When St. Paul’s School for Girls opened on September 16, 1959, Rosalind R. Levering, the school’s first headmistress, set the tone of the school by making it clear that SPSG would be a school “small and flexible enough to help each child individually to develop maturity in judgment, discrimination, and perceptiveness, and to have a high standard of values.”
A pioneer in education, she believed in "teaching girls the way girls learn best" and that included teaching students who faced learning challenges. More than fifty years later, SPSG still adheres to Mrs. Levering’s vision of connecting with each and every student and supporting her to be the best that she can be. The school adheres to the highest standards in academics, but recognizes that different girls learn in different ways.
Learning Services is a resource for the entire SPSG community. Students who need additional reassurance and guidance with academics, including study skills and time management, are supported through the school’s Learning Services Department. Learning specialists also collaborate with classroom teachers and advise parents who want to understand their daughter’s academic profile. Trained to help students with learning differences, SPSG learning specialists also work with the girls who have more complex learning issues, to improve their skills and to help them to manage their learning differences. Formal participation with learning services is based on recommendations from SPSG learning specialists and evaluations from professional educators outside of the SPSG community.
Language Lab is a learning services course offered for recommended students in lieu of World Languages. The small classes meet three or four times each week, and during this time emphasis is placed on meeting the student’s individual needs. Priorities in Language Lab include supporting students in all academic areas; exploring students’ learning styles; familiarizing a student with her own learning style and planning strategies to maximize learning; enhancing fiction and non-fiction reading skills; refining the writing process; developing note-taking skills; teaching organization of assignments, time, and materials; providing individual support for assignments, papers, tests, and projects; and monitoring a student’s progress.
Learning Services in upper school is less structured with more emphasis placed on one-to-one support. Students may request this type of individual academic help any time during upper school. Recommended students are offered the Student Transition and Education Preparation Program in the Ninth Grade (STEPPiNG), which includes a once-a-week class where girls review study skills and other academic materials. Criteria for inclusion in the program is based on grades, test scores, classroom participation, professional evaluations, teacher comments, and other pertinent information. Learning specialists also respond to requests for testing accommodations for College Board and ACT.
Learning specialists review a student’s evaluation and then develop a Formal Education Plan (FEP) identifying a student’s strengths and making recommendations. This plan is reviewed with parents and student, where appropriate, and revised when necessary. A learning specialist serves as a contact person for parents regarding their daughter’s progress. If parents want information about additional educational resources, learning specialists provide names of tutors and examiners for outside evaluations.
Learning specialists work in partnership with teachers. They help to facilitate the implementation of FEPs; they provide instructional strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners; they collaborate with teachers in planning lessons; and they assist in meeting individual student needs within the regular classroom. Learning specialists also provide professional development opportunities for teachers to learn more about the diverse learning styles of girls.
Please note: No additional fees are charged for Learning Services. This program is an extension of SPSG’s mission and included free of charge for girls who need additional support.