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Schools with Academic Support

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Replies to: Schools with Academic Support

  • futuresobritefuturesobrite Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Hi,
    1st poster here and perhaps this is old for OP but hopefully for others like me reading older posts.

    Our DS’s MS advisor told us to look at Winchendon aka The Winch aka TWS. It has an academic support structure built into the curriculum and takes lots of LD students. We are looking at it but have not applied. We had young student tour guides during the OH who were not particularly polished. This rubbed my DS the wrong way. So while the parents liked it, DS was not as impressed as he was with Avon Old Farm School and Berkshire. The facilities are not state of the art but the teachers seem to be very vested in the students.
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    Not too old and glad you are keeping this post going.
    We looked at Winchendon, I have some concerns. I'll PM you.
  • GudmomGudmom Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    @vwlizard my 10 yr old has a unilateral hearing loss. Probably the most important thing for her is class size and style. She could not function in the LPS, and we just moved her to a local Day School. We visited several schools, and found that some had good acoustics and small class sizes, but a “collaborative learning style” that to her was just a bunch of shouting out. Group work is hard as she heard only the sounds that are closest to her hearing ear, so she may not hear her partner on the left speaking if someone is pushing their chair back with a screech on her right side.
    Your son could have a fluctuating hearing loss, or an auditory processing issue, which is a different test called CAP (Central auditory processing), also performed by an audiologist.

    Quiet HVAC systems, good classroom acoustics (lower ceilings, carpet or other sound absorbing materials, curtains, bulletin boards, etc) all make a difference, but the biggest are small class sizes and allowing any group work to be done in a separate area- one group only.

    In addition to classroom FM systems, good visual access to teachers face (no talking while writing on the white board for example), and preferential seating near the front of classroom, she has access to audiobooks, (seems counterintuitive but hearing loss impacts reading skills), extended “thinking time” to encourage class participation, extended time if needed on tests and a quiet room, she also gets literature and English language with a small group (3), and one extra small group period for math, science and social studies to ensure that she and the other kids with language-based LD understand the vocabulary and concepts to be presented that week. (preview and review). She can get a copy of the teachers notes, or have a note taking buddy, and the teachers check her planner to make sure she has understood written the assignment correctly.

    A plus for her has been mindfulness, which has reduced a lot of what we now realize was her significant school-related anxiety, and a “skills” class for teaching executive function, study skills, etc.

    Also, a hearing impairment can get you excused
    from foreign language requirement. They recommend Latin for the kids in her program.
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    Thank you. Great insight and suggestions for accommodations for those with hearing loss.
    We did all the hearing testing and structures and hearing are fine (except when he doesn't keep up with allergy meds). They felt it wasn't auditory processing as much as ADD-A. Once he hyperfocuses on one thing, he just kind of tunes out anything else competing for his attention.
  • GarandmanGarandman Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    Our youngest is an ADD kid, now at Tabor. While Tabor does not have extra (and extra cost) programs, they have something called the ASSIST Center, open to all (so there’s no stigma).

    They have really helped him plan his work, something ADD kids can find themselves spinnin* their wheels over. They look at the student’s clas schedule and assignments and suggest what to study, when, and how much. This really helped him at mid-term, and as they close outterm one.

    https://www.taboracademy.org/page/academics/advising--support/assist-center
  • chemmchimneychemmchimney Registered User Posts: 739 Member
    Our daughter is in her 2nd year at Darrow now and the support there is very good. They have teacher mentors (in addition to advisors) who work one on one or in small groups with kids. The school is very inclusive and low key, great for students who have struggled with anxiety or have mild learning differences. Much of the instruction is project based and the work load is manageable (Loved NMH for our older daughter but Chimneykid2’s processing issues would have made it difficult for her to keep up with the pace and the workload there.
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    One of the things to factor in when looking at academic support is if your kid is the type of student that will seek it out when needed, or if they tend to just try to do it on their own. DS doesn't always know he needs help until things get too far away from him. For that reason, we are going to focus on schools where he will have academic support periods as part of his schedule.
  • chemmchimneychemmchimney Registered User Posts: 739 Member
    Another consideration is a school exclusively for kids with learning differences vs a school that supports them and understands them but includes advanced neurotypical students as well. We were looking for the latter as our daughter is very advanced in some subjects but struggles in math. It can be hard to find schools that support both ends of the spectrum where she can be both stretched and supported. The mentors at Darrow are good for this - they meet during an assigned block but that block varies. In public school our daughter who plans on going to art school couldn’t take art because support was always during this same block. At Darrow they design the kids schedules so that extra help does not mean missing out and because the help is one on one or two on one, it can be tailored to the child and that child’s schedule which is very helpful too.
  • mass2020mommass2020mom Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    I am interested in whether any of the schools mentioned here have good emotional support as well as academic support? My DD has ADHD and anxiety. She’s getting treatment for anxiety now, and I am looking into next steps for school. I would really like somewhere that has good resources for counseling as well as academics. Thanks!
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    @mass2020mom - I believe some schools do have counseling available, but you'd have to call and see. I would suggest sending along any evaluations you have to the school to see if they would be able to accommodate her needs. I was just at Forman and they did mention they had 2 psychologists on staff. I'm not sure if that is for educational testing or counseling, but they do specialize in kids with ADHD so it might be worth looking at. They were very responsive when I sent my son's neuropsych and called to ask follow up questions.
  • chemmchimneychemmchimney Registered User Posts: 739 Member
    Several schools now have support for anxiety and learning differences as they often go together. These include Suffield, White Mountain, Dublin, Darrow, possibly Millbrook, Hoosac, VT Academy, Eaglebrook and several more... some schools have this support baked in and others have a therapist on campus or will at least arrange for transportation to therapy appointments. We worked with a consultant to be sure we had a good fit for our daughter withPTSD and mild learning differences. I would not have sent her prior to her getting her anxiety well controlled though.
  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 Registered User Posts: 895 Member
    Just to add to the schools mentioned above, our friends have been very happy with the support their student is receiving at Suffield...both for anxiety and ADD/ADHD. They are very positive about the academic experience and the interest of the faculty in transitioning to BS. Very supportive in assisting with outside appointments, as well as on campus support.
  • GarandmanGarandman Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    When it comes to emotional support, it’s likely all boarding schools have such resources, but how they are organized and deployed is highly variable.

    Taking Andover of several years ago, where we had a very poor experience, counselors were assigned to the health center and there was almost no communication with academic advisors, dorm parents, or coaches: their “Team approach” to support meant no one was responsible for the welfare of any particular student. The school claims to have reorganized their resources to be more supportive. However, Andover has five residential clusters so as before, the experience is liable to be highly variable.

    At Tabor Academy, counselors work under the auspices of the Dean’s Office. Each student has an advisor who is responsible for all facets of the student experience, and the advisory meets weekly so they are much more in tune with the student’s state of mind, short-term challenges, etc. Putting counselors in the Dean’s Office removes any stigma of visiting the health center and communication about how best to support a student amongst all parties (advisor, dorm parents, class dean, coaches, etc) is guaranteed to happen.

    While interviewing at schools we met a mom who was also making college visits with an older child. She said that on college tours, counseling centers are often a scheduled stop on the tour. If you GIS “Anxiety with High Function,” it sounds like daily life for a lot of high-achieving students at boarding schools. 11th grade girls seem to be the most often affected but it’s happening with all ages of boys and girls. It seems to be something a lot of kids are coping with.
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 306 Member
    We were really impressed with Brewster's team approach. Teams meet 4 times a week and everyone involved with the kid is there. I know it's a cornerstone of their program as we were even shown how they run the meetings. When they say "no kid falls through the cracks", I believe them. There also seemed to be a system to have (at least) weekly contact with parents.
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    Someone mentioned Pennington School. I have some familiarity and can share:

    Pennington is a sleepy little town about 15 mins away from Princeton. The school has about 500 total students (grades 6-12). The school has a learning center which provides services to students with high/average intellectual ability but with specific deficits: dyslexia, ADD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, specific learning disabilities, etc.

    The learning center offers 1:1 daily tutoring (for an extra fee). Another level is called Academic Skills Tutorial (AST) which involves a smaller class size but dedicated LC teacher. Assignments and other school related texts are all delivered/received via iPad. There is a limit to the # of students who the LC can handle, but I think it is about 20-30 students per year. A full panel of neuropsych testing is needed when applying. The LC students are able to take any of the classes offered at Pennington, including AP level. The learning center director really is a strong advocate for the students. LC costs an extra $17-20K per year. AST costs an extra $5k per year. Also offers ESL.

    A large majority of the school is comprised of day students (from nearby NJ and Bucks County PA). I think about 75% of the students are day students. Many of the faculty live on campus, or nearby. The boarding students are from a wide variety of countries. The school offers a college-prep curriculum, and the learning center students take the same curriculum as non-LC students. As such, there is little to no stigma associated with the learning center.
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