Laurel students are active learners with a high level of commitment to their studies and the ability to apply their best efforts within the classroom and beyond. The school is committed to supporting each student’s academic growth and healthy social development.
We recognize that a wide range of learning styles exists among our student population, and that different learning styles benefit from different kinds of instruction and support. In order to support each of our students as vigorously as we challenge them, the school maintains a variety of resources to aid students with diverse learning styles.
Learning Specialists are available to support student learning in Primary, Middle and Upper School. They help students obtain or strengthen the fundamental skills of learning and studying (organization, review, outlining). Typically the specialists work with the students individually or in small group settings during the school day. Support may be needed for an extended period of time or for just a few weeks. Our group of specialists are certified in all areas of education and truly care about the individual needs of all students and do support all types of learners (support and/or enrichment).
If a teacher or family raises concerns about a child’s academic progress, the individual student’s needs will be assessed by a team of learning specialists, the school psychologist and classroom teachers. The team will determine an initial plan of action after classroom observations have taken place in a variety of academic of settings. The plan may include any of the following:
- Sharing detailed teacher or parent referral with the team
- Progress monitoring (mini assessments over a designated period of time)
- Short-term interventions by classroom teacher and/or learning specialists
- If needed, further testing will be recommended
The psychologists offer the following services to support the academic and personal growth of Laurel students:
- Brief individual counseling, with the written consent of the parent or guardian, to assist with school adjustment or to support the efforts of an outside therapist
- Emergency intervention with an individual or group of students as the need arises
- Small group or classroom work to support healthy personal growth and development
- Interpretation of outside evaluations for implementation within the school
- Observation in classrooms
- Maintenance of confidential individual testing records
- Acting as a liaison with outside professionals to support the progress of students within the school
- Consultation and resource sharing with faculty, staff and parents to support the growth and development of the students
The AIMSweb progress monitoring assessment is administered three times per year to students in grades K – 7 (K – 8 in school year 2012/2013). This assessment is used to monitor growth on a more regular basis which allows the learning enhancement team to closely watch all students’ progress and recommend further assessments when necessary.
In grades 4 – 8, all students take the appropriate grade level ERB (Educational Records Bureau) test. This test is administered annually and results are shared with each student’s family. Class results are used by faculty and administrators to evaluate the school’s program.
The tests that students take in grades 9 – 12 are ones required for college admission and Advanced Placement credit; they are the PSAT, SAT, SAT subject tests, ACT and AP tests. Each of these tests (with the exception of the PSAT) requires individual registration. If a student has a documented disability, she may be tested utilizing non-standard administration. The testing agencies that administer the tests mentioned above provide special testing arrangements for students with current (documentation must be less than three years old), documented physical, psychological and learning disabilities. Documented disabilities must be professionally diagnosed. Further, a student requesting non-standard administration should currently be receiving accommodations for in-school testing.
The psychologists administer limited, individual testing in the Primary School, with the written consent of the parent or guardian, when specific information will assist with academic planning. Tests are selected in accordance with the needs of the individual student.
An outside referral will be recommended if a more extensive assessment is warranted. Individual psychological/educational assessments can be arranged through the student's public school district or through a psychologist in private practice. Laurel School psychologists do not diagnose learning disabilities and, therefore, testing must take place with an outside specialist.
When a student requires academic support beyond that which Laurel may provide using school resources, the Division Director or Director of Learning Enhancement may recommend a program of academic support to include work with an outside tutor, at the family's expense. Non-faculty tutors who work with students at the school are required to complete a formal personnel process.
Other tutorial arrangements that families develop for their daughters without consultation with the Division Director or Director of Learning Enhancement are viewed as separate from Laurel School. Faculty guidelines state that Laurel classroom teachers are not permitted to tutor for financial compensation any student currently in their classes or, during the summer, any student in the class she/he has just finished teaching.