Assistant Head of School and Dean of Academics
West Nottingham Academy believes that learning is reflective, collaborative process that includes a commitment of diverse instruction in order to minimize disabilities and to empower its students with self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-advocacy. Learning to utilize strength, in order to compensate for a weakness, is the goal of the Chesapeake Learning Center (CLC) so that our students graduate from WNA prepared, not only for college but for life, whatever path they may choose.
At WNA the administration, faculty, and staff know that students with learning challenges deserve to attend classes towards a college preparatory diploma, as well as to explore their interests, while simultaneously receiving remediation and support. By being fully integrated into the school’s curriculum, including honors classes, students enjoy the benefits of discovering their passions in a safe and protective environment. Because of this the CLC, one of the first in the nation to have a platform of its kind, provides an individualized and comprehensive program that recognizes both a student’s talents while addressing learning challenges through the remediation of deficit academic proficiencies, the development of speciﬁc executive function/compensatory skills, and the acquisition of appropriate accommodations. The key to the success of the CLC is its longevity and expertness in the field of learning needs, the customized academic plan developed at the start of the student’s academic journey, and its review and reinforcement of skill development, leading to eventual independent learning and academic success.
The CLC academic support involves consistent interaction with WNA’s learning team specialists, its educational psychologist, its advisors, the program director, and the Dean of Academics, in collaboration with subject teachers and the student. Individual meetings occur weekly to assess student progress and evaluate their development, coupled with reinforcing the effective use of Executive Function skills so necessary for all learners, but particularly for students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with or without hyperactivity factor.
A student’s need for CLC support is determined during the admission process, through family communication, the school referral system, a review of a full psycho-educational assessment, and/or the evaluation by the learning team. The CLC learning specialists, educational psychologist, and the Dean of Academics examine all documentation and develop a Student Educational Plan based on a multi-disciplinary, three-tiered approach.
Part-time CLC Placement includes:
Tier I – Teaching essential Executive Function Skills/ Compensatory Skills
Tier II – Providing classroom and testing accommodations
Full-time CLC Placement includes:
Tier III – Includes Tier I & II services and adds the remediation of diagnosed academic deficits in reading, writing, written language, and/or math to those CLC students identified with language-based learning disabilities (Dyslexia and Dysgraphia) and as being math deficit (Dyscalculia) using Orton-Gillingham centered methodology.
Enrolled students are contracted through admissions to participating in an academic skills course with the learning specialist. The class meets every other day for 60 minutes in a small group or individual environment. The goal for each student is to develop academic independence that comes with self-awareness and cultivating goal-oriented behaviors. Appropriate correspondence with advisors and family are fostered weekly, empowering students to self-advocate and exercise flexibility when encountering academic challenges.
A part-time option is available for previously full-time CLC graduates. This part-time course meets for 60 minutes each week with the learning specialist. It is designed to reduce support, ensuring consistency and transfer of learned skills from the full-time CLC course.
Students requiring peer-tutoring fill out a weekly form and pick a day/time/topic they would like tutored. Most tutors are flexible and are fluidly matched with students in need each week. Some seasoned tutors are matched with the same student for a regular weekly appointment. Students are welcome to sign up for as many sessions as they would like, up to two times a week.
West Nottingham Academy’s Math Peer Tutors consist of academically successful and committed students that have volunteered to help with peer-tutoring. Tutors receive three to four hours of specialized math training before working with other students.
West Nottingham Academy’s Peer Writing Center is composed of talented students to whom other students can go for additional help brainstorming, revising, and polishing written work for any subject. All students who participate benefit from increased writing proficiency and the development of peer relationships and independent academic skills.
Newly accepted students are matched with WNA Peer Mentors to create connections. The role of the peer mentor is to welcome new students and support them as they adjust to the WNA community. Mentors receive training from the Assistant Head of School, Dean of Students, School Counselor, and the Director of the CLC.
Every day, in every activity, from the classroom to the playing fields, art studios, and club gatherings, students are exposed to a diverse community of learners from all walks of life.