A JK-12 pluralistic school that engages students in an exemplary and inspiring general and Jewish education.

Principal's Perspective (February) - Dr. Eliana Lipsky

Dr. Eliana Lipsky

The Marriage between Learning Specialists and School Counselors

In the Middle School we approach supporting our students through a holistic lens.  One way in which we do this is through the strong partnership we have created between our Educational Supports Services (ESS) Learning Specialists and our School Counselors. Each week, the two teams meet together with Middle School administrators to review how students are doing, evaluate student growth over time, identify potential red flags, look for overarching patterns, and determine clear action items that we believe will help contribute to a student’s success.

Each Learning Specialist and School Counselor dyad meets weekly to make certain that all of their shared ESS students receive the supports they require. Together the team creates, assesses, and reassesses every ESS student's action plan. Each dyad works tirelessly with teachers to help every ESS student find success in their different classes. Because our faculty care so deeply about  the academic and social-emotional success of our students, the team often goes above and beyond what is found in a student's ESS plan. Crucial to the team's success is partnering with parents. As parents, you offer a broader perspective from the home that no one else can. It is common, and a positive sign, to hear from a parent that their child, who seems to have everything under control while at school, is falling apart at home. This is why each action plan centers around partnering with parents.All of these partnerships provide us immeasurable opportunities to understand comprehensively how each student is doing academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our Learning Specialists predominantly focus on their students within the ESS program, while lending incredible insight and expertise to the School Counselors when any middle school student is struggling to stay on top of their work. Likewise, our School Counselors offer a broader understanding of some of the social and/or emotional considerations that might be influencing a child’s academic progress. We are extremely proud of our ESS and School Counseling teams and the amazing capacity they have for going above and beyond to support every child.

As always, we are always looking for ways to enhance what we do in the Middle School. We recently took the next step to increase our holistic lens by partnering with the Lower School ESS and Guidance Counseling teams. We visited our Lower School colleagues to learn more about what supports our students receive during their time in the Lower School. The level of social-emotional, sensory, and organizational supports that our Lower School students receive is impressive. Working closely with our colleagues afforded us the opportunity to exchange ideas and think more deeply about our own practices at the Middle School. This was an important step for us as we continue to work toward creating a smooth transition for our students from Lower School to Middle School. We look forward to continuing to strengthen all of our partnerships and to helping each and every child find success in middle school.