Celebrating diverse learning styles and empowering students to become confident, independent learners
The Educational Resource Program (ERP) assists students in grades junior kindergarten through 12 by providing individualized learning support, comprehensive academic resources, and extensive guidance for students, parents, and faculty. The focus is on helping students successfully navigate Country Day's curricular expectations and maximize academic potential.
Current research involving the brain and learning confirms that children learn in many different ways. Country Day's Educational Resource Program (ERP) assists students in all grades and divisions with individualized learning needs and support. We provide differentiated learning support, comprehensive academic resources, and extensive guidance for students, parents, and faculty. The focus is on helping students successfully navigate Country Day's curricular expectations and maximize academic potential.
In Lower School, our ERP team and teachers value current research and understand that differentiating instruction for students is essential in helping all students reach their potential. Our team serves as a resource for parents and teachers to support students through early intervention in a child's learning.
Our ERP team of directors, tutors, and reading specialist are knowledgeable professionals with degrees in special education, learning disabilities, and/or specific training in literacy, math, and language skills. In addition, our tutors have current knowledge about our curriculum and grade level expectations which enhances their ability to support our students.
In addition, speech-language screenings and therapy are provided for individual students who are recommended for these services through our partnership with Terrific Talkers. Occupational Therapy screenings and services are provided through Southern Piedmont Pediatric Therapy Services. Both Speech-Language and Occupational Therapists contract with Country Day and set their own fees and communicate with parents directly.
As students continue to grow as learners in the Middle School, our team collaborates with teachers, advisors, and parents to support students who are experiencing general academic difficulties because of challenges with work organization, time management, reading /writing efficiency, problem-solving strategies, attention issues, and/or learning differences. Tutors work with students to help them recognize and utilize their strengths as they learn and apply strategies to become more independent learners. Tutors use their expertise and curricular knowledge as they incorporate individualized learning skills and strategies into subject-specific instruction and reinforcement. Tutor-student relationships are designed to help bolster self-advocacy, self-esteem, and confidence as students are encouraged to be engaged and active learners.
In the Upper School, our tutors assist students who need additional support and review to master content area information. Time management, organizational, and study skills strategies are also woven into content area work. Our team continues to encourage students to be engaged, independent learners and self-advocates as they mature. The ERP provides assistance with SAT and ACT documentation regarding requests for accommodations.
Why does my child need tutoring?
- Too many students struggle in school because of the ways their brains work. These differences may create difficulty managing time, writing, speaking, and remembering.
- Some students need more repetition or practice with concepts before they obtain mastery. The one-on-one environment allows for additional repetition.
- Some students benefit from additional support with making connections between concepts and other relevant topics, and/or breaking down ideas and concepts into more manageable ideas.
- Some students struggle with specific subject areas (i.e. math, science, foreign language) and need extra, subject-specific support.
- Students are encouraged or required to attend extra help offered by classroom teachers prior to enrolling in tutoring, but if additional support is needed tutoring can be helpful.
Who provides the support and what is the cost?
- Country Day employs hourly tutors who provide individual tutoring sessions before, during, or after the school day. All of our tutors are experienced and knowledgeable about content, skills, and curricular expectations.
- There is an additional cost of $60.00 per tutoring session and parents are billed through their child’s student account by the Business Office.
Who receives tutoring?
- Students are referred by their classroom teacher(s), advisor, or divisional ERP Director, and parent and self-referrals are permitted as well.
How often and when do students go to tutoring?
- Recommendations for the number of tutoring sessions per week is based on the following: 1) areas of struggle, 2) availability in student and tutor schedules, 3) and preference of student/parents.
- If a student is enrolled in tutoring at the end of the school year, teachers, advisors, and tutors will make recommendations about the number of sessions they deem appropriate for fall and/or summer tutoring.
- Students can enroll in tutoring throughout the school year if needed and can discontinue tutoring through discharge by tutor and teachers upon parent request. All tutoring requests and scheduling are handled by the divisional ERP Directors.
- While every effort is made to schedule students for tutoring based upon the time that best fits their individual needs and preferences, scheduling challenges exist due to the many parameters that effect scheduling (e.g. classroom schedules, tutor and student availability, impact to instruction, etc.). Grade level guidelines for when students are scheduled for tutoring follow:
Lower School—The LS ERP Director and classroom teacher determine the best time to schedule tutoring based upon the individual needs of the students.
Middle School—Tutoring is typically scheduled during a combination of "free" periods. When feasible, tutoring is scheduled during study halls and DEAR periods, however, it may be necessary to schedule tutoring during lunch/recess and/or drama as well.
Upper School—In the Upper School, our tutors assist students who need additional support and review to master content area information. Time management, organizational, and study skills strategies are also woven into content area work. Our team continues to encourage students to be engaged, independent learners and self-advocates as they mature. The ERP provides assistance with SAT and ACT documentation regarding requests for accommodations.
What is ERP testing?
- When students experience academic difficulties, the task of parents, teachers, and the ERP team is to identify strengths and weaknesses to create a plan to provide optimal support for each student.
- Classroom teachers share information and collaborate with the ERP about areas of difficulty that they observe in the classroom to determine if additional academic testing is recommended.
- Often times, in an effort to gain further information about students’ academic skills, The Woodcock-Johnson, Tests of Achievement (WJACH) is administered at Country Day at no cost to parents. This test provides standardized norms for the general population based on the student’s age.
- The results of the WJACH testing is shared with parents and teachers by the ERP Director at the appropriate division. The results are used to help determine if the child performs in the same way in the classroom as they do in the one to one testing environment, and whether or not they have consistency and/or variability in performance across academic areas.
- After discussing the results, “next step” recommendations are made (e.g. tutoring, watch and monitor, or for further testing with an educational psychologist or specialist). The sole purpose and use of the testing information is to help determine the best way to help a student find success in the classroom, and in their acquisition of grade level skills.
- Recommendations are individualized, so in some cases, a referral for an ed-psych is made, without WJACH testing being completed first.
What is Psychoeducational testing?
- When students experience ongoing struggles with grade level skill acquisition and mastery, and support has been provided by teachers, parents, and/or a tutor, it is important to discern where and why a breakdown in learning is occurring. A referral is then made to an expert for additional assessment.
- A psychoeducational assessment (ed-psych) involves a variety of tests that are designed to assess cognitive, processing, and academic abilities.
- The results of the testing provide a detailed learning profile for your child and their areas of strength and struggle. Further, if a student’s profile warrants a specific diagnosis (i.e. ADHD, Learning Disabilities, etc.), helpful recommendations and accommodations for classroom support, interventions, and resources are provided.
- Even when support has been provided by teachers, tutors, and parents, some students continue to experience academic struggles. In these cases it is important to determine why the academic challenges persist.
How do I obtain this testing?
- The ERP has a list of professionals, who are not Country Day employees, to whom we refer for additional educational testing. All of the professionals have been included based on the following: professionalism, rapport with students, ability to interpret the information and explain it to parents (and students when requested by parents), and their skill at writing a concise and thorough assessment report. It is important that these professionals are able to determine and prioritize each students’ individual needs, understand our curriculum demands, and provide in-depth written documentation regarding testing results. Please view the preferred psychoeducational referral list.
- The ERP Directors will recommend the professional(s) they determine is the best fit for your child and family. Parents are responsible for contacting the psychologist of their choosing.
- It is recommended that parents schedule an appointment for testing as soon as possible as many psychologists book out several months in advance.
- We suggest that parents schedule test sessions during the time of day that is best for their child. Many students schedule testing during the morning and then arrive at school following the testing session; this testing is an excused absence.
- Most of the psychologists test students during three separate visits, each of 2 hours in length. Please check with the professional you choose as number of testing sessions and duration may vary.
What should I tell my child about the testing?
- Reassure your child that the reason for testing is to understand how to help them be as successful as possible in school, not that something “wrong” with them. For younger children, we suggest that you mention testing to them the day before it is scheduled in order to reduce possible anxiety.
What is the cost for this testing?
- Please contact individual psychologists for up to date pricing information as costs vary greatly, as does the way psychologists set up their testing sessions. These differences make it difficult to make direct comparisons regarding cost of testing.
What happens after the testing is completed?
- Once you receive the feedback from the testing professional, you will be asked to share a copy of the assessment with the ERP.
- The findings from the testing are helpful for classroom teachers, tutor and parents in understanding learning profiles with strengths and weaknesses identified.
- The assessment report will be summarized with diagnoses, strengths and weaknesses, accommodations and other pertinent recommendations made by the psychologist. All of the information comes directly from the assessment.
- Scores and IQs are not shared in the summary.
- The ERP summary and copy of the full report are housed in the ERP and are never a part of the CCDS cumulative file.
- The information from your child’s testing is considered confidential and is stored in a locked file cabinet. The summary serves as the Confidential Formal Written Plan and is used when communicating with College Board, ACT, public schools and some other outside professionals, upon your request. Teachers, advisors, and tutors will have access to the information only for the students they teach, advise, or tutor. Division Heads and other pertinent administrators will have access to this information as needed.
- Updated testing is required every four years to keep assessment results and accommodations current with some exceptions. For further details regarding updated testing, read the Psychoeducational Evaluation Report Policy.
What are accommodations and can my student use them?
- Accommodations are strategies used to bypass weak academic skills or neurodevelopmental functions (i.e. attention, memory, language, etc.). Click here for a list of Country Day approved accomodations.
- Accommodations do not provide a crutch or advantage for students; rather they even the playing field. For example, if a child needs glasses it is not considered a crutch since it allows the student to see things in the same way as other students; the glasses help bypass their weak vision.
- Accommodations do not lessen curricular expectations. In fact, many accommodations are considered by educators “best practice” and benefit all students (e.g. repeat directions, use technology for note-taking, assignments, and tests, use a cover page, etc.).
- Accommodations are provided to allow students to participate in typical learning activities while going around their weaknesses. For example, for struggling readers, having an audiobook version of a textbook allows a child to access the SAME content as other students.
- As a student matriculates, the expectations for a student and their role in their own learning increases. Our goal is for students to be able to work as independently as possible while understanding the need and purpose for accommodations.
NOTE: Students with a current psychoeducational evaluation on file at Country Day, are eligible to use accommodations recommended in the assessment if the accommodations they are seeking are on the approved list of Country Day accommodations and have a positive impact on the student's performance.
What is the difference between an accommodations and modifications?
- Modification means a change in what is being taught to or expected from a student. Lessening curricular expectations in any way is considered a modification.
- The only modification of curriculum provided at Country Day is for foreign language exempt students. Exemptions must be recommended and supported by testing. In order for a student to utilize a recommended foreign language exemption, parents are required to discuss the impact and options of the exemption use and complete the foreign language exemption form which requires review from the foreign language department head, ERP Director and the Division Head or Director of Studies.
- What is most important to know about modifications and accommodations is that both intended to help a child learn.
1. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is described as an on-going pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that gets in the way of daily life or typical development. It is characterized by symptoms that include poor concentration, an inability to focus on tasks, difficulty in paying attention, and impulsivity. Individuals with ADHD may also have difficulties with maintaining attention, executive functioning, and working memory. Following are presentations of ADHD:
• Combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive
For more information, visit ADHD Basics.
2. Executive Function
The ability to organize cognitive processes. This includes the ability to plan ahead, prioritize, stop and start activities, shift from one activity to another activity, and to monitor one's own behavior. For more information, visit Executive Function Fact Sheet.
3. Specific Learning Disorder/Learning Disability (LD)
Specific learning disorder is a single, overall diagnosis, incorporating deficits that impact academic achievement. Rather than limiting learning disorders to diagnoses particular to reading, mathematics and written expression, the criteria describe shortcomings in general academic skills. Because learning deficits in the areas of reading, written expression, and mathematics commonly occur together, coded specifiers for the deficit types in each area are included (from Highlights of Changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5).
These specifiers include impairment in:
- Reading (word reading accuracy, reading rate or fluency, reading comprehension)
Dyslexia is an alternative term used to refer to a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities. It is also important to specify any additional difficulties that are present, such as difficulties with reading comprehension or math reasoning. For more information, visit Dyslexia Basics.
- Written expression (spelling accuracy, grammar and punctuation accuracy, clarity or organization of written expression)
Dysgraphia refers to problems with the written word, which is affected by difficulty with fine-motor skills, inspite of having normal intelligence and ability. Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities and can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Because writing requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills, saying a student has dysgraphia is not sufficient. A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment, as well as additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer. (Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities). For more information, visit What is Dysgraphia?
- Mathematics (number sense, memorization of arithmetic facts, accurate or fluent calculation, accurate math reasoning)
Dyscalculia is an alternative term used to refer to a pattern of difficulties characterized by problems processing numerical information, learning arithmetic facts, and performing accurate or fluent calculations. If dyscalculia is used to specify this particular pattern of mathematic difficulties, it is important also to specify any additional difficulties that are present, such as difficulties with math reasoning or word reasoning accuracy. For more information, visit Dyscalculia.
4. Communication Disorders
The DSM-5 communication disorders diagnosis includes language disorder (which combines DSM-IV expressive and mixed receptive-expressive language disorders), speech sound disorder (a new name for phonological disorder), and childhood-onset fluency disorder (a new name for stuttering). Also included is social (pragmatic) communication disorder, a new condition for persistent difficulties in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication. Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder is diagnosed when a child has problems expressing him-or herself using spoken language, and also has problems understanding what people say to him or her.
5. Processing Speed
Processing speed refers to one’s ability to quickly and correctly scan, sequence, or discriminate simple visual information.
6. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
APD is the inability to accurately process and interpret sound information. Students with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words. For more information, visit Auditory Processing Disorder in Children.
7. Working Memory
Working memory is the ability to store and manage information in one's mind for a short period of time.For example, in one test of working memory a person listens to random numbers and then repeats them. The average adult can hold 7 numbers in their working memory. Working memory is sometimes called Short-term memory.
8. Short-term Memory (and its connection to working memory)
Short-term memory and working memory involve encoding, maintaining, and manipulating information that is held in immediate awareness (events that occurred in the last minute or so). This information fades quickly unless an individual activates other cognitive resources (i.e., through executive functions) to maintain the information in immediate awareness. People vary in their short term and working memory capacity (how many things they can maintain in awareness at once) and in their use of attentional control (through executive functions) to hold and manipulate information without losing it. Adequate short-term and working memory capacity and control are important for listening and reading comprehension, planning, comparing and contrasting, performing multi-step tasks, and integrating and developing ideas.
Accommodations for students with learning disabilities are techniques and materials that allow individuals with learning disabilities to complete school or work tasks with greater ease and effectiveness. Examples include spellcheckers, tape recorders, and extended time for completing assignments. For more information, visit Accommodations & Modifications.
These terms and definitions were collected from the following sources: Dr. Jean Lokerson, ERIC Digest; Southwest Educational Laboratory (SEDL); Dr. Linda Wilmshurst and Dr. Alan Brue, A Parent's Guide to Special Education, American Management Association, 2005; The Partnership for Reading; Learning Disabilities Council; Dr. Don Deshler, University of Kansas,LDonline, ASHA, and Hannah Harrison.