Student Services Department Overview
In addition to excellent classroom teachers, Sacred Heart has several highly trained staff members who support these teachers in meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of each student. Response to Intervention (RTI) practices are incorporated throughout the school. Our philosophy is to keep students in the general education classroom as much as possible so the majority of time the specialists push in to support students within the classroom. There are cases when it does make sense to pull students out of the classroom to work with the specialist in a smaller setting, either individually or in a small group. The role of each Student Services member is described below.
Director of Student Services/Learning Specialist
The learning specialist works with students, parents, and teachers to support students who have a diagnosis of learning needs. The learning specialist will help identify specific learning strategies, encourage the application of strategies, and monitor student progress. Services are available for students in all grades, and the learning specialist will work with public schools as well as private agencies in the diagnosis of learning difficulties. She is also the case manager for any student who has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504. The learning specialist provides pull-out services to students in grades 6-8 as well.
The reading specialist works with individuals as well as groups of students to improve essential reading skills such as decoding, encoding, fluency, and comprehension skills. This is done through a multi-sensory reading intervention program. The reading specialist works with classroom teachers to assess student reading, determine reading levels, develop classroom libraries, and create plans for reading interventions when necessary.
The math specialist works with students on a regular basis in support of the class's math curriculum. She may provide support to students who are struggling, enrichment to those who are exceeding expectations, or more individualized attention for students who are performing at grade level. A benchmark assessment is administered three times a year in grades 1-8 to guide the teachers and the math specialist in providing targeted support and enrichment.
The school counselor works with teachers and students to help the school meet its academic goals. The specific support services are varied but may include consultation with parents and teachers, program development, and direct work with children in groups and individually. The school counselor may interact with your child in various ways:
- Character Education Lessons: The counselor may work with whole classes on character education. Topics covered include but are not limited to sharing, citizenship, good sportsmanship, cooperation, conflict resolution, and friendship.
- Individual and Small Groups: A child may be referred by parent or teacher for individual or small group work for a variety of reasons. The counselor may work with a child to facilitate behavioral change, enhance communication and social skills, help students cope with daily and life stressors, and promote decision-making skills. The counselor will meet with the child and communicate with parents and teachers regarding the child's individual needs.
Speech and language services are funded through Winnetka District 36, under the category of "free and proportionate share." The speech pathologist is hired by the public school district and comes to Sacred Heart two times per week. The services provided are determined by the student's case study, noting his/her specific needs and goals. A mild issue entitles a student to 30 minutes of speech per week. A mild issue entitles a student to 60 minutes per week. And a more intensive issue can receive up to 90 minutes per week.