Learning Style Accomodations
Over the years, students with learning differences have often been honor students, outstanding artists, star athletes, and student leaders at Solebury School. We value these students and make reasonable accommodations to help them achieve in a challenging academic community. What follows is a summary of the kinds of help which are and are not available.
An important strength of Solebury's Learning Skills Program (LSP) is that it exists within a college-preparatory school. It is assumed that students in the Learning Skills Program have chosen to be part of it because it exists in a college-preparatory program and is a mainstream program. The student's English course is replaced by a one-on-one tutorial titled "Learning Skills English," but (with the exception of the foreign language requirement) LSP students take the same college-preparatory courses other students take. Their diploma is a regular Solebury diploma, not a special-program diploma.
LSP students take pride in knowing that they have met the same standards other students meet. Because LSP students, as well as a number of other students at Solebury, have learning differences, Solebury will make whatever reasonable and appropriate accommodations it can to help students meet those standards. Accommodation, however, does not mean changing the standards themselves. LSP students, and other students with learning differences, should expect to read the same texts, attend the same classes (except as noted above), complete the same projects, write the same papers, and take the same tests as their classmates without learning differences.
Because Solebury is a small independent school with an emphasis on creativity, innovation, and individuality, some features are commonly available to all students, whether or not they have learning differences. These include:
- Small class size
- A safe learning environment
- Regularly scheduled extra-help conferences
- Opportunities for peer tutoring or study groups
- Use of computers for word-processing or other tasks
- Creative, innovative teaching.
Solebury teachers have a great deal of freedom in designing their courses and establishing classroom policies. Some teachers, for example, routinely allow extra time for tests; others only by special arrangement. Some teachers often give open-book tests; others never do. Although many non-LSP teachers are experienced at tailoring lessons to individual learning styles, it is safest to assume that not all non-LSP teachers have this expertise. Therefore, when accommodations are needed, the Learning Skills teacher is the primary advocate on campus. The LS teacher will make arrangements with the student's other teachers, who are not specially trained in teaching students with learning differences, so that the student has the maximum chance of acquiring the skills and knowledge taught in those classes.
Accommodations will vary on a case-by-case basis, and students should assume that all accommodations need to be arranged in advance. Although LS teachers act as advocates, a key goal of the LSP is to teach students to be advocates for themselves, as they will need to be in college. Other students with diagnosed learning differences, or their parents, may request that the Director of Studies or the Director of the LSP serve as the student's advocate.