Robert M. Beren Academy

Support Services » Strategic Learning/ Academic Support Program

Strategic Learning/ Academic Support Program

The Academic Support Program for Robert M. Beren Academy is an inclusion program, in which participation in the general and Judaic studies curriculum is accessible to all students, regardless of their learning differences.  The primary focus of our program is to provide individual learners with the resources and supports they need to participate successfully in the academic setting at RMBA; and to prepare them for the transition to life after high school.

 

In alignment with the mission of RMBA, students in Academic Support complete all required general and Judaic studies classes, along with their peers, preparing our students to become self-confident, compassionate, practicing Jews as well as committed citizens and life-long learners. The Academic Support Program is designed to assist students with learning challenges in receiving an exemplary education based on the highest national standards for college preparation, and to provide them with the necessary skills that, upon graduation, will help them to flourish in college and in life.


For acceptance into the Academic Support Program, students are required to have a recent (within 3 years) psycho-educational evaluation, performed by a licensed psychologist or educational diagnostician; documenting students’ learning challenges, and indicating the need for accommodations or modifications to the standard curriculum.  


Components of the Academic Support Program


  • Learning specialists who offer instruction in General Studies and Judaic Studies

  • Use of resource room where students come to work with the learning specialist when small group or individual instruction of the curriculum is required.

  • Inclusion instruction in which a learning specialist is present in the classroom to offer learning support to students; accommodations are recommended, and provided to teachers, for students with different learning styles.

  • Learning specialists advocate for the student and consult with teachers; to help educate teachers regarding different learning styles, and offer advice on implementing accommodations in the classroom.
  • Learning specialists communicate with parents and students to help develop effective interventions and strategies in order support the student.

  • Learning specialists help to educate parents, students, and faculty about learning differences, and implementation strategies to better serve students with specific differences.
  • An Academic Support Plan is developed for each student in the Academic Support Program. This outlines the student’s learning style, and provides specific accommodations to be implemented in the classroom. Every teacher is provided a copy of the student’s Academic Support Plan, to better serve the student’s individual needs.

  • Learning specialists assess students on a regular basis, to pinpoint the specific and prerequisite skills a student is struggling to master, and to create goals and objectives that address these issues.

  • Learning specialists provide input to the admissions director and administrative faculty to determine appropriate placement of students with learning differences; whether RMBA is a good fit, or if placement in a more comprehensive program outside of RMBA will better serve the student.

Educational Issues Served in the Academic Support Program


  • Attention

  • Memory and Retrieval - Short-term, working memory, long-term retrieval

  • Receptive Language - Rate of processing, word recognition and sentence structure, understanding oral language, comprehension or use of non-verbal gestures

  • Output Issues - Expressive language, motor production (handwriting), executive functioning (organization, time management, task completion, beginning tasks, etc.)
  • Skill Acquisition - Reading fluency, spelling, written expression, mathematics and reasoning, reading comprehension, note taking skills, study skills

  • Social/Emotional Issues - May influence academic difficulties, or result in behavioral challenges

Documentation


Students receiving Academic Support services have an individual folder that contains their psychological/educational evaluation, Support Plan, conference notes, and any updates or progress pertaining to their documented learning differences.

Teachers and parents are provided with a copy of the student’s individualized Academic Support Plan; the plan is updated periodically throughout the school year.



Parent-Teacher Communication


Academic Support Committee conferences are held annually or biannually, depending on a student’s needs and academic progress.  Committees primarily consist of the learning specialist, the parents, teachers, and administrators. Students are encouraged to attend, and to use the process to learn to advocate for themselves, and to understand their specific learning differences; which will become increasingly essential, especially as they reach young adulthood. Parents, students, specialists, or faculty may request a meeting at any time during the school year, in the event that an unforeseen issue arises.


Technology


Use of assistive technology (laptop, tablet, recording device, headphones) in the classroom is available to students with learning issues relating to grapho-motor, language processing, or organizational issues. Assistive technology must be approved by formal or informal meeting of the Academic Support Committee. Certain technology and software may be requested by school, parents, or the student.


Additional Information


The Academic Support Program is designed to offer assistance to students with documented learning differences (in the form of a psychological or educational evaluation). Without the necessary documentation, services cannot be provided to any student, even if s/he struggles in the classroom. The program is also not designed to provide tutoring services to individual students. Rather, Academic Support students have access to a number of resources, including: use of the Strategic Learning Lab, individualized learning plans, group sessions with Academic Support specialists (individual support offered when available), and accommodations or modifications to the standard curriculum. The services offered through the Academic Support Program are provided for a fee, additional to the standard tuition.

 

For additional information regarding the Academic Support Program at Robert M. Beren Academy, please contact:


Paul Schwartz, Academic Support Coordinator

(713) 723-7170 ext. 244

pschwartz@berenacademy.org