The Learning Services program seeks to address individual learning needs of students within the framework of The Covenant School’s curricular requirements. Supporting the belief that students learn in different ways, the Learning Services team will work with students, faculty, and parents to identify individual needs and decide how best to address those needs. The Learning Services department also works with the general faculty to increase awareness of and ability to teach students with different learning styles and challenges. Parents are encouraged to inform their child’s homeroom teacher about any specific learning needs and about any learning services that the child has received in the past.
Admission into Learning Services can occur through any of the following situations:
Medical disabilities (e.g., seizure disorders, ADHD, medical conditions, or physical limitations that interfere with learning): A letter from a physician stating the diagnosis, limitation(s), and recommendation(s) for the educational setting is sufficient. The letter must be written within the last 12 months and periodic updates on the condition and the needs of the student may be required.
Learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, other reading and math disabilities, processing disorders, written expression disabilities, etc. that interfere with learning): If a student has been using traditional interventions (e.g., regular meetings with the classroom teacher or tutoring services) and is still struggling, the family may be contacted about the advisability of a psychoeducational evaluation. This assessment includes several hours of individual testing with a credentialed evaluator, survey questionnaires for teachers and parents about the child, and interviews with the child. If an evaluation is conducted, the Learning Services department will meet with the parents/guardians to review the report and any recommendations. In general, psychoeducational evaluations provide important information for understanding a student’s inherent strengths and challenges, any appropriate diagnosis, as well as recommended academic support for the student in the classroom. The Learning Services department has a referral list of evaluators who can provide quality assessments. While families are not required to use these evaluators, if an evaluation does not meet TCS requirements, additional assessment(s) may be required.
Psychiatric disabilities (e.g., anxiety, depression, or other psychiatric illness that interferes with learning): A diagnosis by an appropriate professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker) and a letter stating the diagnosis, limitation(s), and recommendation(s) for the educational setting is sufficient. The letter must be written within the last 12 months, and an annual letter from the physician may be required.
Temporary disabilities (e.g., concussion, a broken bone on the dominant hand, or an acute illness that interferes with fully participating in the curriculum): A letter from a physician with a diagnosis and recommendations for accommodations is required. When the student has recovered, the accommodations will end. An Individualized Learning Plan is not developed for students with temporary disabilities.
If a diagnosis has been identified in one or more of the above situations (medical, learning, or psychiatric), the Learning Services department may develop an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for the student. The Learning Services department will use the summative report/letter in conjunction with the student’s daily/typical functioning at school to develop an ILP addressing the student’s unique needs. NOTE: Not all of the accommodations or recommendations listed on a report/letter (medical, psychiatric, or psychoeducational) may be included in the learning plan; similarly, there may be accommodations added that are not listed on the evaluation.
In addition to classroom accommodations, children with unique learning needs are also encouraged to advocate for themselves, to understand and be able to communicate about their individual needs, as is developmentally appropriate.
It is our greatest hope that, as students receive the specific support and encouragement they need to be academically successful, they recognize their value as individuals and their unique contribution in the life of the school. Each and every student of The Covenant School is taught that they are an image-bearer of Christ with inherent worth and dignity because of God’s love for them.