LEARNING SUPPORT PROGRAMS2024-02-01T20:37:02+00:00

Learning support programs

Helping to Create Foundations for Life

The middle years represent the first time when many students encounter the challenges of learning to manage expectations alongside the demands of being a young learner. This shift can also mark the first time that a student’s executive functioning is challenged. At North Country School, our Learning Support team views these moments as opportunities to help our students learn critical skills that set a foundation for success both inside and outside the classroom. 

Our Learning Support Program has a long history of engaging and supporting a diverse range of learners through personalized academic guidance and the creation of an optimal learning environment for our students. We help our students to learn who they want to be within our community, but to also recognize how to be themselves in our community—critical skills that everyone should learn at an early age. As a key part of Learning Support at North Country School, this development of self-awareness and self-advocacy allows us to meet students where they are so that they can thrive personally and academically to ultimately prepare for a successful transition to secondary school and their larger lives.

Our Approach: What Sets North Country School Apart

Students who benefit from our dynamic Learning Support Program are bright, capable, and inquisitive, but may have struggled in a traditional academic setting. We work with students along a continuum of experience and needs—from those who need an individualized plan to students who require regular check-ins and a group setting. Enrollment is initiated during our application process, or at the recommendation of our Director of Learning Support Services. Once enrolled, members of our Learning Support team provide support in small groups, separate from classroom instruction, and focus on individual student needs across four key areas:

  • Executive function skills
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills 
  • Math skills 

Building these skills is the core focus of our Reading, Writing, and Math Labs, which meet for 45 minutes two days each week. For students requiring more frequent support due to the impact of their learning challenges, alternative arrangements can be considered. You can learn more about our various Learning Labs below.

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Learning at North Country School is rooted in a gradual release of responsibility enabling students to gain increased independence in completing complex tasks as they move from our Lower School to Upper School.

  • In grades 4-6, essential academic skills such as studying for a test, planning an essay, and keeping track of homework are taught by our classroom faculty in consultation with the Learning Support team. The self-contained classroom setting for our younger students allows for consistent routines, monitoring of skills, and individual attention. Additional fee-based support in grades 4-6 focuses on reading, writing, and math needs that are beyond what can be addressed in the classroom.
  • In grades 7-9, students build on core skills already developed through continued support in reading, writing, and math. They can also receive additional support to sharpen executive function skills through five-day learning skills offerings or three-day Learning Lab.

Tracking Progress

At the end of each week, Friday Feedback – our weekly feedback system—allows our teachers to report back to families on three categories of academic performance: promptness and preparedness, citizenship and class norms, and homework and classwork. This personalized report is created for each student and provides a measurable way to track progress over the course of a term and a year both in academic classes and in our Learning Support Programs.

Learn more about North Country School’s Learning Support Program below and please reach out to us with any questions.

Executive functioning skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control around emotions and impulses, follow multi-step directions, and stay focused. These skills are crucial to a child’s learning and development—both academically and personally—to foster positive behaviors and allow students to make healthy choices for themselves and others.

Students receiving executive function support hone their skills in order to learn how to stay accountable to themselves, reach their goals and full potential, and set a foundation for lifelong learning. They do this through developing skills including time management, prioritizing tasks, developing study skills and strategies, using tools including calendars, planners, and daily checklists, and building and maintaining routines. We offer the following fee-based support to students to further help strengthen executive functioning skills:

5-Day Learning Skills for Executive Function: $9,600 

  • For all students in grades 7-9 requiring five-day learning skills support to hone executive functioning

When students work to hone their reading skills, they are developing a lifelong ability to read, interpret, and comprehend written language and text. Our Learning Support team provides specific instruction—directly and with the help of assistive technology—to aid students in learning to read accurately and with greater fluency and improved comprehension. 

For students with significant reading and writing challenges rooted in phonological awareness deficits, 1:1 intervention using the Orton-Gillingham Approach provides students with instruction to develop foundational reading, writing, and spelling skills. This individualized, structured, and sequential methodology teaches literacy to individuals for whom these skills do not come easily, such as those living with dyslexia. We offer the following fee-based support to students in all grades to strengthen reading skills:

Reading Lab: $3,150/year

  • Support with fluency and comprehension skills for assigned reading from ELA/English, science and history classes in coordination with content teachers across all grades

Orton-Gillingham Tutoring: $1,600/year

  • Support for students in all grades requiring Orton-Gillingham Tutoring

Our Learning Support team works with students to address challenges related to dysgraphia—a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities that cause one’s writing to be distorted or incorrect—and other written expression deficits. Working closely with content teachers across English, science, and history classes, students learn strategies and methods to strengthen skills around elaboration of ideas, organizing an essay on paper, and starting a piece of writing. We offer the following fee-based support to students in all grades to strengthen writing skills:

Writing Lab: $3,150/year

  • Support for assigned writing from ELA/English, science, and history classes, in coordination with content teachers across all grades

We offer Math Lab to students in need of support across all grade levels, whether they are struggling due to dyscalculia—a learning disorder that affects one’s ability to understand, learn, and perform math and number-based operations—or tackling a new math subject. The following fee-based support is offered to students in all grades to strengthen math skills:

Math Lab: $3,150/year

  • Support for students across all grades to improve fundamental mathematics skills

ESL at North Country School develops students’ literacy, academic writing, and critical thinking skills to prepare for mainstream English courses and to support learning in mainstream science, math, and social studies courses. Living in our small community also gives students numerous opportunities outside the classroom to participate in school life and deepen their understanding of diverse American and English-speaking cultures.

Reading fiction and nonfiction, writing in a variety of genres, using technology, and completing interdisciplinary and place-based projects are cornerstones of the curriculum. Beginning-level students focus on group project work, task-based instruction, and extensive pleasure reading at their own level. As a students’ proficiency grows, courses increasingly resemble mainstream English courses, yet with an adapted pace and special attention to vocabulary, reading skills, and writing organization and mechanics. Critical thinking, problem solving, and cultural awareness are woven throughout the curriculum for all levels.

Students in grades 4-6 who are enrolled in ESL classes have one to two periods of ESL daily; 7th-9th grade students have one period of ESL. For those students enrolled in ESL classes, an additional support class that meets three times weekly may be recommended to help with mainstream history and science coursework. ESL class sizes are kept small (two to six students) to facilitate active participation. Older students develop their TOEFL iBT and SSAT “test wiseness,” and take these exams as part of the secondary school admissions process. Please note: North Country School does not provide tutoring services for these exams and students are not permitted to participate in online tutoring for these exams during the academic year. 

English as a Second Language (ESL) Fee: $9,600/year

  • Support for students across all grades requiring English as Second Language classes. 

In addition to specific support offerings focused on executive function, reading, writing, and math, broad support is offered to students who may need extra time and guidance to complete assignments through Learning Labs and small group study halls.

Learning Labs: $4,425/year (Grade 6 and Grades 7-9)

  • This program primarily serves students in Grades 7-9. For returning students, this serves as a transition from a smaller setting to one that allows for greater independence. For some new students, Learning Lab offers transitional support as they engage in a new academic setting. A separate Learning Lab for sixth-grade students is also available. All students enrolled in Learning Lab meet with their instructor three periods per week with five other students. 

Small Group Study Hall Fee: $1,920/year

  • Families can elect to enroll their student in a guided evening study hall during weekday evenings with a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Study Hall is available to students from all grades.

Learning Support Program Fees

Learning support fees vary in size and scope, with some offering close guidance, monitoring, and support, and others providing more room for independence. All Learning Support services are offered on an annual basis. 

English as Second Language Fee, $9,600All students requiring English as Second Language courses

5-Day Learning Skills – Executive Function Fee, $9,600 – 7th-9th-grade students requiring five-Day Learning Skills

Learning Lab Fee, $4,425 – Students in grades 7-9 (a 6th grade Learning Lab is also available)

Math Lab Fee, $3,150 – Students in all grades requiring Math Lab

Reading Lab Fee, $3,150 – Students in all grades requiring Reading Lab

Writing Lab Fee, $3,150 – Students in all grades requiring Writing Lab

Small Group Study Hall Fee, $1,920 – Students in all grades requiring Small Group Study Hall

Orton-Gillingham Tutoring Fee, $1,600 – Students in all grades requiring Orton-Gillingham Tutoring

Meet the Learning Support Program Team

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