Learning Support in the Lower School

Lower School Learning Specialist

The Lower School learning specialist is a specially trained professional who is responsible for supporting the learning needs of Lower School students. The learning specialist provides high-level support for students and teachers and serves as a resource for Lower School parents. The learning specialist operates from a philosophy that students should be supported first within the classroom and by the classroom teacher. If improvement is not made, the learning specialist and classroom teacher work collaboratively to develop an action plan of strategies for implementation in the classroom. They will maintain close communication with the child’s parents to ensure home support and follow through. If appropriate progress is not made, the learning specialist may become more directly involved with the student by providing individual or small-group multisensory instruction in the area(s) of concern. Such instruction is on a short-term basis only. Students in need of more intensive or long-term support will be referred to outside resources.

Support for Any Student

  • Preferential Seating, typically close to the instructor, but may be anywhere in the room necessary to assist a student
  • Push-in assistance from the learning specialist
  • Take-home fluency packets to improve reading fluency
  • Use of headphones to reduce auditory distractions
  • Implementation of focus objects, various pencil grips and line trackers for reading
  • Counselor support for emotional and social issues associated with any learning struggles

Students with Diagnosed Learning Differences

To be considered for accommodations, the division learning specialist must have a copy of the educational evaluation from the diagnostician/psychologist on file. The learning specialist will verify that the documentation meets basic guidelines and will notify teachers that the student qualifies for accommodations. Although FWCD is unable to offer specific accommodations that fundamentally change our mission, programs, policies, or staffing, we do provide “reasonable” accommodative supports when there is a specific diagnosis provided from an updated evaluation.

Accommodations for Students with Diagnosed Learning Differences

  • Extended time on in-class assignments, tests and standardized tests
  • Individual pull-out support from the learning specialist (short-term basis only typically before/after school)
  • Reduction of far-point copy
  • Testing in a quiet location
  • Sending home materials for students to preview prior to in-class instruction/discussion
  • Short-term curricular modifications, typically involving reduction in homework load to compensate for intensive remediation provided by outside resources
  • Counselor support for emotional and social issues associated with learning differences

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  • Documentation Guidelines

    The student must have documentation on file at school that:

    1. States a specific disability and includes a “DSM” diagnosis code
    2. Is current—within the last three years
    3. Provides relevant educational, developmental and medical history
    4. Includes the detailed results of a battery of educational testing with a complete achievement test and a complete cognitive test, as minimum
    5. Describes the specific accommodations requested
    6. Establishes the professional credentials of the evaluator
    7. Addresses other requirements based on an individual student’s circumstances

Contact the Specialist

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  • Mrs. Teresa Hoppe 

    Lower School Learning Specialist
    (817) 732-7718 ext. 3408
    Texas Wesleyan University
    College of New Rochelle - B.A., M.S.
    Bank Street College - M.S
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a K-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.