Whitfield School provides an environment where core values include the success of every student as well as intellectual and social diversity.
To this end, Whitfield admits a variety of students, and teachers and administrators work with families in an effort to provide a successful academic experience for all students from sixth grade through senior year. In addition to providing classrooms where teachers design student-centered learning events that tap into multiple modalities, intelligences, and aptitudes, we recognize that students with diagnosed learning disabilities may need extra support in designated areas. Parents are expected to share such diagnosed disabilities during the admission process.
Whitfield School expects all students to meet the school's academic standards. We also recognize that each and every one of our students has a learning profile that influences his or her experience in school. The school strives to work with all students, including those with learning disabilities, so that they may have a fair and reasonable opportunity for academic success. This policy addresses the needs of those with diagnosed and documented learning disabilities.
In determining which accommodations will be provided, the school will consider the extent to which an accommodation may affect the nature of the school's academic and extracurricular programs, the quality of student life generally, the reasonableness of a requested accommodation, whether its cost creates an undue burden on the school and its personnel, and the extent to which the family and student will support the school's recommendations. The essential academic requirements of the school will not be altered.
The school reserves the right to evaluate test results and to review testing conducted by educational consultants. Once a diagnostic report is accepted by Whitfield School, the student and family work together with the Principal, Assistant Principal, and appropriate faculty to facilitate recommended strategies as appropriate. Periodically, students and advisors, with the cooperation of the Principal and Assistant Principal, may review and adjust the accommodations that have been arranged. While Whitfield School makes reasonable efforts to support students it accepts, the school may determine that a student's needs would be better served in a different academic setting.
In order to receive accommodations, a student must have a report written and completed by a qualified learning specialist/psychologist within the last three years. This comprehensive evaluation should include:
- the specific disability or disorder which has been diagnosed.
- a recommendation for specific accommodations, with an explanation of why the disability requires each accommodation requested.
- relevant educational, developmental and medical history of student.
- thorough documentation of the techniques or methods of evaluation.
- test results and subtest scores.
- the professional credentials of the evaluator (license, certification, area of specialization).
Once the report has been submitted to and accepted by the school, it will be kept in the student's file, and the school's confidentiality procedures will be followed.
Parents are financially responsible for any outside support indicated in an assessment. Parents are also asked to provide any documentation of learning disabilities in the admission process.
Students receiving accommodations at Whitfield may also be eligible for accommodations for the SAT and ACT tests used for college admission. High school families are notified each winter regarding the process for requesting accommodations for these standardized tests. For a student to be considered for these accommodations, Whitfield must certify that the school has current signed documents on file which include the information listed above. The decision to grant accommodations for these exams is made independently by College Board (for PSAT, SAT, and AP tests) and ACT (for the ACT test). Whitfield School is not involved in the review process when determining which, if any, accommodations will be granted for these standardized tests. Sara Ringe, director of college counseling, helps families submit their applications for accommodations.
In a 6-12 school, the nature of accommodations for learning disabilities changes over time, as the student becomes an increasingly mature and independent learner, and capable of self-advocacy. When a properly documented learning disability exists, the school will endeavor to reasonably accommodate the student. Possible accommodations when deemed appropriate by the school may include:
- providing extended time on tests and quizzes.
- providing areas outside of the classroom for tests and other assessments when possible.
- allowing preferential seating in certain classrooms.
- allowing for the use of approved learning aids in and out of the classroom.
- making reasonable modifications of assignments.
Other accommodations are allowed in cases when the core requirements of the course are not compromised, when existing resources are available, and when a student cannot use mainstream methods.
Ultimately, our goal is to build a partnership among school, student, and family, one that works collaboratively to assist the student in developing the skills to succeed at Whitfield School and in future academic settings. With appropriate school accommodations, family support, and the ongoing development of individual learning strategies, we hope to promote academic excellence and nurture all learners.
Note: Whitfield School adopted this policy after reviewing and borrowing liberally from the published policy at Head-Royce Academy, which was in turn influenced by those at Collegiate School, Colorado Academy, Park-Tudor School, Redwood Day School, San Francisco Day School, and Sidwell Friends School.