Learning Support Services
Learning Program Overview
The Learning Support Services aim to identify and support students with different learning needs within and outside the classroom, in order to ensure that each Pinewood student may learn and flourish academically, socially, and emotionally, in a nurturing, inclusive and responsive environment. The Learning Support Services (LSS) is organized to address academic, behavioral/emotional and/or other issues which may interfere with a student’s ability to obtain a holistic education, and is part of the Student Services (SS) department. There are many instances when a student may require the assistance of the LSS.
The Learning Support Services are guided by holistic school practices and approaches. Our Whole Child, Whole School, Whole Community philosophy focuses on students, whilst addressing critical education and health outcomes, supporting students’ growth, and engaging our community. It also enhances our students’ meaningful connection to others in a school environment, their competence as learners, and promotes a sense of autonomy and self-direction.
Whole Child: Students benefit from individual academic and psychological attention and supportive relationships to learn and thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
Whole School: Creating a positive, welcoming environment with participation in structured group activities to achieve school success.
Whole Community: Our school is a reflection of our community, and requires community input, resources, and collaboration in order to fully support our students. Community specific needs are reflected in our school, and as such are also addressed.
Learning Support Services Professionals
As an inclusive international school, our student population has diverse and varied needs, which we are called upon to address. The complex learning profiles of our students mean that Learning Support Services consist of special educators and teachers with specialist training in Special Education in International settings. This allows our services to be optimised and take place on a one-to-one or small group basis where the Learning Support Coordinator (LSCo) and Learning Specialists (LS) are able to dedicate their time and expertise to cater to each child’s specific learning needs.
Learning Support Coordinator: The primary role of the Learning Support Coordinator is to support students who are entitled to learning support by designing, overseeing, providing and coordinating intervention, remediation and enrichment, to support teachers in their efforts with these students in the classroom, and to work with parents, students and outside professionals in order to better support these students.
Learning Specialist: The role of the Learning Specialists is to support students who are entitled to learning support by implementing interventions created by the Learning Support Coordinator through sessions inside and outside the classroom to students who need individualised and differentiated learning experiences.
Learning Support Assistant: The role of the Learning Support Assistant refers to a skilled individual, employed by the parents, who works alongside the classroom teacher to provide academic, social, behavioural and emotional support to students with learning differences. The Learning Support Assistants are under the supervision of the Learning Support Services.
The identification process begins with a student’s referral by a classroom teacher or parent. The Learning Support Services team determines which programs offered by the Learning Support Services will most effectively meet the student’s needs and provide opportunities for them to reach their full potential. The Learning Support Coordinator works closely with teachers to differentiate the student’s curriculum and adjust his/her learning experience to suit his/her individual needs.
A student must have completed a full-battery of psycho-educational assessments, either administered by the Pinewood Psycho-Educational Assessment Center or by non-Pinewood based professionals, in order to qualify for Learning Support Services. The support system created specifically for each student is based on the psycho-educational findings and the student’s individual needs. These effective strategies are created by the Learning SUpport Coordinator and are then shared with all teachers working with the student.
Description of Services
Levels of Support
As our school began embracing the true meaning of inclusion, The LS services have adopted an inclusive 3-tier service delivery system, celebrating natural diversity with meaningful, student-centered learning and ensuring access to quality education for all students by effectively meeting their diverse needs in a way that is responsive, accepting, respectful and supportive. The Learning Support three-tier support model benefits not only students with disabilities, but also all students, educators, parents, and community members. The Learning Support Services provide three levels of support based on a 3-tier academic support model:
Tier I: In-class Support
Tier I offers in-class support which refers to individualised differentiated quality teaching in the regular classroom for the support of students with transient or mild learning difficulties. It includes differentiated instructional teaching techniques and methods. Students can also work in small groups in the classroom as the teacher and/or aide uses differentiated instruction to target different skill levels and learning styles. Students also consult with the LSCo regarding their progress and evolving needs. The LSCo collaborates and frequently meets with the parents and tutors ensuring that the differentiated learning provided to the students at school is continued at home. Exam accommodations are also coordinated and the students are monitored and supported by the LS services during those times.
Tier II: Small-group
Tier II support consists of all Tier I services as well as individualised interventions for students barely not meeting grade-level academic expectations, or struggling students who need additional support. It includes increased collaboration among the LSCo/ LS and other stakeholders in order to facilitate teachers in making adjustments to instruction in response to student needs. Small-group and/ or one on one pull out and push in sessions (3 weekly sessions) are also conducted by the LSCo/ LS. Additionally, the LSCo checks up on their academic, behavioral, social and emotional progress. The LSCo collaborates and frequently meets with parents and tutors ensuring that the differentiated learning provided to the students at school is continued at home. Exam accommodations are also coordinated and the students are monitored and supported by the LSCo services during those times.
Tier III: One on One
Tier III support provides all Tier II services as well as research-supported, individualized, intensive instructional intervention, and more frequent progress monitoring for students. Specifically, students receive 4 weekly sessions with the LSCO/ LS and individualised curriculums are designed and implemented. The educational environment is thus effectively tailored to their level and abilities, focusing and addressing their strengths, needs and academic requirements. The LSCo collaborates and frequently meets with parents and tutors ensuring that the differentiated learning provided to the students at school is continued at home. Exam accommodations are also coordinated and the students are monitored and supported by the LSCo services during those times.
Whole School Programs
Pinewood’s Learning Support Services also offer schoolwide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors and habits to create positive school environments whilst addressing their needs. Instead of simply using a piecemeal approach of individual plans, a continuum of support for all students within the school is implemented. These whole school programs enhance the capacity of our students, families, and community to design an effective environment in which teaching and learning occurs. Below are some examples of whole school programs implemented at Pinewood over the last few years.
The Buddy Program aims to extend friendships between older and younger students by having several selected secondary or late elementary students acting as older mentors to our youngest elementary students, thus creating a network of support and safety.
Link to my article for TESOL (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B96nh88bov6zMFdlTmpSRUlNWTA/view?usp=sharing p. 33-34).
Anti-discrimination and anti-bullying seminars (facebook post December 23 2017)
Grade 12 Legacy projects
Kindness projects (link to my article with TESOL https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B96nh88bov6zMFdlTmpSRUlNWTA/view?usp=sharing
She persisted (Facebook post June 5 2018)
E-Safety Secondary Program
Study Skills (facebook post January 12 2018)
Personality Reports (facebook post)
International Persons with Disabilities day