SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES




The purpose of this page is to provide basic information about Wichita Collegiate School’s philosophy of and commitment to serving its students with disabilities through its Learning Assistance Program (LAP).

 

The Learning Assistance Program at WCS was created to help meet the individual learning needs of students within the framework of Collegiate’s curricular requirements. We believe that many students with learning disabilities are capable of flourishing in our program. Historically our goal has been to afford each student capable of handling the rigors of the Collegiate curriculum the tools necessary to do so successfully. The mission of the WCS LAP is to provide appropriate instructional support for students whose academic success is at risk or limited by specific learning disabilities or by deficiencies in basic skills.

 

As a college prep program all of our students take either/or both the ACT or SAT tests; therefore, we use the policies for documentation of the ACT and College Board as our guidelines. Please refer to the ACT and College Board tabs below for direction to the Services for Students with Disabilities section of each.

 

Included is a synopsis of the procedures we follow in referring students for outside services. We hope that you will find this information helpful. Please feel free to contact your division head, counselor/psychologist, or our Learning Specialist for more information.


WCS Statement of Learning Accommodations


The following is a statement of learning accommodations used at all educational levels at Wichita Collegiate School (WCS). Approximately ten to twenty percent of the population has been diagnosed with learning disabilities. A large percent of those who are formally diagnosed are gifted or above average in intelligence. It is no surprise, then, that the student body at Wichita Collegiate School includes students with learning disabilities. As our knowledge about learning disabilities increases, our responsibility to these students and their parents increases. There are professional, moral, ethical, and legal guidelines that help us determine our responsibility as well. We are committed to helping these students be successful in our program.


Parents evaluating whether Collegiate is a good fit for their learning disabled child need to consider the following general facts. There are features of our school that may make the match a good one: we have highly qualified, experienced teachers, small student-teacher ratio, interesting and interactive classroom presentations, support staff in counseling and learning lab personnel, and all our staff are trained in learning disabilities. There are features of our school that may make the match problematic: the curriculum is accelerated; we move fast; there is a large quantity of traditional written work; there is a heavy load of reading; there is homework every night; the curriculum is prescribed with limited academic choices; graduation requirements include four years of math and English; three years of foreign language, science, and history; and the senior Humanities course. Students are expected to accomplish the Collegiate curriculum.


Occasionally in Lower School and Middle School a different approach is taken in a particular course to bring the student in line with our program. For example, a student could be in an individualized math program or a student might begin the study of Latin in grade 8 rather than grade 7. Ultimately most families, including those whose children have learning disabilities, choose Collegiate because of the academic program and the other features of the program, just like every other Collegiate family.

One way we evaluate the continuance of a student is by answering the following two questions.

 

1. Can the student learn in the classroom?

2. Can other students learn while he/she is in the classroom?

 

 

Goals for Learning Accommodations

 

Accommodations are valid educational tools used to allow students with learning disabilities to work to their level of ability to overcome their learning disability. Accommodations are recommended to allow students to learn in spite of diagnosed learning disabilities. Collegiate routinely allows certain accommodations recommended by the evaluator who makes the diagnosis. A list of typical accommodations follows

 

What accommodations does WCS offer to learning different students?

 

The following accommodations are typically allowed, depending on each individual’s diagnosis and the resultant educational recommendations:

 

1. grade on content not spelling
2. calculator use
3. provide a reader or a tape for quizzes, exams
4. use of computer for assignments/tests/quizzes 
5. scribe
6. oral testing/oral response
7. extended time on test
8. quiet room testing
9. teacher or student notes
10. audio books
11. preferential seating
12. consider mastery approach to learning (i.e. shortened assignments on skill building exercises)
13. encourage normal Collegiate routines such as after-school tutorials

 

What accommodations does WCS NOT offer to learning different students?

 

We do not allow accommodations that contradict our curriculum. We do not allow accommodations that suggest a student not accomplish the goals of a particular assignment.

 

How does a student qualify for accommodations?

 

Accommodations come from the diagnostic psychological/educational testing given by a psychologist or other qualified diagnostician. We decide which suggestions from the listed recommendations fit in our program. We allow the use of resources consistent with our program.

 

What equipment and facilities are made available for learning different students?

 

There are learning lab rooms in each division staffed with teachers. The rooms have computers. For students who listen to tests on tape, we provide variable speed cassette tape recorders/players. Laptop computers may be checked out of the computer lab in the Upper School for students who need that accommodation. Students are allowed to bring their own aides as well, particularly audio books, spell checkers, calculators, and laptops as defined by their learning plans.

 

How does WCS provide feedback to parents regarding the performance of their learning different students?

 

Commentaries are sent home at the regular commentary intervals. Learning lab teachers are in communication with parents regarding individual student progress. In Upper School, the Academic Dean monitors student academic progress as well as deficiencies and communicates to parents when the need arises.

 

What is the role of the parent in the learning different program?

 

Parents are the primary advocate for their student. A parent support group meets monthly to both support each other and to share information.

 

Does every student receive an individual learning plan?

 

Individual learning plans are developed by the division counselor or psychologist with input from professional educational testing, classroom teachers, parents, and student.  The contents of these plans, especially the student’s strengths and weaknesses as well as appropriate classroom and testing accommodations, are shared with the student’s teacher(s) each year.

 

What three factors help predict the academic success of learning disabled students at WCS?

 

Learning-disabled students who have successfully completed our academic program have all had the powerful combination of ability, motivation, and support. We use that three pronged approach to student success.

 

Are there extra fees associated with a learning different student and WCS accommodations?

 

There are no fees associated with accommodations in the individual classroom. The Learning Lab is fee-based with the fee schedule being available in each division office.

 

Overall Philosophy of the Learning Lab

 

The mission of the Wichita Collegiate Learning Lab is to provide specialized instructional support for students whose academic success is at risk or limited by specific learning disabilities or by deficiencies in basic skills. WCS believes that many students with learning disabilities are capable of flourishing in our program. Historically, our goal has been to allow each student capable of handling the rigors of the Collegiate curriculum to have the tools necessary to do so successfully.

 

Students are placed in Learning Lab by the Division Head in consultation with the division counselor/psychologist. Input from the teachers and parents are considered critical. Students typically have a diagnosis of a learning disability from a psychologist or doctor; the diagnosis includes accommodations and suggestions for the school. Occasionally a student will be referred for help in Learning Lab who has not yet been officially diagnosed with a learning disability. A student in this category may be weak in a particular skill that is affecting educational success or may be suffering from a temporary academic struggle due to self-esteem, family, health or other personal issues.

 

Our learning lab program includes specific skill building, as in the Alphabetic Phonics program, and classroom support, as in homework preparation, study skills and strategies, organizational help, and exam preparation.

The Learning Lab supports the Mission of Wichita Collegiate School. "The Mission of Wichita Collegiate School is to provide the highest quality education for each student which will maximize his or her ability to understand and enjoy the complexities of the world and successfully meet the challenges of life."

 

What are the qualifications for Learning Lab teachers?

 

The Learning Lab teachers are trained classroom teachers. They may have specialized training such as Alphabetic Phonics, Reading Specialist, or Special Education certification. They may also have a particular curricular specialty - reading, math, science. These teachers are considered a part of the division they work in and are evaluated and contracted just like other WCS teachers.

 

Who recommends students to the learning lab system and who completes the individual learning plan?

 

The division head is ultimately responsible for placing a student in the learning lab. Individual learning plans are developed by the division counselor or psychologist with input from education testing, classroom teachers, parents, and student.

 

What is the procedure for allowing outside contract tutors to work on campus?

 

Approval of the division head after consulting school counselor or psychologist at the division level is required.  All tutors will have on file a completed professional resume, background check, and Contract Tutor Agreement as well as being familiar with the WCS Statement of Learning Accommodations.


January, 2014 Update

 


Referral for Outside Services

Concern about a student’s development, academic progress or emotional well being may lead to referral for outside services.  Finding the most appropriate evaluation/assessment resource to address these concerns is a collaborative effort among many parties--student, parent, teacher(s), division head, school psychologist/counselor/learning specialist, and outside professional(s).  Wichita Collegiate School has established procedures for referring students for outside services.  These procedures incorporate input from multiple facets of a student’s life (home, student, school) in order to provide the most accurate portrait of the student as possible.  

At Collegiate, we take referral for outside services very seriously.  Because outside evaluation/assessment is expensive, time consuming and a highly emotional issue, we refer out only after we have tried the educational, behavioral, and environmental tools available to us and appropriate for the individual student and our school.   

It is our professional responsibility to help parents find the most appropriate starting point for the evaluation/assessment process.  At WCS, outside referral is made only by the Division Head and Counselor/Psychologist who offer to parents appropriate possibilities for evaluation/assessment.  Those possibilities include  services through public school, private psychoeducational evaluation through a licensed psychologist, consultation/medication management with a child psychiatrist, speech/language evaluation with an audiologist and/or speech pathologist, sensory motor integration evaluation with an occupational therapist, etc.  

The Counseling Staff at Collegiate considers it important to be current in knowing those in our community who do evaluation/assessment work.  Each year the WCS counseling staff visits professionals in the Wichita area who provide evaluation/assessment in a variety of areas of expertise.  These visits allow us to not only learn more about the outside professional, but also to familiarize the outside professional with our students our school, its curriculum, and the support services available at WCS.  

It is imperative that outside evaluators be familiar with both the College Board (PSAT, SAT, AP tests) and ACT guidelines for documenting disabilities.  Although students may receive accommodations in the classroom and on classroom testing at the discretion of the classroom teacher, this does not guarantee accommodations on standardized tests such as those administered by the College Board and ACT.  Please see the tab titled “College Board and ACT SSD” for important information regarding the documentation guidelines of each.


ACT/College Board (CB) 
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)


Wichita Collegiate School Services for Students with Disabilities coordinator 
(all divisions):
Laura Madison, MA
771-2395
lmadison@wcsks.com

 

General Information:
Both the ACT and College Board (CB) offer services for students with disabilities.  The criteria for eligibility for receiving accommodations are unique to each.  It is important for you and your student to be familiar with both.  Remember, even if your student is receiving accommodations in the classroom and on classroom testing, she or he may not qualify for accommodations on the ACT or College Board tests.  The information below is a very brief overview.  PLEASE refer to the SSD websites below for the most complete and current information.

ACT  www.act.org/aap/disab

The ACT offers the ACT test in 2 forms—ACT (no writing) and ACT Plus Writing.  We like for our students to take the ACT Plus Writing at least once.


The www.act.org/aap/disab website provides the information that the ACT requires for consideration of receiving accommodations on the ACT test.  On this site you will find:

 

    -  Guiding Principles

    -  Procedures for Implementation

            -  Qualified diagnosticians

            -  Currency of submitted documentation

            -  Substantiation of diagnosis

    -  Recommendation for Accommodations

 

 

There are 3 types of accommodated ACT testing:

 

 

Center Testing #1
Standard time limits
Regular (10 pt.) or large type (18 pt.) test booklet
Require accommodations due to your disability (wheelchair accessible room, marking responses in test booklet, permission for diabetics to eat snacks, and a variety of accommodations for students with hearing impairments)  

 

Center Testing 
Up to 50% extended time
Testing takes place at a National Test Center

 

Special Testing
Over 50% extended time or alternate test format
Testing is school based (i.e. takes place at WCS)

 


 

COLLEGE BOARD   www.collegeboard.com/ssd/student

 

The College Board (CB) administers the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT and SAT subject tests, and AP tests.  Students who qualify for accommodations for College Board tests are given a SSD Eligibility Code which is valid for all College Board tests. 

 

The www.collegeboard.com/ssd/student website provides the information that the College Board requires for consideration of receiving accommodations on its tests.  Information includes:

 

    -  Eligibility

    -  Applying for Accommodations

    -  Important Dates

    -  Documentation

         -  Documentation Requirements

         -  Documentation Guidelines

         -  Documenting Specific Disabilities

    -  After Approval

 

 

Most students—with and without accommodations—take the SAT at National Centers. These sites often are local educational facilities. Some of the accommodations that may be provided at a National Test Center are:

 

    -  50% extended time

    -  14-point test booklet

    -  Large block answer sheet

 

 

Some students take the SAT at their school. Accommodations that may only be provided at the student's school include:

 

    -  100% extended time

    -  A reader

    -  A writer

    -  A Braille version of the test