Learning Services supports Northwest School students with learning differences. This work is grounded in the philosophy that all students want to learn, have a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge, have learning strengths, and, with the right support, can succeed in our academic program. We welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds and with different learning needs.
Students with learning differences are full participants in the entire school curriculum, while supported and guided to become independent learners. Our program supports students with disabilities that can be accommodated, but do not require significant curriculum modification.
Students struggle with organization for different reasons. A common one is difficulty with a set of skills called executive function. No matter the cause, there are strategies that can help at every age.
Students who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) receive a customized Learning Support Plan (LSP) that outlines the reasonable accommodations they need to access the curriculum and program at School. Parent(s)/guardian(s) must request an LSP from the Learning Services Team and provide documentation of a qualifying condition via an assessment or evaluation. The Northwest School does not administer neuropsychological exams.
Upon notification of a disability and need for accommodation, the school will enter a collaborative process with the parent(s)/guardian(s) and student to determine if the student can be reasonably accommodated.
We have a team of Learning Services Coordinators, and a director to support our students on Learning Support Plans. They are all subject-matter experts in math, science, humanities, and study skills who will be available to support our learners.
Collaborating Across Campus to Serve All Students
The Academic Resource Center
All students are naturally curious and have a thirst for knowledge. They all have learning strengths and for some there are areas of learning that don’t come as easily.
The Academic Resource Center, led by Kelly Marshall, Director of Learning Services, provides support for all students by offering resources addressing a range of learning needs from subject specific, to support with organization skills.
The library is the heart of a school, fostering community and collaboration, and Northwest School’s library is no different. While the library houses the physical print collection, it is much more than that. It’s all about balance. In the Northwest School library, we offer an enriching research experience backed by an extensive array of digital and physical resources to meet students where they are that have been carefully curated to reflect the academic needs of our students, their interests, and that also provide a variety of windows and mirrors. Our librarian, works closely with teachers to design lessons that are both scaffolded and grade level appropriate. We work with students across disciplines to gradually develop research and information literacy skills so that by the time they graduate they are adept at identifying bias, evaluating sources, properly citing materials, and utilizing critical thinking when undergoing research.
Learning Support Plan: Development & Management
Northwest helps to ensure students have equal access to educational and co-curricular programming. In doing so, individualized consultation and reasonable accommodations are provided to students with diagnosed learning differences. With a clear focus on rigor and readiness, faculty utilize various instructional strategies and methods to promote academic success.
Peer Academic Leaders (PALS)
Peer-to-peer tutoring support is a new learning service available to all students. In this program Upper School students are selected and trained to coach and tutor students as they practice what they learn in their courses. Students can book appointments with PALS to review basic concepts, support homework, provide revision/editing support, and more.
Instructional support and guidance for Teaching Faculty
The Learning Services Team provides regular, ongoing training to our teaching faculty and advisors on instructional strategies, universal design, and best practices in fostering an inclusive classroom. Through our instructional coaching program teaching faculty receive hands-on and real-time guidance in content delivery, assessment creation, and other areas that enable all students to successfully manage their learning experience.