The Ursuline Academy philosophy states:
"Each student has a right to an academic program which prepares her for life in a complex and changing world in a manner appropriate to her abilities, interests, and educational background."
This philosophy challenges us to accommodate the individual differences and special needs presented by our students. As a school dedicated to the uniqueness of each individual, we need to address these needs because of their substantial impact on the learning process.
At Ursuline Academy we believe:
· all students have skills, talents, and gifts to offer to the school and classroom community
· the uniqueness of the individual student is to be recognized, respected, and valued
· all students can learn
· a student who learns differently is not inferior by virtue of that difference
· students with special learning needs can learn effectively in a regular classroom setting
· classroom teachers can implement the instructional and assessment strategies necessary for students with
special learning needs to be successful
From: Implementing the Learning Consultant Model for Addressing Students' Special Learning Needs
These students are served by the Learning Consultant:
· students with diagnosed mild to moderate learning disabilities
· students with learning difficulties which have been evaluated and do require accommodations in the classroom
· learning difficulties which have yet to be diagnosed by a professional qualified to diagnose learning disabilities
· students with speech or language disabilities
· students who are visually or hearing impaired
· students who are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Acceptance into the program:
Students who are accepted into the program must first meet the initial criteria for entrance into Ursuline Academy. Some consideration is given to students with diagnosed disabilities because standardized test scores do not always reflect the true ability of the student.
Goals of the program:
· develop the student's awareness of her individual learning strengths and weaknesses.
· foster the student's ability to become her own self advocate.
· provide appropriate accommodations for the student so she can access the curriculum effectively.
· prepare the student for acceptance and success in college.
Role of the Learning Consultant:
The Learning Consultant serves as an advocate for the student, teacher, and parent. The Learning Consultant must also work with those individuals outside the Ursuline community such as tutors, SNAP teachers, diagnosticians, counselors and medical professionals to develop a learning profile that includes appropriate accommodations for the student. She/He provides the groundwork for all parties to work collaboratively to insure the student works to her unique potential to succeed at Ursuline and ultimately find success in a post secondary institution.
Documentation guidelines for participation:
In order to receive accommodations for a specific learning disability, ADHD, or any other psychological or processing weakness at Ursuline Academy the following conditions must be included in the student’s diagnostic evaluation:
· The examiner’s professional credentials are clearly stated and appropriate for the disability diagnosed.
· The evaluations should be no more than three years old, not several years old. A current (yearly) ISP Plan
serves as current documentation if the student is evaluated through the public school.
· The evaluation must include relevant educational, developmental, and even medical history.
· Testing should be comprehensive; that is, it should include measures of cognitive ability, current achievement, and information processing. Full test batteries should be employed-not “pieces” (subtests) from various measures that have been strung together to form a report. For example, a letter from a neurologist or other medical practitioner stating that the student is under care for ADD and should be given accommodation would not pass the comprehensive portion of this requirement.
· There should be a specific diagnosis of a disability. No hedging is allowed. “Closely resembles”, “may very well be”, “is often related to” are phrases that do not meet the specificity of this requirement.
· When an examiner diagnoses a disability, the functional limitations resulting from the disability for this student should be clearly described. Moreover, it should indicate why the testing results support the need for the requested accommodations. The Learning Profile developed at Ursuline will rely heavily on such information.
These guidelines were developed from “Students with Disabilities: Determining Appropriate Accommodations—Whose Job is it?” By Jerry Seen