Welcome to Learning Support

The Foote School Learning Support Program (LSP) promotes academic growth through its work with students, faculty and families. The learning specialists consult and collaborate with classroom teachers and work in partnership with families to help students with a broad range of learning needs. The Learning Support model is designed to help students make progress in the context of a rigorous academic program.

The Learning Support team is comprised of five full-time specialists who provide specific skill instruction to those students who need targeted academic support.

In kindergarten through grade two
In these grades interventions focus on skill acquisition in reading, written expression and mathematics. Learning specialists provide explicit, targeted, sequential instruction and guided practice to students in small groups and one-on-one tutorials. This work takes place in addition to classroom-based reading, writing and math instruction.

In grades three through five
Learning support continues to align closely with student need. Often, the shift is made to comprehension and fluency support in reading. In written expression, organization, sentence structure, word choice and coherence are all areas of emphasis, depending on need. Mathematics support shadows the increasingly complex curriculum and seeks to fill in gaps in skills and reasoning through strategy instruction.

In the middle school
Students meet with learning specialists during study hall or during language periods (see language waiver protocol below). Learning support sessions target skill deficits through coursework assignments and projects. Reading for information, note-taking and continuing support for expository writing are areas of emphasis in language arts. In mathematics, specialists provide procedural and strategy support for problem-solving and continue to build upon basic skills as needed. Emphasis in the middle school also shifts to executive skills including organization, time management, study strategies and self-monitoring.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do learning specialists stay up-to-date on student needs?

Learning specialists meet regularly with grade-level teaching teams and the division head to discuss student needs. At these meetings, academic concerns are shared and possible strategies and in-class supports are generated collaboratively. The team also tracks student growth and progress over time.

How are decisions regarding learning support made?

When, despite active interventions by the classroom teacher, student progress is not sufficient, the team gathers further information through specific work samples, observations and in-house assessments or screenings. The team then makes a plan for support that is driven by this data.

How does the school communicate about student progress?

Communication between home and school is important for optimal understanding of the student and his or her growth. When a child receives services, the team and the family meet periodically throughout the year to review progress around specific learning goals. Parents are kept up-to-date through phone contact and email, as well. Every LSP student receives written report summaries twice a year.

What is the protocol for outside evaluations?

A child's educational team (including the classroom teacher, LSP faculty and the division head) will make a formal recommendation for an evaluation when additional information is needed to plan for student learning. Foote refers families to qualified area clinicians for these evaluations. The recommendations take place at a meeting with the family in which the reasons for the referral and all aspects of the evaluation process are discussed.

What is the protocol for language waivers?

Students at Foote are required to study a world language in the lower school. Middle school students continue this study and add Latin to their coursework in seventh grade. In the event that a student's learning profile makes language learning difficult and that the student requires intensive, targeted support in academic skills, the school waives one language requirement and replaces this language study with learning support. The timing to begin waivers varies, depending on student need. Waivers are Foote's most intensive intervention and are designed for students with substantial skill deficits. There are two requirements for waivers: documentation of the above-mentioned learning challenges from a psycho-educational evaluation and the recommendation of the child's educational team, comprised of the classroom teachers, learning support faculty and the respective division head.