Student Support

The Junior School provides a variety of support services to students to promote their development as individuals and as learners.

Our student support team offers opportunities for academic support and enrichment, for augmenting the speech and language skills involved in the communication process, for the development of ongoing social and emotional growth, and for overall health and well-being. As a team, we are committed to helping students successfully negotiate the rich and challenging learning environment at Shady Side Academy.

Meet the Junior School student support staff.

Learning Specialists

Learning specialists are located on each of our campuses reflecting Shady Side Academy's commitment to supporting our students, especially those with learning differences. This ensures that a developmentally appropriate continuum of support services is provided to students as they advance through the Academy. The Junior School has two full-time learning specialists, one serving students in grades PK-2 and one serving grades 3-5.

The learning specialists and teachers collaborate to support the development of students with and without identified learning differences. As the students advance through the Junior School, the learning specialists’ primary focus is on the academic areas of reading, writing and math. Students are supported in the classroom, in a small group, or in a one-on-one setting. Systematic interventions that incorporate multi-sensory strategies help students progress toward their learning goals. In partnership with the classroom teachers, the learning specialists also provide strategies to improve students’ organization, self-monitoring and self-advocacy skills which are critical to their development as learners. For a student with a diagnosed learning difference, an accommodation plan is created by the learning specialist to identify the strategies and conditions needed to help foster the student’s success.

At the Junior School, the academic and learning skills cultivated help prepare our youngest students with the foundation necessary for their transition to the Middle School.

Learn more about Learning Support at SSA.

School Counselor

The primary focus of the Junior School counselor is prevention. The counselor's intentions are to help all students learn basic life skills and have a successful school year. Some of the things the counselor addresses with students, parents and teachers are: feelings, self-esteem, behavior, death/loss, safety, tattling, friendship, bullying, conflicts, listening, following directions, transitions, healthy behaviors, honesty, accepting others, separation/divorce and much more.

Student meet with the counselor in a number of ways. A parent may request that their child see the counselor, a teacher may refer a student to the counselor, the counselor may invite a child to talk, or a child may ask to talk with the counselor. If your child meets with the counselor, it does not mean that he or she is in trouble! The counselor is not a disciplinarian.

Some reasons a student may want to see the counselor:

  • “I’m getting picked on and I don’t know what to do about it.”
  • “My best friend isn’t talking to me and I feel sad.”
  • “I am new to the school and I am scared.”
  • “My dog died over the weekend and I am sad.”
  • “My mom and dad just told me they are getting a divorce.”
  • “Tim, Sam, and I had a problem at recess. Can you help us work it out?”

Some reasons a parent might want to talk to the counselor:

  • “My husband and I are getting divorced and we think our kids could benefit from talking about it.”
  • “Timmy just doesn’t want to go to school in the mornings.”
  • “I’m concerned because Jessie tells me she doesn’t have any friends.”
  • “We recently had a death in the family, and I’m not sure how to tell my child.”

Conversations between the counselor and student are private; however, the counselor encourages students to share any concerns with their parents.

Speech and Language Therapist

The Junior School's speech and language therapist visits campus each week to provide specially designed instruction to students experiencing difficulty in language, articulation and fluency, or who demonstrate speech or language disorders. The therapist is responsible for selecting, planning and coordinating appropriate service delivery. Service delivery is unique for each child, responding to the individual needs of each student, and addressing the particular challenges which impact the student's learning. Individual, small group and consultation programs are provided.

School Nurse

The Junior School's full-time nurse is a leader in the school community, overseeing the health and wellness of all students in grades PK-5. The nurse works with the student support team to provide management of each child as a whole person – not just an injury or illness. A student’s health is directly related to his or her ability to learn. Children with unmet health needs have a difficult time engaging in the educational process.

The school nurse supports student success by providing health care through assessment, intervention and follow-up. In addition to managing both acute and chronic illness and injury, the nurse acts as a liaison between families, physicians and the Academy. As per state guidelines, the nurse is responsible for health screening, record keeping and medication administration with physician and parent permission.

The school nurse also aids in various health teaching throughout the school year and is a welcome member in the classroom. She is also a familiar face in the hallways, so that children are comfortable going to her when they are ill or injured.