The mission of the Parent Association Learning Support Committee is as follows:
- To provide a forum for parents to share their experiences and to learn about resources available to support their children and families.
- To destigmatize learning differences.
- To present programs that educate the parent body, faculty and administration about learning and learning differences.
- To serve as an additional information conduit between the school learning support department and parents, and between parents and the administration.
Who we are
The PA Learning Support Committee is composed of parents who have an interest in exploring issues relating to learning differences, usually because they have a child with learning differences. However, because the committee recognizes that all children have their own learning style, our programs are often relevant to the entire community. The committee’s overarching goal is to support parents so that they can better support their children as learners. As part of that goal we aim to support the work of the school’s Learning Skills Department and serve as a liaison between the department and parents.
About learning differences
According to current statistics, one in five children has a learning difference (e.g. communications issues, executive functioning weaknesses, language processing issues, ADHD). The percentage is about the same at Packer. These issues often co-exist with high intelligence. Many of our children, who receive well-intentioned reminders to “read more”, “listen carefully to directions”, “organize your belongings”, “memorize your math facts”, and “be a little quicker, please,” may really suffer from undiagnosed learning differences that need to be recognized and accepted before they can be understood and addressed. A high percentage of parents who notice their child exhibiting learning difficulties wait a year or more before acknowledging that their child has a problem, often due to a lack of understanding of the nature of the problem. Learning differences can be diagnosed in pre-school, lower school, middle school, high school, college or beyond.
Packer’s support of learning differences
Although Packer is a competitive college preparatory school it recognizes that some of its students have learning differences. To help children meet the school’s rigorous academic demands and better succeed regardless of learning style, Packer has a Learning Skills Department comprised of learning specialists, as well as school psychologists, in each division. Educating ourselves about learning differences and what Packer offers as support gives us the skillset to help our children successfully negotiate the educational environment and build a better foundation for the future.
What we do
In order to support and educate parents we sponsor two types of meetings:
Open Meetings: Approximately once a month we have an open meeting, usually in the morning, to which all parents are invited. The goal of these meetings is to give parents a place to share information, get help from other parents concerning problems their children may be facing,
suggest evening programs that parents and educators would find useful, and elicit feedback from parents regarding the communication and implementation of school policies or programs that affect children with learning differences. We give feedback to the head of the Learning Skills Department about issues that are of concern to parents and feedback to parents about what the Learning Skills Department is doing to address their concerns.
Evening Presentations: We organize evening presentations on a variety of learning-related topics for parents, faculty and the administration. Many of these programs are relevant to all children as learners, not just to those with learning differences. When appropriate, students are also welcome at our events.
Lastly, we strive to be an information conduit by notifying parents about meetings at other venues that might be of interest to them and by posting articles or book references on learning differences.
For further information or to see how you can become more involved, please contact the Learning Support Committee Co-Chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.