Every child is different in terms of their strengths and needs, but there are some signs that may alert educators for requesting a psycho-educational assessment. Psycho-educational testing is provided by Learning Center psychologists and intends to give educators a better understanding of the students strengths and needs. Some of the situations that may lead to a psycho-educational evaluation being recommended by educators are:
1. Child consistently studies hard but grades do not reflect effort
2. Child constantly does not want to come to school
3. Very poor performance in one or two core subjects
4. Systemically procrastinating homework and poor organization/planning skills (executive functions)
5. Difficulty to pay attention and focus (executive functions)
6. Behavioral or emotional problems noticed at home, or reported by the student at school
When a child has difficulties that require educational and/or therapeutic interventions, a good assessment is of great value in identifying strengths, needs, interventions, and planning an effective special education program.
The evaluation is conducted during school hours and the results are shared with teachers, parents and the student. Assessment provides an understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. A correct identification of needs plays a key role in decisions related to special services placement, if needed. Outside resources may also be recommended such as further assessments or treatments by psychiatrists, neurologists, family counseling etc.
The Spanish Support Services (SSS) began in September, 2004 in the Learning Center, and services children in the Primary, Elementary, Middle and High school. In this program, students who are native Spanish speakers but are having difficulties in reading and writing in their mother tongue are given extra support. Once the child decodes in his or her own language, it is easier to make the transition into a second language.
Students who present learning difficulties or are below the grade level expectations in reading and writing in Spanish may also benefit from Spanish Support. These students will receive individual SSS support on a pull-out-basis or inside the classroom depending on their individual situations.
Our ESL program provides support to those students whose proficiency in English is lower than CNG’s expectations. Students receive support with their English language development inside the classroom or on a pull-out session depending on their individual needs. The ESL Specialist designs and executes an Individualized Educational program that specifies accommodations and teaching strategies that support second language development. The goal of the ESL program is to ensure the student’s achievement within CNG’s English-centered curriculum.
The Fast ForWord program is a computer-software-based learning acceleration program based on over 30 years of neuroscience research. The program develops a wide range of skills including phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, working memory, syntax, and grammar. English Language learners benefit from the Fast ForWord program, which builds strong cognitive academic language and literacy skills, including the essential skill of reading for meaning.
Participants work on the Fast ForWord program 5 days a week for approximately 8 - 12 weeks. In studies, students have experienced gains in reading skills equivalent to 1 - 2 years.
Read to Succeed is a targeted, small-group reading intervention with a reading specialist. Group instruction focuses on the students’ instructional level to provide them with the best reading support for their needs. Through mini lessons and guided reading experiences students work on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. The program also emphasizes on writing skills such as the correct usage of capital letters, punctuation, and spelling. Practice for writing a correct paragraph (main idea and at least three supporting details) is essential.
Read to Succeed is designed to coexist with Core Instruction and last at least 15 weeks with small-group support 2 to 3 times per week.
The Learning Lab program provides students in Middle School and High School with time to work with Learning Center Specialists to improve upon executive function skills such as organization, following directions, planning, strategizing, paying attention, and remembering details, as well as managing time and space in a school environment. Students also have the opportunity to have concepts pre-taught and re-taught to support their success in all curriculum classes.
The Inclusion Program is designed to provide students who have specific needs with the necessary support to benefit from an education in the least restrictive environment possible. Students who receive support from the Inclusion Program work with an Inclusion Teacher who offers the necessary curriculum accommodations and modifications as well as any social-emotional support while fostering student’s independence. Inclusion teachers work with the student within the general education classroom to help scaffold skills while avoiding any isolation.
Students who receive Inclusion Program support are students who have an identified disability that adversely affects their educational performance and consequently are eligible to receive special education. In addition, students who have academic and/or regulation needs which have been identified by a Student Study Team (SST) and have not shown significant improvements after implementing the strategies recommended by the SST may also be eligible to receive support from the Inclusion Program.
Other students who might be eligible to receive this type of Learning Center support are those who have been referred to the program after going through a complete psycho-educational evaluation or admissions process where they have been identified to be “at risk” in two or more of the following areas:
- social-emotional regulation
- executive skills/independence
- medical fragility
Our Speech and Language Support program offers students intervention in the areas of articulation and language development, as well as auditory and cognitive processing. This service is provided by specialists with a Speech and Language Therapy certification.
Our Occupational Support program is guided by certified Occupational Therapists and focuses on improving sensory processing and developing muscular strength. Students practice exercises that focus on the two previously mentioned areas and also aid the development of coordination and balance. Students also learn visual-motor abilities that promote visual perception and handwriting.
The Handwriting Without Tears program draws from years of innovation and research to provide developmentally appropriate, multisensory tools and strategies for the classroom. Our program is based on developing abilities that will prepare students for the process of learning to write. Students improve their motor planning, memory, and language, as well as their fine & gross motor skills through a wide array of fun-based methods. Textures, songs, and movements are integrated to teach concepts such as directions, pencil grip, corporal awareness, vocabulary, coloring, and appropriate letter/number formation. The goal of the program is to ensure the creation of habits which will turn out to be positive and useful in the reading and writing acquisition process.
The Parent Cooperative provides an opportunity for the parents of students receiving Learning Center Support to come together. Meetings centered on learning about specific topics like child development, learning disabilities, and strategies for home are lead by a Learning Center Specialist in order to include parents into our caring community and give them an opportunity to participate actively in their child’s process as well as support one another.