Student Academic Support Services
Frederica Academy is deeply committed to working thoughtfully and tirelessly to best ensure the academic success of every student at the school. Additional time, personnel, and resources have been allocated to this commitment in all three divisions beyond the typical interactions between teachers and students within the classroom setting every day. Even with that goal, though, resources are finite and the school seeks clear communication and expectations regarding what services the school can and cannot provide.
Challenging students on the frontier of their learning is critical to keeping children optimally engaged in their school life. As the array of aptitudes, school backgrounds and levels of preparation, curiosity, and motivation for learning can be wide in any one class, teachers must be aware of, and strive to meet the needs of, all. Addressing the needs of those who learn easily and are highly motivated requires a different but no less important set of strategies than those who may be struggling in a particular task or discipline. Frederica Academy prides itself in its flexibility to accommodate and inspire the brightest of its students regardless of their age and grade level.
In the Lower School, most accommodations are made within the classroom setting. Lower School teachers know well the learning profiles of the students in their classes and work to provide meaningful challenge and support for each student. Class sizes vary from 9-13 allowing for an abundance of interactive moments between teacher to student and student to student. Students who might need occasional extra help with a particular concept or unit are encouraged to make arrangements to meet individually with their classroom teacher. If the required support exceeds occasional extra help sessions, employing a private tutor for a designated period of time may be needed. Additionally, the Lower School offers reading remediation using the Wilson Reading program. Students with a diagnosed reading disability/dyslexia are eligible for this program, taught by a Frederica faculty member, Christy Bumgartner, who is Wilson Specialist. Tuition does not cover this service.
In the Middle School, students are also encouraged to seek out their teachers when they need additional explanation or instruction. Each student has a fifty-minute Directed Study period embedded in his/her schedule each day, and each student has access to a Directed Study space (MS Academic Center) where he/she can receive instruction from a faculty member on duty or simply study on his/her own. In the Middle School, an emphasis is placed on students acquiring time management skills and learning to use these study opportunities effectively.
Similarly, in the Upper School the Nash Academic Center serves as a dedicated space for study. This center is staffed with a permanent, full-time faculty member whose role is to set and maintain a tone constructive for study within the environment. The current specialist in the Nash Center is Katie Knox. She provides individual support to interested students, especially in the organizing and prioritizing of work arena; coordinates and manages various accommodations for qualified students; and supervises all independently contracted outside tutors who work during regular school hours within the Nash Center. This center has both closed, individual spaces and quiet, open spaces for solitary study allowing for collaborative work and solitary study. Upper School students have a study period built into their daily class schedule when they can utilize the Nash Academic Center and its resources.
At the heart of our efforts to support our older learners academically is the 3:20-3:50 PM “tutorial” time block each day in Middle and Upper School. During this thirty-minute tutorial period, Middle and Upper School teachers are available to help any of his/her students interested in meeting. That way students who have worked hard in their Directed Study earlier in the day can ask a question or resolve an issue before they head home or to athletic practice and those who need reinforcement in material presented earlier that day can meet with the teacher for clarification or additional instruction before the day closes.
Frederica does not have a faculty/staff member qualified to administer and interpret specific psycho-educational evaluations. The faculty can meet with the psychologist to provide anecdotal information that might be helpful in constructing an accommodation plan, and the school certainly has the capability, flexibility, and desire to implement specific the elements in many plans. Divisional Directors and faculty in the two Academic Centers are jointly responsible for following through on accommodation plan recommendations.
In all three divisions, faculty are meeting frequently and regularly to discuss the status and progress of every student. At any time for any student at any grade level, a faculty member, a division director, or a parent can call for a meeting of a student’s academic team to discuss early interventions. These discussions might include exploring alternative teaching strategies, focusing on time management, or working with a faculty member or outside specialist to develop stronger study skills or a specific concept or area of focus.
In addition, the academic team may recommend that an educational/psychological assessment be administered to assist in understanding the child as a learner and to identify specific learning strengths and weaknesses. The school has experience with several qualified and respected experts in the area.
Any students with an evaluation within the last three years can receive approved accommodations based on current documentation on file. Accommodations are written based on the recommendations of the psychologist and the student’s academic team. From that report, an accommodation meeting with relevant faculty is scheduled to clarify each student’s individual needs. In the end, a written accommodation plan is provided to families and teachers while the plan is still current (up to three years). Once a student enters the Upper School, the College Counselor works with parents to apply appropriate accommodations with College Board and the ACT. In addition, the College Counselor works closely with the psychologist to ensure students have adequate time when filing for extended time and other accommodations.