In keeping with Packer’s commitment to diverse learners and to students being at the center of their own learning, the Learning Skills Department appreciates that all students learn differently and supports students in reaching their best potential academically, socially, and emotionally. Learning specialists help students develop a solid understanding of themselves as learners and encourage students to feel empowered by their individual learning styles. Through consistent work with Packer’s learning specialists, students engage in ongoing self-reflection and practical application of their skills while developing greater confidence in their abilities as they move through Packer’s academic program.
The Learning Skills program operates in all three divisions and allows a continuum of support and advocacy for students with learning differences. Learning specialists provide direct instruction of specific skills and help students develop their metacognitive abilities. Beginning in the early grades, Packer’s learning specialists meet with students to support the development of early literacy and mathematical skills. As students mature, they continue to receive direct instruction in these areas as needed along with support in establishing better time management, study habits, organizational abilities, and other essential learning skills. To foster greater competence and independence, the Learning Skills Department provides various levels of support according to individual student need. Learning specialists maintain ongoing collaborations with school psychologists, administration, teaching faculty, families and other professionals inside and outside of school to support students’ learning and emotional needs
Learning specialists in the Lower School assess and work with students to help strengthen their reading, writing and mathematic skills. Lower School learning specialists provide multisensory reading and writing instruction in small groups to students who need support in these areas. The learning specialists provide in-class maths support to strengthen foundational and conceptual skills in this area. The specialists collaborate with faculty to identify ways to differentiate instruction to reach all learners. While providing specific academic support, the learning specialists aim to bolster the social-emotional development of all learners. The goal of Lower School learning support is for children to internalize the strategies and skills they learn and to apply them consistently to their work in the classroom.
To meet a range of learning needs, the Middle School learning specialists offer learning support on the individual, small group and classroom levels. These specialists engage in ongoing partnerships with teaching faculty throughout the Middle School to help provide greater opportunities for teaching and learning. In fifth and sixth grade, Middle School learning specialists provide small group skills instruction in the areas of reading and writing. These small group classes focus on strengthening oral language, reading comprehension, written language, and organizational skills. Additionally, learning specialists provide small group math support for fifth graders to help review concepts and skills taught in math class and provide additional reinforcement of foundational math skills. The ultimate goal for students in these classes is for them to generalize and apply such skills across all content areas. Middle School Learning Specialists also meet with students individually or in small groups to support them with their unique learning needs. This support may focus on developing academic skills regarding specific content areas, and/or helping students with time management, organizational and study skills. Middle School learning specialists collaborate with teachers regularly, attend team meetings and support our students by being present in many of their content classes.
The Upper School learning specialists provide individual support to meet the unique needs of all students. The focus of such work is typically on strengthening students’ executive function skills, supporting reading and writing skills, providing math support, and reviewing content work related to specific subjects. The Upper School learning specialists also oversee Packer’s Upper School Writing Center which meets two times per cycle. All Upper School students are invited to attend the Writing Center to work on their development of writing. The Writing Center hosts monthly workshops which focus on specific areas of writing. The Upper School learning specialists collaborate with all faculty members to provide comprehensive support for students.
Accommodations for College Admissions Testing
Packer’s Upper School learning specialists assist students and families with applying for specific learning accommodations for college admissions testing (College Board testing, ACT). If you have questions about this process, please contact Dr. Blythe Grossberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.