Middle & Upper School Learning Support
Beginning in the Admission process and continuing through to graduation, our Learning Resource Center encourages open dialogue around students’ strengths as well as their challenges, utilizing the former to help students navigate the latter. The primary focus of learning support at San Domenico is student self-advocacy. The Dean of Learning Support works regularly with students on refining this skill, as well as with faculty and mentors to ensure students feel both understood and supported. The more students can understand, embrace, and articulate their learning profiles, the better teachers, learning support specialists, and the school can execute the individualized support plan. We work closely with families to arm students with the tools and voice necessary to excel in San Domenico’s rigorous college preparatory program, as well as the higher education that follows.
San Domenico provides a variety of accommodations to students with diagnosed learning and attention differences. The accommodations in a student’s learning plan are provided based both on the evaluator’s recommendation as well as the school standards. Learning plans are revisited and revised regularly, always prioritizing evolving student needs and skill development. Please note that San Domenico does not make testing or curricular modifications, and not all recommended accommodations are available at San Domenico.
Documentation at San Domenico must satisfy the criteria established by the College Board, most standardized testing organizations, and most college application policies for students with learning and attention differences.
- State the specific disability, as diagnosed. Diagnosis should be made by a person with appropriate professional credentials, should be specific and, when appropriate, should relate the disability to the applicable professional standards (e.g., DSM-V).
- Be current. In most cases, the evaluation and diagnostic testing should have taken place within three years of the request for accommodations. For psychiatric disabilities, an annual evaluation update must be within 12 months of the request for accommodations. For visual disabilities, documentation should be within two years, and for physical/medical, an update must be within one year from the time of the request.
- Provide relevant educational, developmental and medical history.
- Describe the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis. Include test results with subtest scores (standard or scaled scores) for all tests.
- Describe the functional limitations. Explain how the disability impacts the student’s daily functioning and ability to participate in the test.
- Describe the specific accommodations being requested and why the disability qualifies the student for such accommodations.
- Establish the professional credentials of the evaluator (for example, licensure; certification; area of specialization).
For more information, please see the College Board website: https://www.collegeboard.org/students-with-disabilities/documentation-guidelines
Referrals for Evaluation
If a student, parent, or teacher suspects that a student has a learning or attention difference, they should contact their school level Dean of Learning Support directly to set up an appointment. During this intake process, the student will be asked to reflect and respond to various questions designed to help ascertain the root of their academic difficulty. The information will then be reviewed by the Dean of Learning Support and the Learning Specialist, and if appropriate, the family will be referred to a licensed, certified professional for a full Psychoeducational Evaluation.
Upon receipt of the finalized evaluation, if a diagnosis does in fact present, the Dean of Learning Support will work with the parents, student, and evaluator to generate and implement the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP). An ILP must be in place for at least four months for a student to qualify for accommodations on standardized testing.
Accommodation requests for the SSAT, PSAT, SAT, AP’s and ACT are to be made by the Dean of Learning Support. Both College Board and ACT require that a current (within 3 years) Psychoeducational Report reflects the diagnosis for which accommodations are being provided. Before proceeding with the request process, ensure that an up-to-date evaluation is on file with the Learning Resource Center.
Additionally, parents/guardians must sign a “Consent to Release Information” form and return it to the Dean of Learning Support before a standardized testing accommodations request is made.
The next steps of the process depend on which test a student plans to take:
SSAT Request Process
When submitting an application for accommodated testing, the parent will list the Dean of Learning Support as their site “approver”. Once the request is received, the accommodations will be reviewed by the approver, and sent back to the College Board. Parents may then finish the registration process with specific accommodations in place.
SAT Request Process
The Dean of Learning Support will submit College Board accommodations requests in September of each student’s Sophomore year, in anticipation of the PSAT test that all 10th and 11th graders take. Once a student is approved in the College Board system, he/she is approved for all College Board tests (PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP’s).
ACT Request Process
An accommodations request for ACT testing may only be submitted after the student has registered for a specific testing date. At that time, the student, parent, or guardian should notify the Dean of Learning Support of the test registration date so that the official accommodations request can be submitted.
Testing at San Domenico
Students with approved accommodations for either the SAT or the ACT sometimes qualify for school-based testing (testing administered by San Domenico personnel during the assigned testing window). San Domenico is able to offer school-based testing on select standardized testing dates, and these dates will be posted on the LRC Upper School webpage. Students who meet the criteria for school-based testing and wish for this testing to occur at SD must contact the Dean of Learning Support as soon as possible to discuss the following:
- Ensure the student is registering for the correct test date that San Domenico has agreed to proctor.
- Or, if San Domenico is not offering the test date that the student prefers, to discuss the the alternative routes for accommodated testing, which may include foregoing a specific accommodation or working with the testing company to find an alternate test setting.
2018-19 School-Based Testing Dates
- SAT: October 10 and March 9
- ACT: October 2 and February 9
**For ACT school-based testing specifically, students have the option to complete their testing on one full weekend day, or spread over two days. SD is available to proctor the ACT on one test day per semester, with the specific dates noted above.
When a student finds that he/she needs additional support in a specific class, we advise the student to make every effort to seek out his/her teacher for the necessary extra help. However, support needs occasionally surpass a teacher’s availability, in which case the student should contact their school level Dean of Learning Support. The Dean of Learning Support maintains an up-to-date list of tutor referrals for subject-specific tutoring, executive functioning support, and standardized test preparation.
Tutors on Campus
To tutor on the San Domenico campus, educational professionals must be approved by our Director of Human Resources. This approval includes Livescan fingerprinting and a Tuberculosis (TB) test. To begin the approval process, families should first contact the Dean of Learning Support. Please note that, during school hours, opportunities for tutors to work with students at San Domenico may be limited due to constraints of space.