What do a school psychologist from New York, a boy named Ken from the Dominican Republic, a girl named Jazmin, and a boy named Jared all have in common? During the summer of 2018, they all found themselves at Fundación Niños de María in Quito, Ecuador.
Fundación Niños de María is a private Catholic school in Ecuador. Students who attend come from public schools where they used to experience academic failure and where the ratio was often one teacher to 45 students. Niños provided a safe and often year-round educational experience for some of Quito’s most vulnerable students. For a student like Ken, whose family had recently relocated from the Dominican Republic, much about Niños, and Ecuador in general, was new. Jazmin had gone unnoticed at her last school and was quite shy, and Jared’s teacher shared that, while domestic violence was a part of his home life, he was usually upbeat and talkative.
Posted in: Global Engagement, Highlights
Students at Allendale Columbia School have a strong team of Student Support Services professionals ready and willing to work with students from Nursery to Grade 12. The team members discussed their various roles at the Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) Coffee Connection on November 14th.
Starmeshia Jones, School Psychologist and Director of Support Services
As the School Psychologist and Director of Support Services, I have the privilege of working with students from Nursery through Upper School. I partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to foster a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment. I consult and collaborate with teachers, meet with parents, and provide short-term or crisis counseling to students. Additionally, as needed, I conduct classroom observations and emotional and behavioral screenings. I am a member of the Student Success Team (SST) in Lower School and similar support teams in Middle and Upper School. Working closely with both the Lower School Reading Advocate and Middle/Upper School Learning Advocate and the Pittsford Central School District, I strive to be a resource for information related to special education. I promote problem-solving, anger-management, and conflict resolution, and I reinforce positive coping skills and resilience. I make referrals to, help coordinate services with, and serve as a liaison for individual community-based providers.
Carrie Shone, Speech-Language Therapist
As the Speech-Language Therapist, I provide observations, screenings, and services to children in grades Nursery through 5. I’m also available for consultation in Middle and Upper Schools (Grades 6-12). As a member of the Student Success Team (SST), I support our students in a variety of ways. Screenings are carried out for Kindergarten students, new students, and students referred to the SST. Services may be provided individually or in small groups. The areas I address include articulation, language, auditory processing, dysfluency, voice, pragmatics, and social communication. The student’s teacher and I determine together the best times for services to be provided, and changes are made as needed. Services are provided in the classroom, the Speech room, or a combination of the two. The least restrictive environment is taken into account as plans are made.
Kristen McKenzie, Math Learning Advocate, Lower School
As the Math Advocate for Lower School, my job is to support teachers and students with math related learning. I also serve as a member of the Student Support Team in the Lower School and of the school’s Academic Leadership Team. My first priority is to ensure that teachers have the support that they need in order to provide the best math education for each and every student in the classroom. I meet with grade-level teams regularly to discuss plans for the daily differentiated learning opportunities that are being provided to students in the classroom. In addition, we discuss student needs at all levels. If a child’s individual needs are not being met with daily classroom math instruction, the teachers communicate with the Student Success Team. SST members discuss an action plan that could include my direct support for a student in and/or out of the classroom. If additional support is recommended for enrichment opportunities or reinforcement of concepts, parents are contacted and a schedule is determined with the classroom teachers. Finally, I help evaluate the Lower School’s mathematics curriculum and Exit Learning Objectives (ELOs) to ensure that we are providing a well-aligned vertical curriculum that will provide students with the necessary tools for their future.
Amanda Gianniny, Reading Advocate, Lower School
I support teachers and students with reading and writing instruction and serve on the Student Support Team and the school’s Academic Leadership Team. First and foremost, I work to ensure that teachers have the support and resources they need to provide differentiated instruction in the classroom. I regularly discuss plans and student needs with grade-level teams at all levels. If a child’s individual needs are not being met with daily classroom literacy instruction, the teachers communicate with the Student Success Team, who then discuss an action plan, which may include my supporting a student directly, in or out of the classroom. Parents are contacted and a schedule is determined with the classroom teachers if this type of additional support for reinforcement or enrichment are recommended. I am also involved in evaluating the Lower School’s reading and writing curriculum and Exit Learning Objectives to make sure that our vertical curriculum is well-aligned vertical curriculum and provides students with the necessary tools for their future. Additionally, I serve as the Special Education Case Manager for the Lower School. If a child receives special education services or is being evaluated for possible services, I work with Pittsford, our home district, to make sure those services and provided.
Seth Hopkins, Learning Advocate, Middle and Upper Schools
As the Learning Advocate at the Middle and Upper Schools, my job is to support each AC student in accessing as much of the program and as many of the learning opportunities as is possible and appropriate for that student. I do this by helping to design, create, and manage systematic supports, but I also individual and individualized supports. In addition to working with and for students directly, I also collaborate with AC teachers, parents, and staff in their efforts to support our kids. I work regularly with students at the group and individual level and have worked hard to make myself, and the advocate position, an important member of the entire AC community. I do this because every student, regardless of the level of academic maturity, effort, talent, or acumen, will struggle at some point during their time at AC, and we want them to know that help is only a far as the nearest adult.
In addition to the AC staff listed above, every faculty member and administrator at Allendale Columbia is prepared to advocate for each child’s learning and knows when to suggest additional resources. AC receives additional services as needed from the Pittsford School District.
Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, PACK, The Birches, US Birches