Academic support is a significant concern for independent schools — more so today than in the past. On the surface, the trends seem worrisome: A number of schools say more students are struggling, while others report that more parents are pushing for individual support and accommodations, specifically so their children can gain extended time on standardized tests.
Winsor aims to create a learning environment in which every girl can work to her highest potential. When girls need support, they learn to ask for help—and that their teachers are there to help. Our coordinator of academic support is also there as a resource, if needed. Faculty, students, families can turn to her to help understand learning needs and to equip girls with strategies to do their best.
Academic Support Blog
Over the past 30 years, more and more independent schools have established academic support programs and learning centers to address their students' individual learning needs. Perhaps not surprisingly, as the number of students being evaluated has increased, even more families have requested academic accommodations and services for their children. For the most part, learning centers and tutors have served the individual needs of students well. But in the rush to accommodate students and families, there has been a tendency to over-pathologize students' struggles and to categorize too many under the auspices of learning centers.
Last February, I had the privilege of presenting a one-hour workshop at the NationalAssociation of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference in Boston. The topic of my presentation, Reconceptualizing Academic Support in Independent Schools: A Model for the 21st Century, is something I have been thinking about for over 20 years and practicing at Winsor School for the past seven.