Students come to understand that everyone learns differently when conversations about learning are open and without judgment. Often these occur in group settings, where teachers and students compare their strengths and weaknesses around memory, reading, math, and learning. There are also one-on-one conversations with teachers. Ultimately, we empower our students with self-awareness and self-advocacy skills.
We believe that all students learn effective study habits by practicing them within the context of everyday academic activity. For example, keeping track of homework assignments is a habit best formed through reinforcement in each class rather than an isolated study skills class. When students need more intensive support in math and English, we schedule that support during the academic day to maintain students' free time after school.
Learning Support at NCS is designed for students who need organizational and homework support or who struggle with written production, have long-standing struggles with math or are ready to transition to a mainstream classroom from a specialized instructional setting. Our support does not include specialized instruction, nor is it appropriate for children with a newly identified language-based learning difference in need of intensive 1:1 remediation.
Some students are served well in modified math or with additional English support classes. Space in these courses is limited, and class sizes are small. Placement is often made during the admissions process, based on information from the previous school and collaboration among the Learning Support Coordinator, parents, and Dean of Academic Affairs. If a change is merited during the school year, it can be made. The student and family have central roles in determining support course placement.
Accommodations to support reading fluency and written production are available for any student who needs them. NCS provides a Google Chromebook to every student. Chromebooks are particularly helpful for students who write best on a computer or benefit from text-to-speech support. If a student comes with experience using a specific type of assistive technology, the school will work with the student and family to support continued use as much as possible.
This course, taught by the grade-level English teacher, supports students who benefit from additional attention to their written production. These three extra periods a week provide more time for learning the writing process and provide opportunities for coaching and re-teaching. Typically, students in this course do best when they do not also study a foreign language.
Students with a history of performing below grade level in math or who require extensive help are candidates for modified math class. Modified math is designed to break the cycle of “just keeping up.” We slow the pace, revisit concepts, and improve students' math skills. Over many years, this approach has shown to improve math competency and confidence.