Academic Support Services for Boys in the Elementary Division
At PDS, we believe that every boy can learn, and we strive to teach in ways that maximize learning for each boy. Because we also know that all boys do not learn in the same way, at the same rate or on the same timetable, PDS employs four learning specialists, a study skills coach, and three learning coaches to work with our students. The learning specialists and learning coaches work with all boys in the elementary division in small groups to develop and strengthen both basic foundational skills and higher level thinking skills. The study skills coach works with boys and teachers in grades 5–6 to infuse organizational and study skills into the curriculum. The Director of Academic Support facilitates the process of determining boys who need additional academic support and monitoring their progress.
PDS serves boys of high-average to gifted intelligence, including boys with a variety of learning styles, differences and disabilities. Given the rigor and pace of the academic program and the school’s focus on serving boys of the aforementioned range, PDS cannot meet the learning needs of all types of students. The school will counsel out a boy when the school is unable to provide the type of academic and learning program a boy needs. The school, though, can and does serve boys with certain learning differences and disabilities, as long as the student has, in the school’s judgment, the ability, work ethic and study habits to thrive in the school’s demanding curriculum and high expectations, and as long as the parents have, in the school’s judgment, the deep commitment to the child’s learning and close partnership with the school.
What should I do if I think my son might have a learning difference or disability?
First, speak with your son’s teacher. If she has observed similar characteristics and behaviors, she will initiate the academic support protocol. At this point, the Director of Academic Support with meet with teachers and/or parents to determine the best academic action plan for the student.
What if my son needs a psychoeducational evaluation?
The Director of Academic Support can help you determine whether you should pursue a full battery of cognitive tests. The school counselor may also be involved in the process and can provide parents with a list of professionals in the community. All psychoeducational testing must be conducted and written by a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, licensed psychological examiner, or other licensed professional (in cases where the learning disability is caused by vision or hearing problems). Although a pediatrician might be prescribing medicine for a boy, a letter from a physician cannot document a learning disability.
How is my son placed with the Slingerland-trained learning specialist?
Boys in grades 1–3 who are experiencing difficulty in learning to read and/or write or who have educational testing indicating the need for a multisensory approach to teaching reading can be placed with a Slingerland trained learning specialist. The Head of Elementary and the Director of Academic Support will make the final determination regarding placement in this program.
When during the school day would my son work with a learning specialist?
Boys are scheduled with the learning specialist in the following ways:
Boys in grades 1–3 may meet with the learning specialist during non-instructional class time.
Boys in grades 1–3 may be pulled out of regular small group reading instruction and placed with a learning specialist during their small group instruction time. Boys who are served in this way will show an “M” on their report card indicating that the regular curriculum has been modified to meet the needs of the student.
Boys in grades 2–3 may be pulled out of the regular classroom and receive all literacy instruction with a learning specialist. Boys who are served in this way will show an “M” on their report card indicating that the regular curriculum has been modified to meet the needs of the student.
What accommodations and/or interventions might my son receive at PDS?
After receiving and reviewing the psychoeducational evaluation, the Head of Elementary and the Director of Academic Support will meet to determine which accommodations PDS will be able to implement for the student. The counselor may also be involved. They will then meet with the parents and classroom teachers to outline the school’s plan for the student.
If a parent chooses to seek academic intervention from an educational program outside of PDS that would require the student to miss any portion of the regular school day, the parent must first receive permission from the Head of Elementary.
How often does my son need to be re-evaluated?
Evaluations on file at the school should be no more than three years old.