At Saint Mary’s School we believe in universal design for learning, a teaching and learning framework based on research, which at its premise is that all people can learn.
Using design thinking, teachers differentiate their curriculum to meet the needs of each girl in the class. Students and faculty have access to a plethora of tools, including assistive technology, to enhance instruction, assessments, and assignments.
Saint Mary’s Learning Hub is a place where girls can come to better understand who they are as a learner, explore strategies to build executive functioning skills, study skills and academic skills, and receive direct help with content area work for their classes. For those students who need specific accommodations, the learning specialist works with the student to create a learning profile which is shared with teachers. Faculty implement these accommodations, and when necessary, the learning specialist supports the faculty in the implementation. Ultimately, students learn how to be independent learners and advocates by having a better understanding of their learning challenges and strengths.
Guided study hall is another area where students learn how to manage time, develop academic skills and receive academic support. All students have access to study hall time. At the 9th and 10th grade level study hall is focused. Based on the independence of the student and academic need, the faculty member works with the girls to develop academic and executive functioning strategies. For 11th and 12th grade students study hall is a time for them to independently work on coursework in a number of places on campus. If the student is struggling academically or wants a more structured environment, they can be placed in a guided study hall.
Tutorial time is built into the daily schedule and affords students opportunities to visit with faculty in order to get help and reinforcement of content area work. Students who take advantage of this time have felt the additional time spent with teachers to be highly beneficial. Even if a student does not have a question, taking advantage of these opportunities benefits students.
Peer tutoring by members of National Honors Society is available to those students who need additional support.