THE LEARNING CENTER
The Perkiomen School is a college preparatory school dedicated to working with young people as individuals in preparation for selective colleges and universities across the United States and globally. Perkiomen recognizes that many highly intelligent students encounter various academic difficulties because they may have learning differences, including dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or because their prior education may not have prepared them for success in an academically demanding environment. To address these needs, Perkiomen established The Learning Center (TLC) to provide structured, focused and supportive assistance for students.
The Learning Center provides support in language arts or mathematics and is both a physical space and a program led by full-time faculty members. By policy, TLC class size is limited to no more than four students per class. The Learning Center counts as a major academic subject within a student’s schedule and meets five times a week for a full class period, earning three academic credits.
Classes are designed to improve students’ weak areas by helping them develop coping skills, improve executive functioning and take ownership of their learning styles so that students can successfully self-advocate. Topics that may be covered include reading (decoding), spelling (encoding), handwriting, comprehension, oral reading, vocabulary, composition, SAT and ACT preparations, organization skills, study skills, test-taking strategies and task attention skills. A structured, multisensory, discovery approach is utilized to maximize teacher effectiveness.
Subject area course work is only used when it is relevant to strengthening skill areas (for example, outlining). However, it is the “how to” that receives the emphasis, not the subject matter. Extra help is available from the student’s classroom teacher for specific content areas.
All TLC students are mainstreamed for their subject area course work, and their teachers monitor their progress. Each teacher completes a weekly evaluation for every TLC student, rating their performance on homework, note taking, daily preparation, tests and papers, behavior and effort.
The TLC teacher and the Head of Upper School and Head of Middle School review the weekly teacher evaluation. Subsequently, the reports are emailed home for parent review. Additionally, progress reports (grades) are sent home every five weeks, with complete anecdotal comments once per term. Formal and informal phone conversations and personal conferences are welcomed and encouraged.