Academic support is integral to the educational program at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. Our commitment to teaching skills and habits that will serve our students in high school and into college is expressed in the daily practice of our teachers, in our curriculum, and even in our academic schedule. Teachers in every content area bring to their work a respect for the multiple intelligences and an understanding of different learning styles. They develop curriculum that emphasizes skill building alongside the acquisition of content, and they strive to differentiate in order to both challenge and nurture their students. Our seventy-five minute extended learning periods encourage students to engage actively in the learning process, and our small class sizes and daily extra help block make it nearly impossible for students to fall through the cracks.
The work of the Skills and Academic Support Department (SAS) provides an additional level of support for students who have faced challenges to learning in the content areas. The SAS curriculum focuses on the teaching of academic skills and strategies that may be content specific or geared to academic life in general. Our learning specialists possess particular expertise in helping students to enhance their executive functioning skills, including organization of materials and assignments, time-management, and planning and prioritizing. Each seventy-five minute class includes a lesson of approximately twenty-five minutes in which strategies and study skills, such as note taking, textbook reading, test preparation, computer literacy, and problem solving, are taught; approximately fifty minutes of each class is reserved for students to work on their assignments in the various content areas. Because these classes never exceed four students to every one teacher, our learning specialists are able to address individual needs and to create a safe learning environment in which students are able to practice new skills and strategies without undue pressure.
The primary objective for all students who enroll in SAS is to become independent learners who understand their own learning styles and who can advocate successfully for their educational needs as they prepare to move on to higher education. Until students gain this level of self-sufficiency, our learning specialists often advocate for their students, serve as resources for their families, and collaborate with their students’ content area teachers. Especially in the ninth and tenth grades, the SAS curriculum mirrors the curriculum in the content areas, providing support in the winter trimester, for example, for the writing of a history research paper and in the spring for the science fair. In the 11th and 12th grades the curriculum is defined by the individual goals of each student, and the class setting encourages students to seek help as needed from one of two teachers or to cooperate with their peers; this approach is designed to encourage students to transition to the greater level of independence and self-advocacy that will be required in college.
Skills and Academic Support Faculty
Skills and Academic Support Teacher
Cornell University - B.S., Development Sociology
Director of the Skills and Academic Support Department
University of Dortmund, Germany - B.A., M.S. - Special Education
Ms. Laurie Friedman
Skills and Academic Support Teacher
Oberlin College - B.A.
University of Chicago - M.A.T.
Simmons College - M.B.A.
Mass. Dept. of Education - Math 5-8 licensure
Skills and Academic Support Teacher, 9th Grade Dean
St. Joseph's College - B.S., Elementary Education
Lesley University - M.Ed., Teacher of moderate disabilities, 5-12
English Department Teacher
UMass-Dartmouth - B.A.
San Diego State University - M.A.
San Diego State University - M.F.A.
The Skills and Academic Support Department provides:
|1. Individual Learning Style Profiles: The SAS develops Individual Learning Style Profiles for all students at CH-CH. This allows the faculty to create lessons to engage students’ strengths. |
2. No Hiding in the “Back Row”: The SAS has ongoing communication with grade level teams, so no student is ever left behind.
3. Layers of Support: The SAS coordinates its work with the work classroom teachers are doing, providing layers of support for students.
4. Evolution and Progress: The SAS program evolves to meet the skills development of students as they progress from grade to grade.
5. Monitoring their Progress: A student’s classroom progress is monitored by the SAS, and the student’s work in the SAS is adjusted accordingly.
6. Learning Style Inventory: Each student completes a “learning style inventory” in order to help the students and their teachers unlock appropriate learning strategies.
7. Individualized Strategies: The SAS teachers work with the entire CH-CH faculty to develop classroom strategies that address students unique Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences.
8. Resources: SAS students have access to computer technology and software such as Inspiration, Geometer Sketchpad, and Carnegie Learning Software to help build and reinforce academic skills.
9. Real Time Practice: The SAS overlays executive functioning skill development on top of the core curriculum, so that students have real-time practice with real skills.
10. Daily Communication: The SAS makes daily assignments available online to parents, guardians and house-parents during study hall so there’s never any guesswork about what is due, and when.