At St. Bernard Academy, Learning Services are available to provide support to those students that have been identified as having a learning difference, as well as to those students who have not yet been identified but are struggling academically.
SBA employs two Learning Specialists. Leslie Winter, the Senior Learning Specialist, serves students from 3rd-8th Levels, as well as oversees the Learning Services program. Lauren Duckworth, speech-language pathologist, serves as Learning Specialist for Junior Kindergarten-3rd Level, as well as provides speech-language services for all grades.
Student Support Plan
Students that already have a diagnosed learning difference are provided the opportunity to have a Student Support Plan. This plan delineates the specific accommodations that are appropriate for a student's diagnosis, as well as what is reasonable to provide within the SBA environment. Learning Specialists also work closely with classroom teachers to determine which accommodations are able to be managed within the classroom. Accommodations that are not able to be met by the classroom teacher are provided by Student Support Services as staff is available.
Students that require extra help beyond accommodations are provided the opportunity to meet with a Learning Specialist one time per week to work on specific skills, class work, and/or advocacy skills. If students require more intensive intervention, the Learning Specialists will provide guidance for seeking outside resources.
The Learning Specialists also provide support for those students that are struggling academically but have not yet been identified as having a learning difference. Once a student has been referred to Learning Services, the initial contact may include standardized and/or informal assessments to determine if the need can be met in-house or if the student will need to be referred for a more thorough evaluation.
One-On-One or Small Group Intervention
For students that continue to struggle but have not been referred for outside testing, a Learning Specialist may provide one-on-one or small group intervention to address the specific need for a limited period of time. The Learning Specialist will meet regularly with the classroom teachers to determine if the student is making gains. If a student continues to demonstrate difficulty in the subject area, the Learning Specialist will provide a referral to parents regarding outside assessment services.
Study Skill Development
The Senior Learning Specialist 3-8 also provides educational support in the area of study skill development. Support is provided within guided study halls, as well as individually as needed.
- How can my child be referred to Learning Services?
- How do I find a tutor for my child?
- My child has dyslexia. Can he/she be successful at SBA?
- Is there a way for my child to connect with other students with dyslexia at SBA?
- How do I contact Learning Services?
Teachers will reach out to Learning Services should questions arise related to a student’s academic performance. All concerns should have been initially discussed with parents. If questions continue, Learning Services are contacted to join the discussion. Of course, Learning Services is also happy to directly answer questions parents may have regarding academic challenges they are seeing in the home.
Sometimes students struggle in a particular subject matter but don’t necessarily have a diagnosed learning difference. Whether your child receives support from Learning Services or not, the Learning Specialists are able to provide resources to area tutors for specific subjects. Decision on which specific tutors to use is at the discretion of the parents.
SBA has had many students with dyslexia that have been successful. Key contributors to their success have been continued intervention outside of the school setting, a strong work ethic from the student, and consistent parent support. Questions regarding a specific student’s likelihood of success at SBA should be directed to Leslie Winter.
For students with dyslexia currently at SBA, a support group for students with dyslexia and their families has been formed to provide further support in navigating the school years. The Einstein Club plans three to four events per year ranging from all group activities (students and families together) to individual activities for students. Parents are offered further education regarding dyslexia through speakers and videos.
If you feel your student is struggling academically, it is important to start the conversation with classroom teachers. Working together as a team, Learning Services, classroom teachers, and parents will determine to what extent Learning Services needs to be involved.
Our daughter is thriving at SBA. The name alone – “Einstein Club” (for kids with dyslexia) – illustrates how the school honors students with learning differences. Because of the Learning Specialists, teachers and tutors, our daughter has regained confidence and is learning how to advocate for herself in a loving environment.
Current lower school parent