Student learning support is an important part of the academic program at GDS. Our Learning Support Team works to ensure that GDS students have the resources and support they need to be successful academically. Each learning support coordinator provides developmentally appropriate individual and small group support within their division, and they work collaboratively with students, teachers, and families to build a strong network of support for student academic success. The team is proud to provide services that are appropriate, need-based, and heart-driven.
In the Lower School, Laura Shue works with Bengal Tots, Bitty Bengals, junior kindergarten, and kindergarten students, while Suzanne Billips works with students in grades 1–4. They provide instruction in various literacy skills that include whole group, small group, or one-to-one instruction. Both coordinators collaborate with classroom teachers to determine best practices for student learning and growth as they support parents in their child’s educational journey.
In the Middle School, Kathy Gillespie works with students in the classroom and by meeting in small groups or one-on-one. She also works closely with the Lower School to make sure that students have a smooth transition to the Middle School. As part of this process, fifth graders start the year with the Fifth Grade Forward program, which introduces our students to Executive Functions (mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control), effective study strategies, social-emotional strategies, and mindfulness techniques. As students prepare to move from Middle to Upper School, Kathy works closely with the Upper School to ensure a smooth transition.
In the Upper School, Chanel Green provides students with learning support that meets students’ individual needs. Her goal is to ensure students grow in confidence, independence, character, and academic strength. This fall, students are being introduced to learning support through daily meetings and First-Year Foundations (FYF). FYF provides ninth graders with a strong foundation in organization, time-management, test-taking, and other skills that students need to succeed in the Upper School. Chanel also works with the Middle School and the College Counseling Department to ensure all students have a smooth transition to the Upper School and are prepared to succeed in college.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the Learning Support Coordinator in your child’s division to schedule a meeting.