Student Services

Faculty member and student working on a lap top

At Whitfield, we recognize that success is the product of both academic skills and social-emotional skills, the former often dependent in some degree upon the latter.  Through a web of academic and non-cognitive resources, students graduate both academically prepared as well as emotionally prepared for college and beyond.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

To best serve our community we provide health & wellness curriculum that support students, faculty, and parents in the development of a variety of fundamental non-cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence, self-regulation, and empathy.  This curriculum is delivered to our students through our Advisory program, expanded upon in Ninth Grade Foundations, and informally cultivated through all aspects of the Whitfield experience. 

Director of Health and Wellness
Advisory Program
The advisory program is a key structure put into place to ensure that all students are known well and supported academically, socially, and emotionally. The program’s mission-driven objectives are to build trusting relationships, to develop the Habits of Mind & Heart, and to foster collaboration between the advisor, student, and parents/guardians. The program is also an avenue to help students understand their strengths of character and the contributions they can make to their personal growth as well as to their local, national, and global communities.
 
Throughout the year, advisors are in communication with the Administration should there be issues or concerns which need attention. Should academic problems arise in a specific course, parents should first contact the individual teacher. At any time, however, parents are welcome to include their child’s advisor or other school personnel to enhance the quality of communication.
Andrew Asaikainen Classroom
Ninth Grade Foundations
Introduced in the 2018-2019 school year, this required sequence provides 9th graders the opportunity to dig into topics and trends that are immediately relevant and critical for personal growth within and beyond Whitfield classrooms. Special emphasis is placed on the practical application of Habits of Mind & Heart and on the topics and trends best suited for preparing students to become active participants in tomorrow’s communities.
 

Neuroscience & Self focuses on developing the abilities necessary for recognizing and regulating one’s emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. Skills explored include: adolescent brain development and executive function, emotional agility, self-management, and problem solving.

Computer Science & Society focuses on the role today’s culture plays in building tomorrow’s tools and communities. Units emphasize social identities, dialogue, coding, privacy, data structures, and implicit bias. 

Physiological Awareness focuses on topics and trends related to physical development and well-being. Units emphasize nutrition, CPR, healthy relationships, and addiction.

STUDENT SERVICES

In addition to the executive functioning and other support services built into the Whitfield academic program, the below services are available to students and families.

Counseling

Services include:

  • direct short-term counseling with students and/or parents
  • referrals for services in the community
  • mental health skills training for students through PE classes
  • professional development presentations for faculty/parent discussion groups 

Tech Support

Whitfield issues laptops to all students.  During the school day, the technology team operates a tech support desk with open access for students, faculty and staff. Here, the team addresses both hardware and software questions, as well as any problems related to technology use including Warrior Web (our intranet).

Tutoring

To support students who need additional support Whitfield employs tutors who are able to provide one-on-one instructions to address specific learning and executive function needs.

Whitfield also offers Peer Tutoring.  This program pairs upperclassmen who have a strong history of success in math and languages with younger students recommended by their teachers. The pairs meet for 30 minutes before or after school one day each week and work together to strengthen study and organizational skills, as well as mastery of the content for which they are being tutored.

College Counseling

Whitfield provides a comprehensive college counseling program for students and families.  This program follows a formal curriculum that delivered during the school day beginning in ninth grade.  The curriculum develops a wide range of skills and competencies in students, in addition to leading them to the college in which they will be the most successful.

Learn more about College Counseling

STUDENT ACCOMMODATIONS

We recognize that students capable of being successful in a rigorous college preparatory program may also experience learning challenges that require additional support. The school strives to work with all students, including those with diagnosed learning differences, to provide fair and reasonable opportunities for academic success.

Learning Plans

When an outside evaluation is completed and/or received and student accommodations are necessary, a student learning plan will be developed by the Director of Teaching & Learning. Teachers, advisors, students, parents and outside service providers will collaborate in crafting and implementing the plan. Student learning plans outline individual strengths and areas of need for support and accommodation.

The following accommodations are considered to be appropriate and accessible at Whitfield:

  • up to 100% extended time on quizzes, tests, and exams (typically 50%)
  • reduced-distraction testing environment
  • eliminate the use of scantrons when possible
  • preferential seating
  • use of a scientific calculator when a graphing calculator is prohibited
  • access to study guides/class notes when requested
  • other accommodations are allowed in cases when the core requirements of the course are not compromised and when existing resources are available.

Student learning plans are periodically reviewed and modified. Over time, identification and ownership of the need for accommodations should be student driven. Developing self-advocacy skills as well as the ability to differentiate for oneself is the goal upon graduation.

Documentation Requirements

In order to receive accommodations, a comprehensive evaluation must have been completed by a qualified Psychologist/Learning Specialist within the last three years. The student’s evaluation report must include the following:

  • 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 and reviewed by the school, it will be kept in the student’s file, and the school’s confidentiality procedures will be followed. It is important to note that a diagnosis, in and of itself, does not necessitate the need for accommodations. Parents are financially responsible for any outside support indicated in an assessment. Parents are also asked to provide any documentation of learning disabilities during the Admission process.

Standardized Test Accommodations

Students in grades 6-10 take the ASPIRE, a standardized test designed by ACT. By design, the ASPIRE test is given without accommodations. Because the results from the ASPIRE test are only shared with the school and your family, this test provides documented information about general test performance. Therefore, it can be used in conjunction with classroom testing and exam testing documentation to apply for accommodations for the ACT during the junior year.

Students receiving accommodations at Whitfield may be eligible for accommodations for the SAT and ACT tests used for college admission. Upper school families are notified each year regarding the process for requesting accommodations for these standardized tests. For a student to be considered for these accommodations, Whitfield must certify that we have 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. The Director of College Counseling, and Assistant Director of College Counseling, help families submit their applications for accommodations.

Partnering with Families

The ultimate goal at Whitfield School is to build a collaborative partnership with students and families. That relationship provides the platform for maximizing the student learning experience and providing students with the skills to be successful in future academic settings. To that end, reasonable and appropriate accommodations can be consistently provided when proper evidence and documentation is ascertained.

While Whitfield School makes reasonable efforts to support students who are admitted, the school may determine over time that a student’s needs would be better served in a different academic setting.

Ginny Fendell, MSW, LCSW

Director of Health & Wellness

Ginny Fendell, MSW, LCSW

Director of Health & Wellness

"I help students cultivate emotional intelligence and develop an authentic sense of self. We use human strengths of character as a common language to help guide discussions and activities related to personal values, goal-setting, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. We want to provide every Whitfield student with ongoing opportunities to discover who they are and what they want to contribute to their group, their community, and the world."

Mead Ploszay, MS, LPC

Director of Teaching & Learning

Mead Ploszay, MS, LPC

Director of Teaching & Learning

"My goal is to help students understand their cognitive and personal strengths while also working to identify resources that allow them to maximize their learning. Learning takes self-regulation, self-advocacy, self-reflection and humility.  All of us at Whitfield are here to support the journey!" 

Anna Warbelow, PhD

Director of Equity & Inclusion

Anna Warbelow, PhD

Director of Equity & Inclusion

"I support students in building self-awareness around their own identities and values and how these impact their experiences in the world. I strive to help students be better prepared to understand, appreciate, and respect other identities, values, and perspectives and communicate and collaborate across differences."

Matt DiGiulio

Director of Technology

Matt DiGiulio

Director of Technology

"Whitfield students have an incredible set of resources and skill-building opportunities at their fingertips, from professional software suites and 3D printers to graphic design projects and coding classes. Our most important assets, though, are the relationships we build; it's my job to help our students and teachers make the connection between skills, resources, and the people we interact with while using both."