Learning Support

At The Walker School, a team of professionals serve as school-wide learning support for students, teachers, and parents. The School’s consulting psychologist supports learning specialists for each division, and the learning specialists provide direct guidance based on students’ needs in each division.

Preschool

The Learning Support Team (LST) is made up of the Preschool Director, the Learning Specialist, the counselor, and the classroom teacher. The purpose of this team is to provide a system of support for our students and teachers by using the expertise of the members of the team when supporting an academic, behavior, or social/emotional need. The LST process looks different for each child as each child present a different learning profile and varying emotional/behavioral support needs. In the Preschool, we understand and honor the developmental process that children need to learn and grow. The LST meets regularly (once a G-A rotation) to update members about student performance and progress.
During LST:
  • The team regularly reviews and monitors student performance throughout the school
  • Teachers meet with the LST team and inform the team by using the “whole child” approach , outlining areas of strengths/progress and areas of needed support for their students
  • Members brainstorm and offer suggestions of possible intervention strategies for the student
  • Plans are created to support the student and to communicate/work alongside parents in support of their child
  • The team documents which strategies proved beneficial in assisting the child/teacher and which strategies didn’t produce desired outcomes
  • Once student goals are met, cases are monitored and can be re-opened if necessary
  • If student goals are not being met, the team will come together to brainstorm ideas/plans, and next steps for the student, which may involve referrals for tutoring assistance, counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or a psycho-educational evaluations. Psycho-educational evaluations are an invaluable resource for the teacher and the family. The information received from an evaluation will allow teachers to better understand a student’s learning profile and emotional needs, which then promotes understanding of how to better meet the academic/social/emotional needs of the child.
  • If there is a determination that The Walker School cannot meet the needs of the child due to lack of response to the interventions in place or lack of progress, the family may be counseled out to a different educational environment.

Lower School

The Learning Support Team (LST) consists of the Principal, Assistant Principal, Learning Specialist, and Counselor. This is a team that meets once a week (8:30 - 9:45 a.m. on Wednesdays) and consults with teachers, parents, and the School's consulting psychologist as needed. The role of LST is to provide academic and social/emotional support for students in Lower School with responsibilities such as:
  • serving as an academic resource for teachers, providing counsel, strategies, and observations to gather important data about a child's performance in class, related to both areas of strength and weakness
  • meeting regularly to review student performance and identify students who need additional support
  • initiating regular teacher meetings (in teams for fourth and fifth grade and individually for first through third grades) to discuss students' progress and concerns (teachers may also initiate meetings with LST)
  • facilitating parent-teacher conferences, when needed, to provide additional support or information about student concerns and needs
  • determining if additional testing and/or a psycho-educational evaluation is necessary in order to learn how and if The Walker School can fully support the student, both now and in the future
  • maintaining regular communication with parents (and teachers) regarding student response to interventions, or lack of progress, necessitating possible separation from the school
  • maintaining records outlining student needs, interventions, and student outcomes

Middle School

Overview
  • Work closely with the Learning Support Team throughout the year as well as to help transition students from Lower School to Middle and from Middle to Upper Schools.
  • Serve on the Middle School Student Support Team (along with the Middle School Principal, Counselor, and Deans) to support students with suspected as well as identified learning differences.
  • Manage accommodations for students with full psycho-educational evaluations both in daily classes and on standardized testing.
  • Communicate closely with parents, students, and teachers to help ensure student success.
Services
  • Back Pack Club – open daily during recess and Monday, Tuesday, Thursday after school to assist with homework, studying, and organization. Open to all students and not mandated, but appointments can be arranged to meet with individual students as needed.
  • Learning Support Area (located off of the Bowden Library) – for individual student assistance, peer tutoring, extended time, study hall, and alternate testing environment.
  • Outside Referrals – contact listings maintained for tutors and psycho-educational evaluators.
Reminders
  • Only students with a full psycho-educational evaluation are permitted to receive Walker-approved accommodations.  
  • For students to receive accommodations on college entry tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT), a history of use of those accommodations will often need to begin in Middle School.  If a student is struggling in any area and has not yet had an evaluation, please alert the teacher first, then the Grade Level Dean. From there, the Student Support Team (including the Learning Specialist) can begin to address any further steps needed.

Upper School

 

Overview

  • Our Upper School Learning Specialist serves on the Upper School Student Support Team along with the Grade Level Deans, School Counselor and the Head of the Upper School to support students who have been diagnosed with a learning difference and are receiving accommodations.
  • Manage accommodations for students with full psycho-educational evaluations both in daily classes and on standardized testing.
  • Communicate closely with parents, students, and teachers to help ensure student success.

Services

  • Learning Lab – for individual student assistance, peer tutoring, extended time, study hall, and alternate testing environment.
  • Freshmen Directed Study Hall – For freshmen receiving accommodations. Help students with the adjustment to high school, teach study skills, and help with student /teacher accountability. 
  • Outside Referrals – contact listings maintained for tutors and psycho-educational evaluators
  • Submits accommodation applications for College Board and ACT.
  • Advise Upper School Peer Tutoring – students can connect with each other for tutoring while earning ROOTS credit hours.

Reminders  

  • Only students with a full psycho-educational evaluation are permitted to receive Walker-approved accommodations.  
  • For students to receive accommodations on College Board testing (PSAT, AP or SAT) and ACT testing, a full psycho-educational evaluation must be on file.  The learning specialist must also provide proof that accommodations have been used in the classroom for at least four months.
  • To apply for College Board accommodations, pyscho-educational testing needs be within the last five years.
  • For ACT accommodations, psycho-educational testing needs to be within the last three years.
  • If a student receives Walker accommodations, it does not mean that he or she will receive accommodations for College Board or the ACT. The application process for College Board (including AP tests) and ACT are done separately. Approved Walker accommodations do not guarantee approval for College Board or ACT tests. 

Learning Support Staff

Casey Fiman

casey.fiman@thewalkerschool.org
Preschool & Lower School Learning Specialist 

Jenny Karpenko
jenny.karpenko@thewalkerschool.org
Middle School Learning Specialist

Jennie Brimer
jennie.brimer@thewalkerschool.org
Upper School School Learning Specialist