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 students. 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.
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.
Academic Support has one designated General Studies Special Education Specialist who supports students ranging from First through Twelfth Grades.
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 disability(s), and indicating the need for accommodations or modifications to the standard curriculum.
- Students must be capable of working in an inclusion setting.
- The Academic Support Program also works with students where their English is a Second Language, ESL students.
- RMBA’s Academic Support Specialist, the Administrative Faculty, and Admissions Director meet together to determine appropriate placement of students with a learning disability(s); whether RMBA is a good fit, or if placement in a more comprehensive program outside of RMBA will better serve the student.
Houston Independent School District Services
- Robert M. Beren Academy resides within the Houston Independent School District. There is a designated private school HISD liaison that works with our Academic Support Specialist on behalf of our students.
- HISD provides speech therapy services on our campus to students identified as having speech impairment.
- Evaluation through HISD
Should a parent have a concern that their child has a learning disability or speech impairment; the parent has the opportunity to request an evaluation. The Academic Support Specialist will work with the parent, teachers, and the HISD liaison when an evaluation is being requested.
Many forms are required to be completed by the parent, teacher, and health professional. A classroom observation is required by RMBA’s Academic Support Specialist.
HISD requires current and previous report cards for the past two years along with any standardized testing results.
Components of the Academic Support Program
- Use of resource room where students come to work with the learning specialist when small group or individual instruction of the curriculum is required.
- Learning specialist advocates 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 specialist communicates with parents and students to help develop effective interventions and strategies in order support the student.
- 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 aids in creating goals and objectives that address these issues.
- ESL Students - Students with English as a Second Language if needed, have the ability to participate in our Academic Support Program. Students will learn through a variety of methods: communication, reading, and writing skills in English.
Documentation for Students with an Evaluation
- Students receiving Academic Support services have an individual folder that contains their psychological/educational evaluation.
- 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.
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.
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.
For additional information regarding the Academic Support Program at Robert M. Beren Academy, please contact:
Shalva Berger, Academic Support Coordinator
(713) 723-7170 ext. 244