Learning Skills

Department Head: Kristy RAska

Teachers

  • Phyllis Arnold
  • Ellen Cuthrell
  • Jackie Massina
  • Tim Pure
  • Kristy Raska

Curriculum

 

The Learning Skills Program is limited to 29 students with learning differences. A one-on-one tutorial replaces the students' English class (counting for their six-credits of English each year). Students spend at least one 80-minute period per day in the Learning Skills building. Half of that period is for the study of English and the other forty minutes are for study time with their LS teacher. Although students in this program receive a waiver of the foreign language requirement, they otherwise take the same college preparatory classes everyone else takes in mathematics, science, history, and the arts. This program requires an additional fee.

 

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DIFFERENCES

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 that are and are not available.

An important strength of Solebury’s Learning Skills Program (LSP) is that it exists within a collegepreparatory school. It is assumed that students have chosen Solebury’s LSP program because it is a college-preparatory program, mainstream program. 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.

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 of mutual respect
  • 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, 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 all accommodations need to be arranged in advance.