Students come to LSA with a wide variety of skills and knowledge gaps, so all students have an educational program that is highly structured and tailored to their strengths and challenges.
We start with your child
We become familiar with each student through observation, data collection, previous evaluations, and consultation with parents and LSA staff. This input guides our recommendations for programming (including intervention and related services) and we share it in an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) format or Student Services Plan for privately enrolled students. Only then does LSA determine the student’s program. The process of evaluation and fine-tuning continues throughout the student’s enrollment.
Small class size
Small classes – typically 3-5 students in Lower School and 4-7 in Upper School – provide time to build strong bonds and to work on specific areas of need. The whole-classroom environment gives students a chance to have a group experience where they can learn from their peers and share experiences that cement their learning in a meaningful and enduring way.
All of our educators use a language-based approach to language arts, writing, science, social studies, math, and art. Every year both Lower and Upper Schools have an overarching theme that provides the context for the integrated curriculum.
Our content-area classes (science and social studies) are key to the ongoing (often school wide) theme, which binds the curriculum and instruction into a meaningful whole. As much as possible we try to use hands-on learning to help students make connections between subject areas; for example, many art projects use creativity and practical math or science skills.
Adventures in learning
Field study activities offer students hands-on learning experiences tied to the curriculum. Whether we’re taking water samples at the seashore, or attending a play or concert, we integrate off-campus experiential learning with in-class study
Adventurelore gives students a chance to achieve a myriad of goals, take on new challenges, and experience success.
Labs offer one-on-one and/or very small group instruction on specific language or math skills. They are 30-, 60-, or 90-minutes long and are scheduled into a student’s program based on his or her most recent IEP.
The Language Lab offers direct instruction that is tailored to each student’s level of development. We use proven, scientifically based reading and language approaches, including Orton-Gillingham programs, Lindamood-Bell programs, and many others.
In the Mathematics Lab, students participate in the same language-based instruction approach that is woven throughout all academics at LSA. For our population the focus on linguistics is critical because you can’t give the correct answer if you don’t understand the question. While we focus on math procedures, we also develop the concept behind each procedure, as well as the language that accompanies the math idea.
Many students also require individualized speech and language services. This therapy strengthens core areas of deficits that are keeping students from fully succeeding in a less structured format. Our classroom educators collaborate with speech and language therapists so that the student benefits from a fully integrated program.
Additional services, including Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Counseling, are also be available, according to the student’s IEP. When necessary, we will bring in consultants to serve specific student needs.
Individual attention for each student doesn’t just happen in the classroom or therapy session, but systematically throughout the school. Our educators, therapists, and counselors work together to understand each child and what we need to do to help him or her progress.
Every week, the Upper and Lower Schools each have a “cross-over meeting,” where a team of teachers, therapists, counselors, and school director meet to discuss several students, to review what’s working and what modifications need to be made. Other teaching teams meet separately to share resources and solutions with one another. They also discuss any students they may have in common to ensure they are supporting the student consistently and effectively.
Supporting the students
When students first attend LSA, they may feel anxious about school, so our first order of business is to make sure they feel secure socially and emotionally. Once they feel supported by peers and adults – through instruction they understand and friendships they make – their anxieties dissipate.
Teachers and staff always make sure that students understand the expectations for behavior. To help them meet those expectations, we teach them tools and strategies, such as self-reflection, self-regulation, and learning to “take charge,” a positive, scripted behavioral system.
If the student requires more behavioral support, he or she talks with our Intervention Coordinator, who helps get to the root of the problem and shepherd the student back to a positive frame of mind. Students who regularly need help processing ongoing emotional issues may see our school counselor individually.
Culture of respect
Among our staff, the professional respect we have for one another is obvious. In the classroom, the respect that teachers show the students becomes behavior that the students model with each other. When students feel honored and respected, they truly believe that this is their school, and this is where they belong.