The Academy is committed to the success of every one of its students. Our Head of Learning Services, Jamie Lee Forster, works with students on an individual and small group basis to make sure all needs are met, from enrichment to reinforcement. She also works with teachers to help design individualized programs to meet specific student needs.
Our Learning Enrichment Process
The Head of Learning Services collaborates with teachers and families to help students reach their highest potential as learners. She conducts individual and small group sessions for students both with and without diagnosed learning differences. During these focused tutorial groups, specific learning strategies in the areas of reading, math, organization and study skills, are provided.
A support team, which includes the student, parents, administrators and teachers, creates a Student Support Plan that outlines the student’s strengths, areas of concern, goals, classroom strategies and accommodations. Progress is tracked through classroom observations and assessments. The support team meets several times throughout the school year to review the student’s plan, goals and progress.
The Head of Learning Services will make referrals for professional evaluations, as needed, and if additional resources or learning experiences are recommended, a new support plan is put into place. Students, parents and teachers will be engaged in ongoing dialogue to ensure students’ needs and parents’ concerns are being addressed. Modifications are made as student needs and curriculum content change throughout the school year.
The Head of Learning Services will review and share results of any psycho-academic evaluations, make suggestions for appropriate accommodations and pedagogy, and update SSPs. It is the Head’s responsibility to maintain student evaluation records and share information with teachers as needed. In addition, she coordinates and supervises standardized testing for students with diagnosed learning disabilities.
Other Student Services
On a more broad-spectrum, our Head of Learning Services assists with curricular and pedagogical development. She consults with teachers on how to differentiate curriculum and support heterogeneous groups of learners in their classrooms, and she develops and leads presentations on best practices in teaching. She co-teaches classes to support those who need particular help with foundational academic skills and content, and trains, supervises and supports our reading coaches.
In addition, our Head of Learning Services works with the Middle School Dean of Students and the Middle School Assistant Head to implement GPA’s study skills advisory program. In addition, Mrs. Forster works with the administrators and faculty to implement a school-wide character development program to reinforce our principles of safety, responsibility, and respect.
How We Provide Enrichment
We draw upon current research in the field in designing and providing academically challenging experiences for all of our learners here at GPA. These include curriculum compacting, clustering, pull-out programs, push-in programs, acceleration, team teaching, modeling, and individualized independent study projects. We strive to provide our gifted students with learning challenges and experiences that differ qualitatively from their regular, grade-level curriculum based upon their individual needs.
Support for Parents
GPA’s Head of Learning Services is available by appointment to meet with parents to discuss concerns regarding their children and to offer guidance and support for parents and students.