The Learning Support Team
The role of the Learning Support Team at Henderson International School is to support students at all ability levels and with different learning styles by providing intervention, remediation and enrichment opportunities. We collaborate with teachers in their efforts to advance students with different learning needs within the classroom, and we work with parents, students, and outside professionals in order to better advocate for the needs of all students, in Early Childhood through 8th grades.
The principal members of our Learning Support Team are Becky Wagner and Crista Sokolow. We bring years of combined classroom experience, as well as advanced degrees in Education. Under the direction of the Leadership Team, we help differentiate instructional strategies in order to personalize the learning for all of our students. Part of our role includes the use of formative and summative assessments to monitor student progress and achievement, assess and analyze student strengths and needs, and then design and implement appropriate instructional strategies to facilitate learning and growth.
Our Learning Support Team has been pushing-in to the classrooms for the last three years to help teachers do small-group instruction targeting specific skills. In kindergarten, this small-group Literacy instruction happens five days a week, for 20-30 minutes each day. In 1st and 2nd grades, it happens three days a week. The classroom teacher works with a small group while the Learning Support teacher works with another small group. This structure allows us to differentiate the activities that each group is doing, based on the needs of those particular students, with an experienced educator facilitating each small group. This year, we have expanded the model to include 3rd and 4th grades, helping teachers facilitate Math Centers. Three days a week in each 3rd grade class, we work with a small group, Ms. Solo works with a small group, and the classroom teacher works with the rest to push and challenge them in Mathematics. On Wednesdays, we push into 4th grade to do Math Differentiation groups: all 4th grade students are divided into four smaller groups, with learning experiences designed to meet each groups’ needs, from re-teaching and skill building to enrichment and STEM activities.
As students’ abilities grow, they are transitioned either to a higher level of activities, a different group, or to independent activities. In this way, we keep the groups flexible and adaptive – no student is locked into any given group for the entire year.
Another key aspect of what we do is our partnership and communication with parents. It is not uncommon for one of our members to participate in conferences with parents and teachers. Through these collaborations we can help identify ways to support the specific needs of a particular student. This structure can also provide the students with continuity of support as they progress through the grade levels here at Henderson International School.
We occasionally lead professional development for our faculty, supporting them in their use of data analysis, helping them with differentiation and Centers, and giving feedback on Personal Learning Plan (PLP) goals.
Our Learning Support Team is always working behind the scenes to ensure that students’ needs are being met across the grade levels. We strive to be an integral and valued part of our collaborative learning team, helping to fulfill our promise of a personalized learning environment here at Henderson International School.
Becky Wagner & Crista Sokolow
Learning Support Teachers