Because we know that there is great diversity in learning, Park Day School includes learning specialists in our teaching community. The more deeply we understand a student's learning profile, the better we can support the student's development. At Park, we also emphasize community-wide awareness and education about learning differences.
Each classroom at Park Day School is served by one of our learning specialists. Ilya Pratt works with grades K-1, Noreen Axelson with grades 2-6, and Amber Balquist with grades 7-8. Each of our learning specialists has a master's degree in the field, has worked in education for many years, and is continually engaged in professional development.
Park's Learning Specialists provide support to teachers, students and families. The role includes:
Discussing students' individual needs with teachers
Conducting classroom observations, and working with students one-on-one and in small groups, to better understand individual children's learning processes
Recommending classroom accommodations and curriculum modifications
Exploring students' individual needs with parents
Providing resources to teachers and parents
Providing individual and small group learning assistance, supporting students' success with curricular activities or addressing underlying learning needs
Administering in-house screenings
Suggesting outside referrals
Facilitating communication among parent/guardians, teachers, and outside professionals
Communicating insights about individual students, as children grow from grade to grade
A parent support group, "Parent to Parent," meets periodically during the school year. Topics are chosen by parents and learning specialists. Any parent interested in finding out more about diversity in learning is invited to attend. In addition, the Parent to Parent list serve provides registered members with a platform for sharing information such as educational events and resources in the Bay Area.
We also offer a lending library of parent materials and children's storybooks related to learning styles, learning differences, and special needs.