Executive Functioning Support
An extensive array of executive functioning support strategies is systemically embedded into our program to help all students with planning, organization, and time management. Students learn different strategies so they can adopt those that are most helpful and make them life-long habits in school, work, and their personal lives. While support mechanisms are the same throughout the grades, as students mature, the responsibility for implementing those strategies changes hands from teacher to student so that students can independently advocate for themselves by the time they move on to college.
Students are not subjected to 45-minute lectures. People learn in different ways so teachers prepare their lessons with multiple modalities in mind. Often, a class will start with a review of the previous day’s lesson, then move to a 10-15 minute mini-lesson, and then move to an interactive activity or assignment. These different modalities and movement between activities keep students interested, challenged, and wanting to learn more.
Additional strategies that our teachers use to help support executive functioning skills include the following:
- Advisors meet with students every day to help keep them organized and stay on top of assignments and grades. Lockers, backpacks, notebooks, planners…all checked. High School advisory meets once a day and Middle School advisory meets twice a day. Lower School does not have a formal daily advisory program; however, organization support is embedded into the Lower School program.
- A Master Notebook System, originally developed by Landmark College, is a powerful, stress-reducing organizational tool that students start using in 3rd grade, continue through Middle School and on into High School (in core academic subjects). Color-coding is an easy way to remember which notebook to grab before class. Students stay organized in each class with a consistent divider system to file information within their notebooks.
- Electronic organizational tools prepare our students for the growing electronic global world.
- Planners are used every day, in every subject. Teachers make sure homework assignments are recorded and planners are checked for homework completion during the Academic Support period. In addition, teachers help break down long-term assignments with interim milestones and due dates until students feel comfortable planning on their own.
- Consistent classroom agendas ensure that students know what is expected. The same visual cues are used in every classroom, making it a breeze to find the class agenda, objectives, warm-up exercises, and homework.
- We break up the school day to keep brains functioning and on-task. Students never have more than two academic classes in a row without a break for advisory, lunch, or snack. In the Middle and High School, all academic classes are completed in the first half of the day.The last periods of the day are a time to slow the pace down with electives, P.E., or Academic Support. All core, basic skill academics are completed prior to lunch in the Lower School; afternoons are filled with electives and interactive, hands-on science and social studies.
- A generous five minutes in-between classes gives ample time to prepare and organize for the next class.
- Consistent reading and writing strategies taught throughout Lower, Middle and High school help students get the most from texts, organize their thoughts, and demonstrate their knowledge.
- Mandatory use of Rediker in Grades 6–12. Every teacher keeps homework assignments, notes, class handouts, upcoming dates for tests and quizzes, and current grades as close as the click of a mouse. (Parents can check into Rediker, too.) Some teachers even post electronic text.
- Technology is everywhere! Laptops, iPads, interactive lessons on SmartBoards, Google Classroom, assistive software and other technologies are used extensively in all grades.
- The Academic Support period is an extension of class. Teachers help students evaluate the work to be accomplished and set priorities, assist with questions, and check the work for completion. Best of all, kids who stay for After-School Academic Support often leave school with everything finished for the night.