not the student should continue to receive support.
The Comprehensive Test Program is administered in Grades 4, 6 and 7, and the results are used as comparative data relative to a student’s performance in class and to the core curriculum. The data is maintained as part of a student’s academic record.
Academic Workshop is offered for small group support led by a learning specialist available to students in Grades 5 and 6 who need scaffolding with organizational skills, reading and writing. In Grades 7-12, Skills class and/or drop-in sessions are offered for those who need additional help with executive functioning, i.e. planning, organization, time management, self-monitoring, and advocacy.
Students in Grades 7-12 may utilize the support services of the Academic Center, which provides more subject-specific help or enrichment as well as peer tutoring.
Rates of progress and the effectiveness of intervention are assessed on an on-going basis. When outside tutors are utilized in Lower School, they are expected to report to teachers and specialists consistently. In Middle & Upper School, families are encouraged to have tutors contact teachers and advisors in order to monitor content collaboration and student progress.
Sometimes, if there is more than one issue at play or if it is unclear what may be getting in the way of a student’s success, achievement, or ability, a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation may be recommended which can help elucidate the student’s needs and target necessary support.