Learning Services Programs

FOCUS Program
The Focus Program was developed for students experiencing attentional and/or organizational or executive functioning difficulties. Students may need extra review of assignments, support to improve handing in assignments in a timely manner, or even time management in breaking down long term assignments.  In addition, support may be needed with materials management, or organization to build efficiency in finding needed items.  Still others may need support with planning ahead to build success,  learning how to initiate a challenging task  in a timely manner, knowing what to do when to complete school tasks when they go home and how to get started. The goal is not only to improve these executive skills and strategies, but to also reduce stress and increase academic success.  Initiated in 1995, the program is available at both the Middle and Upper School levels. 

Middle School Focus Program:  Daily instruction with a Learning Services teacher is provided as a part of their Reading and  Language Arts classes.  Students also work closely with an adviser on these goals.  

Upper School Focus Program:  Students take a 45-minute class 5 times per week after lunch with a learning specialist to support skill and strategy development or an equivalent 70-minute class 3 times per week.   

In the Upper School, students take Learning Services courses in addition to their core academic and elective classes.  Freshman year, a Learning Service support class may need to be taken  instead of an art, foreign language class or other class.  After freshman year, more opportunity opens up for electives.

Literacy Program
In the Middle School, daily individualized Literacy support is provided within the classroom, through a collaborative model.  The Learning Services and Language Arts teachers partner to provide instruction each day during 70-minute blocks to ensure that reading and writing success occurs within the context of the Reading and Language Arts courses. 

In the Upper School, a variety of Literacy courses are offered to support developing reading and written expression in concert with college preparation classes.  For example, one group may focus more upon intensive written expression, while another is building reading comprehension and related written expression skills. The Literacy courses are worth one-credit, and like other classes, require homework completion.

For students still learning how to decode and encode, St. Andrew’s utilizes the Wilson Reading System or Orton-Gillingham.  Instruction is direct, systematic, individualized and multisensory. Teachers are certified through a rigorous program of training and professional development. Diagnostic testing assists in determining program placement and progress once the program has been initiated.

Speech and Language Program
Speech and Language therapy is available for students who have documented needs (as presented in a formal, current evaluation obtained by the parent). Using curriculum-based materials whenever possible, service is a combination of in-class support, individualized therapy, and consultation with classroom teachers. Parents and students work with their advisers to determine the optimal schedule for this service.

The Speech and Language Therapist shares updates with advisers regularly and contacts parents at least once a month to ensure a well-coordinated program. Formal progress reports are sent home twice a year, at the end of each semester. Each student receiving speech services will be formally evaluated each year using standardized testing to determine the current level of performance.  St. Andrew’s speech and language therapist also works 1:1 with students and in small groups to build social cognition skillfulness and to offer time and guidance for social problem solving and role playing.  

Tutorial Program
At times, students may need more individualized support.  1:1 or small group tutorial options are available to support such needs.  Fees for this will be discussed prior to initiation.  

For More Information:

Contact Dr. Dana Gurney, Director of Learning Services, (401) 246-1230, ext. 3048 or
Lisa M. Goniprow, Coordinator of the Office of Learning Services, (401) 246-1230 ext. 3054

• Assessment and Evaluation Information Needed for Candidate Application
As we strive to meet the individual needs of each potential student, candidates for the Learning Services program are evaluated based on their learning profile and the potential to thrive in our community. Current assessment information is key to understanding a student’s learning profile to determine programming and support needed in our learning environment. This information should include any group standardized testing a school district has completed. In addition, it is most helpful to have a current Psychoeducational Evaluation completed privately or through one’s school district. This includes both cognitive and educational achievement assessment information.  The more current this information is, the easier it is to plan programming for the student. We also like to see the testing results from when the primary diagnosis was initially made. 

In terms of cognitive testing, most often the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children WISC 4th or 5th edition or for those preparing for college, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 4th or 5th edition is utilized. In addition, most often, non-verbal processing measures are included in the cognitive evaluation, such as the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration and the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test or the Hooper Visual Organization Test. In addition, the testing may also include Memory measures, such as Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Language—2nd Edition, Children’s Memory Scale, California Verbal Learning Test.

For academic testing, be sure the evaluator includes all areas relevant to the primary areas of learning difference. For instance, if the student has reading and written expression challenges,  more than one reading and written measure should be included. For example, this may include, the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test—3rd Edition testing, the Test of Written Language 4th Edition, and the Gray Oral Reading Test 5th Edition or the Nelson Denny Reading Test, that can help determine the role of extra time needed for reading. Depending on the student, if the challenges in reading and writing are due to a language-based learning disability, it is likely that a speech and language evaluation would also be most helpful. If a student has been working with a tutor, information from the tutor would also be relevant. 

If the student has challenges linked to executive functioning, the testing should include information regarding specifics of the challenges and how parents, the student, and teachers view the challenges. This information should be submitted in addition to the achievement academic testing. The Admissions personnel will ask you to complete a Focus form for parents and teachers to complete. 

If the student has social or emotional challenges, include the most relevant testing linked to the challenge. Information from a current therapist may be particularly helpful toward assessing the candidate’s learning profile.

   Dr. Dana Gurney
   Director of Learning Services
   and Co-Director
   of Middle School
   Ph: 401.246.1230 Ext. 3048

   Lisa Goniprow

   Coordinator for the Office
   of Learning Services
   Ph: 401.246.1230 Ext. 3054

   Kristel Dunphy

   Associate Director of
   Admissions & Financial Aid

   Ph: 401.246.1230 Ext. 3053



St. Andrew's School Rhode Island   63 Federal Road, Barrington, RI 02806
Tel: 401.246.1230 Fax: 401.246.0510 Email: webmaster@standrews-ri.org