Academics

The Learning Center

THE LEARNING CENTER

Highland School’s educational philosophy is grounded in the understanding that students learn in a variety of ways and the Learning Center exists to support that philosophy. The Learning Center is based on two objectives:

Provide Direct Support

To provide direct support to students who have documented learning disabilities and differences as well as to offer feedback and guidance to those students who are struggling but who don’t yet have documentation. We seek to ensure students leverage their academic strengths, address their challenges, and develop the skills needed to be successful students and lifelong learners.

Serve as a professional resource

To serve as a professional resource to the faculty who work with those students. We believe that each Highland student has the potential to succeed academically if given focused support and that teachers are most effective when equipped with the proper skills  and strategies. Our goal is to provide a common baseline of skills, language, and understanding among faculty through ongoing opportunities for additional professional development.  

At Highland, our l
earning specialists recognize each student’s abilities, learning styles, and learning differences in order to provide academic support based on the student’s individual needs. Additionally, specialists work closely with teachers to create and review the student’s learning profile and to suggest effective teaching strategies based on guidance specified by licensed psychologists in the psycho-educational reports.  

We are committed to staying abreast of developments and evidence-based learning practices to ensure we are providing the most effective support to students, parents, and teachers. There is a  Learning Center in each division to respond to the changing needs of students and to allow for developmentally appropriate services, which can include coaching, organizational support, remediation, direct teaching of study skills, and the management of testing accommodations.

For more information on Highland's Learning Center by division, please click on any of the expanding boxes below:

List of 4 items.

  • Learning Center in Lower School

    Lower School
    In the Lower School, learning specialists rely on test results as well as teacher referrals to identify students who require additional assistance in developing pre-reading/reading, writing,  and math skills. Testing includes the following: CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological  Processing) in kindergarten; DRA’s (Developmental Reading Inventories), spelling inventories,  and math assessments in grades 1-4; and ERB tests (Educational Records Bureau) in grades 3  and 4. Specialists utilize an Orton-Gillingham approach to teach reading, spelling, and writing. Explicit, multi-sensory teaching is designed to promote learning and enhance memory.  Currently, students requiring support have two weekly meetings with the specialist for targeted instruction.  


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  • Learning Center in Middle School

    Middle School
    In the Middle School, specialists employ an executive functioning coaching model to help students transition to discipline-based content and skills. Whereas there is minor remediation of basic skills in grades 5 and 6, in grades 7 and 8 learning support time is used to organize materials and homework, prepare and study for tests and quizzes, and receive assistance completing specific assignments. Middle School students may be scheduled to work in the  Learning Center in lieu of a study hall or flex period, and those with language waivers are scheduled to work during the language period. Middle School students are required to have current psycho-educational testing on file to receive services, so parents are advised to have the necessary documentation. 
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  • Learning Center in Upper School

    Upper School specialists continue to utilize the coaching model to help students set and achieve goals that allow them to develop as independent learners. The ultimate goal is to assist students in gaining the academic independence and self-advocacy skills required for a successful transition to college. Students are scheduled into the Learning Center as a regular class. During this time,  students receive academic and organizational support, as well as accommodations for tests and quizzes as needed. Additionally, Upper School specialists can work with families to apply for appropriate accommodations on standardized tests such as ACTs, SATs, PSATs, and AP exams.
  • Intensive Programs

    In response to the needs of students who show great potential to succeed, but who require an  increased level of accommodation and individual support, the School has developed the  Intensive Programs. These programs are characterized by a very low teacher to student ratio and  individual attention beyond the threshold of typical Learning Center services. Additional fees  are charged based on the design of the program. 

    Lower School Intensive 

    Lower School students who need more individualized instruction are scheduled in an Intensive program, giving them additional time in the Learning Center. Currently, Lower School Intensive students meet with the specialist five times a week for targeted instruction; the fee is $2500 for the year. Students are provided with a personalized learning experience to support remediation in core classes with an emphasis on reading and writing skills. If it is determined that students would benefit from psycho-educational testing, learning specialists work closely with parents to ensure they understand both the process and their options. 

    Middle School Intensive

    Middle School students who require extra individualized support can be scheduled for an  Intensive class in the Learning Center when they would otherwise be in a language class by activating their foreign language waiver. In circumstances when scheduling during the school day is not possible, or when additional time is needed, students enroll in an afterschool Intensive program to ensure they receive the personalized remediation they need. Intensive students obtain specialized remediation of reading and writing skills, learn new technologies to support their schoolwork, help with the organization of materials and assignments, and work on homework and test preparation with the guidance of a learning specialist. The fee for Middle School Intensive is $2000 per semester.  

    Upper School Intensive 

    Qualified Upper School students who need more individualized support enroll in an Intensive class in lieu of another elective. The ninth and tenth grade Intensive classes are taught by learning specialists and provide a balance of remediation of skills and support of current coursework. The focus is reading and writing support, with an emphasis on supplementing lessons taught in English and history classes. Students receive direct instruction in a small group setting centered on reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, written expression, and active study strategies. Students learn to apply strategies and technology toolkits to target assignment completion and projects, note taking, organization, and time management skills. The fee for the ninth and tenth-grade Intensive is $2000 per semester. In junior and senior years, the Intensive program is dedicated to supporting of coursework in math and science classes; thus, the  Math/Science Intensive class is taught by the Math or Science faculty. The fee for Math/Science Intensive is $1500 per semester. In all grades, the Intensive classes are worth 0.5 credit per semester and are graded on the pass-fail grading scale.








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For additional information 
Please feel free to contact Lee Ann McVane, Director of Learning Support, via email at  lmcvane@highlandschool.org.


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Highland School is a co-ed independent Pre-K2 to Grade 12 day school located in Warrenton, Virginia.