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Skills and Academic Support Program

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.

SAS is taken as an actual scheduled class, meeting during the academic day three times a week as part of their normal schedule. 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 a 4-to-1 student/teacher ratio, 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. For example, providing support in the winter trimester 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.
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 office-hours block make it nearly impossible for students to fall through the cracks.
“Ever since my freshman year, I’ve felt that the teaching styles at CH-CH create an environment in which I can learn and still have fun. Ever since I came here I’ve discovered a way of learning that works for me.” 

Alumna, Day Student, Class of 2012