Academic Foundations is a Multi-Tiered System of Support Intervention class. Using the student assignments from their current class as well as materials designed for this class students will receive instruction on the foundational skills needed to complete those assignments. Targeted skills for reinforcement include but are not limited to reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and written expression. This class is intended to improve targeted learning goals for each student.
Guided Studies I
Guided Studies I is Multi-Tiered Systems of Support intervention class designed to assist students in their acquisition of executive functioning skills that will be needed for high school at St. James Academy and in their life beyond high school. This class is recommended for freshmen who demonstrate a need or a desire to develop skills in the areas of organization, time management, effective communication, prioritization, and study skills. The class includes direct instruction, action planning, strategy implementation, and when applicable allotted time for task completion. At the end of each semester, guided studies teachers will recommend the best placement for support for the following semester.
Guided Studies II
Guided Studies II is Multi-Tiered Systems of Support intervention class geared towards sophomores and juniors. For students who attended GS I as freshmen GS II will take their skills from emerging to routine. For students who did not attend GS I they will begin to learn routines to enhance their executive functioning skills. Topics include organization, time management, effective communication, prioritization, and study skills. The class includes direct instruction, action planning, strategy implementation, and when applicable allotted time for task completion. At the end of each semester, guided studies teachers will recommend the best placement for support for the following semester.
Guided Study Hall
Guided Study hall is designed to assist students in planning for and completing class assignments as well as studying for upcoming tests. This class is intended for students who have a desire to keep their grades up but are still developing established routines to complete their work independently. At the end of each semester, guided studies teachers will recommend the best placement for support for the following semester.
Student Support Plans
A Minor Adjustment Plan (MAP) documents the minor adjustments that a student may use in their learning environment. This type of support plan is for students who may need to use minor adjustments in situation specific circumstances or environments. A MAP increases a student’s self-awareness and self-advocacy in determining their educational needs. To qualify for a MAP students must: 1) have a documented educationally related need 2) over an extended period of time 3) for which minor adjustments have proven beneficial . Students with a MAP initiate when they need to utilize their minor adjustments.
A Catholic School Student Support Plan (CSSSP) in compliance with section 504 is a written document for a child who has been identified with a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities and requires minor adjustments in the classroom or educational setting. Not all children with physical or mental disabilities are substantially limited in one or more life activities. Minor adjustments on this plan are to be used with consistency. Their effectiveness is to be reviewed each calendar year to determine if they remain necessary in order for a student to access the curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written plan of services for a child with an educational exceptionality who requires special education services and instruction through their local public school district. The determination of eligibility for an IEP is made by your local public school district based on information and testing gathered through an evaluation process. Not all children with identified disabilities will meet the criteria for special education. At St. James Academy we are pleased to work in partnership with your child’s IEP team. If your child currently has an IEP please contact our Guided Studies Coordinator who can review your child’s specific plan and explain all the ways SJA can support your child.
Class Mentor Program
Class mentoring is for students who desire an academic mentoring role in a classroom setting. Class mentors are placed in classrooms to work with students in one on one or in small groups. Students may also help students with test preparation and work completion. Class mentors receive a grade for this class. Class mentors need to be comfortable working in a variety of content areas and providing additional instruction or guidance on class work. Class mentors respect student confidentiality and individual learning needs.
Q. What is the Student Services department?
- A. The Student Services department is made up of two teams; Counseling and Guided Studies. In partnership, the two teams work together to guide and support the whole student.
Q. What is the focus of each team?
- Guided Studies teachers focus on supporting academic needs. The SJA counselors assist students with schedules, guidance on how to reach their post high school goals, and support student’s social/emotional well being (see attachment for detailed information).
Q. Is the Guided Studies class only for Freshmen?
- No, there are multiple classes. Guided Studies focuses on executive functioning skill development in grades 9-12. Guided Study Hall is designed for older students in grades 11-12 who need additional time and guidance to get their work completed. Academic Foundations is designed for students grades 9-12 who are currently on an IEP or have recently been on an IEP who need supplemental support in English class.
Q. Do students need to be on a plan to take a Guided Studies class?
- Absolutely not! Many students take Guided Studies in order to gain life long skills that will be invaluable to them now and in their work life.
Q. Can students receive direct IEP special education services at SJA?
- No, only public schools can provide special education services and instruction. We will work in partnership with your child’s local public school to support the accommodations and modifications on their IEP to the very best of our ability.
Q. If my student has a plan at their middle school, will that plan continue?
- Yes; if minor adjustments continue to be needed. Plans will be reviewed and adjustments may be made to reflect a high school setting. In the spring or earlier the Student Services Team will reach out to schools to inquire about students who have a current plan. Transition planning requires communication that may involve meetings, email, or phone calls. Please contact the Coordinator of Guided Studies for specific questions about your child’s plan.
Q. Will teachers be informed about my child’s plan?
- Yes, once your child’s plan has been reviewed by the Student Services Department and assigned to a case manager, your child’s case manager will share the plan with your child’s teachers.
Q. What if my child’s plan is more medical in nature?
- Please contact the school nurse, Jessica Alles (email@example.com).
Q. What if my child’s plan is more social/emotional in nature?
Q. What if my child does not want to use the accommodations on their plan but I still want it so they can request accommodations for the ACT or other standardized tests?
- We are required to send ACT and other similar testing agencies proof of a plan’s existence and their consistent use. If we are unable to provide consistent and documented use of accommodations, we cannot guarantee the accommodations will be granted for testing.
Q. What can I do to help my child have a smooth transition to SJA?
- Contact Student Support Services as soon as possible to let us know of your child’s needs and plan if applicable. Please share any and all information related to your child’s needs. Information will be treated with the utmost respect. We do not believe students are a sum of their test scores or a diagnosis. If a Guided Studies class is recommended for your child, please enroll them in that class. The belief that Guided Studies classes are only for struggling learners is far from correct. Guided Studies classes are for students who want to develop the skills needed to be successful in life.
Coordinator of Student Support Services
Maureen Hellhake, firstname.lastname@example.org
Serves as the liaison between Catholic grade schools and/or public schools and St. James Academy; assigns student plans to case managers and consults on the management of student plans (IEPs, CSSSPs, and MAPs); coordinates collaboration between the Guided Studies department and the Counseling department to meet the goals of Student Support Services; instructs and facilitates the Class Mentor Program
Guided Studies Teachers
Provide direct instruction on skills and strategies necessary for success in the high school classroom; provides academic support to students with special considerations in a general education setting; case managers for CSSSPs