As students develop as independent learners, there may be the need for academic support. It is essential for students at Episcopal School of Jacksonville to develop strong self-advocacy skills. ESJ teachers, staff, coaches, and advisors serve to guide students in seeking out the support they need to be successful.
The Learning Specialists at the Beaches Campus work with Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade students and teachers, particularly in the areas of reading/language arts and math. Primarily, the Learning Specialists work inclusively in the classrooms to help differentiate instruction by working with small groups and individual students of various skill levels, providing both support and enrichment as needed. The Learning Specialists work closely with teachers to help plan lessons and gather materials to meet the needs of all students and they partner closely with families to meet the needs of individual students. The Learning Specialists also work with both teachers and families to review assessment data and adjust instruction accordingly.
St. Mark’s Campus
The purpose of the Learning Specialist is to work in concert with teachers and families to maximize student growth and achievement, preparing students to reach their full potential. The Learning Specialist supports professional development for new and veteran teachers regarding learning styles and classroom instruction. The Learning Specialist and classroom teachers work in small groups on various levels with distinct goals in mind. These goals are established by the teacher and reviewed with the Learning Specialist, keeping in mind the students’ academic abilities and needs. The primary role is to support and enhance the educational process of our students, this can look different year to year contingent upon grade level needs. In addition, St. Mark's Campus has a contracted speech therapist who can provide evaluations and recommended speech therapy. Tutoring also falls under the umbrella of the Learning Specialist. Any requests for tutoring are coordinated with the Learning Specialist.
On the Munnerlyn Campus, the Student Services Academic Support team includes two full-time Learning Specialists and a full-time Testing Coordinator, who coordinate accommodations and support for incoming and current students with diagnosed learning differences.
Individuals with learning differences who attend or seek to attend Episcopal will be supported with reasonable accommodations. For students with documented learning differences and mental health challenges that impact their academics, sharing documentation with the Learning Specialists allows Episcopal to put needed supports in place, inside and outside of the classroom. The process starts with the student receiving an evaluation from a school psychologist or other qualified provider. The Learning Specialists use the findings in the resulting evaluation to create an Accommodation Plan, identifying which accommodations and recommendations we can implement at Episcopal. Families meet with the Learning Specialist to review the Accommodation Plan and explain how the accommodations can be utilized. A Testing Coordinator provides daily support to students using accommodations on assessments.
Student Services staff members are dedicated to supporting the academic success of all our students. Support is available on an individual basis as well as in a small group setting and skill development often focuses on executive functioning, effective studying, and test-taking. The opportunity to work with a Learning Specialist is available whether a student is transitioning in and acclimating to the rigor of the environment, or if a student sees a gap between current performance and expected performance on a specific assessment or in a particular class. The Student Services team partners with students to help them understand that while their academic experience will not be without challenges, with the right support and guidance, students can build the skills they need to identify the roadblocks impacting potential success, and how to navigate around and through them. The process emphasizes student academic, emotional, and interpersonal growth and builds self-advocacy and awareness.