Schools with Academic Support

Id also check out Pomfret. Heard very good things from parents but don’t know much about the school.

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@cityran, would you consider going a bit further than MA? I have a son who sounds a whole lot like yours at Proctor Academy in NH. It’s the right size, has Saturday classes, is sporty, 80% boarders, and the Learning Skills Center is phenomenal.

We found that all boarding schools say they have academic support, but what that really meant in practice varied tremendously. Our son definitely needed more structure to the support that he gets, as opposed to it being something that he could voluntarily seek out (because that would never happen). So he has LS as a regular class period, and his LS specialist works with him on organization, time management, and things like that. He gets a lot of his homework done in the sessions with her, which has been hugely helpful to him.

The ratio is two students to one specialist, so it’s really focused and personal attention. And something like 30-40% of students are involved with the Learning Skills Center at least some point in their time at Proctor, so it’s a totally normal thing for the kids and no stigma whatsoever. The goal is to gradually decrease the amount of help they need, and ultimately to none (if appropriate) by senior year. So, as an example, he’s had LS class 4 days a week for 9th and 10th grade, and will again this fall (just because he plays varsity soccer and will need help on time management), but then probably transition down to 2 days a week in winter term.

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@cityran We really liked Suffield and that seems to meet all your criteria, but I cannot remember if they had Saturday classes as that was not an issue for us.

Hun has traditionally been very strong for kids with dyslexia dx. Close to L’ville but smaller boarding population. Very sporty. It’d be an easy one to check out.

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For anyone with a boy looking at schools with learning support, I would also suggest taking a look at the Blue Ridge School near Charlottesville, VA.

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It’s been a whirlwind of a summer. I posted back in May about finding a school for my daughter. She was accepted to Forman and Winchendon. We chose Forman although Winchendon was a close second. Thanks vwlizard for your guidance.

We dropped her off on Thursday. She asked to come home 3 times the first 24 hours but we have barely heard from her in the second 24 hours, so that’s a plus. She’s been kept pretty busy.

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My child doesn’t currently need academic support, but I’m afraid the change from public middle school to rigorous BS may require more support than some schools may give. I’m trying to work with them on time management and organization, but nothing seems to be sticking. I’m wondering which of the more rigorous schools have the most support, or is it just the less rigorous schools that seem to offer this?

Schools like Andover and Exeter expect you to go there and hit the ground running.

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But they must have some sort of support for students that are struggling…or at least I would hope so?

You’d have to ask but from what i’ve heard it’s pretty much handle it on your own.

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Agreed. There are student resources available (i.e., writing center, peer tutors), but time management is key. This includes anticipating the need for those resources and scheduling appointments to use them. The students have to self-advocate.

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@maybeboardingmom , at those schools, the support may be more in the form of peer tutoring or consultations with teachers. As in, you have to seek it out.

There are other schools that are “rigorous” in terms of content, but which are more intentional about providing those skills needed to succeed. It’s a fallacy to think that a school that is less selective or that supports students will not offer rigor.

I would argue that schools that are truly committed to DEI absolutely need to do this for all studentsas an equalizer – some really talented kids coming from weaker public systems may have had little need for this nor instruction in it, and they may be the same ones who are least prepared in terms of content.

Which is all to say, if you think this is going to be important to your child’s success, make it part if what you require. Just as you may want certain sports or very high level math. You won’t have to compromise.

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We are coming from public and I definitely want those supports. You are right that it goes hand in hand with inclusion!

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We asked this question often during kiddo1’s interview process (because the school she was coming from has terrible academics, we worried she’d struggle). Every AO said they are prepared for this, as students are coming from all over the world with different educational backgrounds. One (tippy top school) compared the academic process to bringing a pot of water to a boil, slowly turning up the heat so the kids don’t realize they’re boiling.

Kiddo1 is now at a “top” BS and still doesn’t know if her school has a learning center. While I’m certain they do have one, students clearly have to seek it out. Fortunately, she hasn’t needed any extra assistance.

While every school certainly has the resources to help students who are struggling, the difference to me, lies between which schools actively promote those programs and their learning centers and which schools rely on the student to seek them out. As kiddo2 has some mild learning differences, and isn’t as academically wired as kiddo1, we are focusing his school search on schools that fall in the former category.

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FWIW, the most selective and rigorous schools expect kids to have a handle on organization and time management. I think there is support for struggles with academic content but that is different. And IME, there are some very smart kids who may have been academically successful in middle school who will struggle with the demands of a rigorous boarding school, not necessarily the academic content.

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Agree 100% with @nymom139. She’s exactly right.

Going to have to very much disagree with one idea that seems to be a through line here.

Not sure where this idea comes from that academic skill centers are “academic only” but they absolutely positively do include things like time management and related organizational skills. At least at PA.

For sure, you need to seek them out. They won’t be spoon-fed nor placed in your day as a matter of course. But they are definitely there to be had.

There is a difference between the type of help a typical student at a rigorous school may need getting organized or managing their time and what is needed by a student with ADHD and/or serious executive functioning deficits. Learning how to study or budget your time is new for many HS students but it is an entirely different matter for students with ADHD etc.

Having attended PEA and having spoken with current parents there and at several other similar schools, there is nearly universal consensus on this IME.

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Never meant to imply otherwise. Was simply responding to things further upthread like “selective and rigorous schools expect kids to have a handle on organization and time management. I think there is support for struggles with academic content but that is different” when in fact the academic skills center are prepared and able to offer support for all of these things.