Discerning Differences: The 5 W’s of Learning Support at Private Schools

When parents contact our office to inquire about our private school planning, the most important point emphasized to parents is the need to understand their child’s learning profile. This is true for kids with or without learning differences. It is from this baseline understanding that we can then draw parallels to finding their “best fit” schools. For students with learning disabilities, this extends further to understanding what the most appropriate learning support will be at those schools.

Depending on the level of support a student is offered, the differences in learning support between private schools can be considerable. Understanding the support available at private schools and the implications for the transition from public school to private school is critical for preparing your child for success.

It takes time to properly evaluate a private school, not to mention the resources you are expending. It’s a significant investment, and with the right match, your child will be on the way to establishing a strong foundation for success far beyond private school. Don’t settle for a quick visit! Make sure you are approaching campus visits in such a way that you can adequately discern the differences across schools relative to the learning support they will provide. Try using our simple approach of the 5 W’s!

Who….
Who “owns” the learning support? Who delivers the learning support? Is it a full-time faculty member or is it an adjunct staff member? Who is credentialed with special education certifications? Who makes the decisions regarding accommodations?

What…
What kind of support is available? What does it look like? What can it look like for your child? What kind of communication or updates will you receive from your student’s tutor? What are the costs for the levels of support they will offer? What is the differentiating factor(s) in your school’s learning support? What is your philosophy in supporting students who learn differently?

Where…
Where do students’ receive their learning support? Where is the learning support center located? Where are they recruiting staff from? Where is the link between the student’s classroom teachers and the academic/learning support teacher?

When…
When do students access their learning support? When do you know if a student needs more or less support? When do you provide regular feedback on goals and objectives, session content, progress or lack thereof?

Why…
Why do kids like or dislike the learning support center? Why would we want to send our child here? Why do you use certain curriculums? Why are you (or aren’t you) using assistive technology? Why do students benefit from the learning support?
We see many factors that contribute to a student’s success with private school learning, all grounded in the notion of willingness. A willingness such as knowledge and acceptance of a student’s learning style, a willingness to seek help and information, a student’s willingness to take responsibility for ones own learning, a willingness of the school to keep trying new strategies and approaches, and much more!

Hall Educational Resources is located in the Greater-Boston area (Concord, Massachusetts and Exeter, New Hampshire) and serves families across the United States. Elizabeth frequently travels nationwide to visit schools and programs, allowing her to offer a broad perspective for her clients. Elizabeth holds an Ed.M. from Boston University’s School of Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Gettysburg College and is a graduate of The Northfield Mount Hermon School.  Elizabeth is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and holds membership in the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), the International Dyslexia Association, the Small Boarding School Association and the Council for Learning Disabilities. She is the proud mom of three terrific and distinctly different learners: a high school junior, an 8th grader and a 6th grader. For more information, call: 781-304-4716 or email: info@halleducationalresources.com


Applerouth is a trusted test prep and tutoring resource. We combine the science of learning with a thoughtful, student-focused approach to help our clients succeed. Call or email us today at 202-558-5644 or info@applerouth.com.