Educational Support Services
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School is committed to meeting the needs of students with mild to moderate learning differences. Providing support services to our students with diverse academic needs and learning styles is a fundamental part of the CESJDS educational program. We have a staff of learning specialists who work closely with classroom teachers, guidance counselors and parents to identify and support students with their academic work.
In the Lower School, our learning specialists provide push-in support to students in the classroom. Our staff of learning specialists work closely with the classroom teachers in a co-teaching model and provide targeted strategy instruction to students several times throughout the week. Learning specialists meet weekly with classroom teachers to plan lessons together and to discuss student accommodations. When educationally appropriate, “pull out” instruction is also provided by our learning specialists.
The learning specialists focus their work with students on the following areas:
- Remediation in reading instruction including decoding, fluency and comprehension using research-based, structured multi-sensory instruction;
- Strategy instruction in written language skills;
- Strategy instruction in organizational and study skills.
The learning specialists develop Education Plans for each student which includes yearly individualized goals. Accommodation Plans are also written for many of our students. These guide teachers to provide a classroom environment with student supports which can include accommodations in the area of instruction, organization, focus/attention, behavior management, assessment and assistive technology.
In addition to our commitment to providing support services to our students and classroom accommodations, we also provide supported hebrew classes in Grades 3-5. These classes are smaller in size and the instruction is focused on core skills in these subject areas. In addition, multisensory teaching and strategy-based instruction are an integral part of these classes.
We believe that parents are an integral part of the team to help define student needs and supports and we are committed to ongoing collaboration and communication with parents throughout the school year. Educational Management Team meetings are held regularly throughout the year with parents, teachers, the learning specialist, guidance counselor and any outside professionals that are part of the student’s team. The purpose of these meetings is to set student goals, assess progress and discuss suggested interventions.
Many of our students receive psycho-educational testing while they are in the Lower School. This valuable information plays a key role in guiding the work that we do with our students. Parents go through the process of psycho-educational testing privately or through the public school system. However, testing is not required for students to receive Educational Support Services in the Lower School.
Providing support services to our students with diverse academic needs and learning styles is a fundamental part of the CESJDS educational program. Educational Support Services employs learning specialists to work with classroom teachers and guidance counselors to identify and assist students who are in need of additional support.
In the Upper School, learning specialists help students sharpen critical skills in writing and reading comprehension and develop effective study habits such as time management and organization. A written education plan for each student includes a summary of strengths and challenges as well as a list of necessary classroom accommodations. We develop a strong partnership with parents to share knowledge and strategies, and work in tandem to implement the proper intervention for each student.
Accommodations can be made to help students focus on learning and achieve their full potential, including:
extended time on tests
provision of class notes
note taking on personal laptops
using a computer to complete tests
utilizing Learning Ally for audio books and text books
providing access to speech to text software
Structured Study Hall is a required period of the day for students who receive Educational Support Services. Our goal is to work closely with students to engender independent learning and academic self-confidence. Mini-lessons are offered in note taking, textbook reading, and test preparation. Students who receive the accommodation of extended time testing complete their exams in a quiet room. In addition, students have the option of working with private tutors paid for by parents.
Skills English classes are offered in grades 6, 7 and 8 to create a firm foundation in writing and literature in preparation for high school English. Grade-level curriculum is followed with an emphasis on essential skills such as composition and close textual analysis. Students in Structured Skills English must be enrolled concurrently in a Structured Study Hall.
In order to be eligible for ESS at the Upper School, students must have a psychological and educational evaluation which includes cognitive and achievement testing. CESJDS can then ascertain the specific educational supports and accommodations warranted by the student's individual learning needs. Testing can be done privately or through Montgomery County Public Schools.
College Board Accommodations
Sue Zuckerman will assist students and parents with the College Board and ACT process to request accommodations. Students applying for accommodations on these exams must have documentation on file that meets their respective guidelines. Students must be using the requested accommodations on school based tests for at least four months prior to submitting the application to the College Board or ACT. Please contact Sue prior to your child taking their first SAT or ACT so that she can begin the process in a timely fashion.