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  • 10 Dec 2018 1:53 PM | Anonymous

    Trying to get the best deal Black Friday shopping, I was in a store, contemplating which gift to buy, when I overheard 2 teenage employees talking to each other.  They were swearing and talking about inappropriate things while clearly not doing their work.  I couldn’t help but think about “kids these days” and how so many of them lack the more social/work behavior skills needed to keep a job.  On average, we will spend over 40 years of our lives working.  It’s hard enough to find a job that we like, but it’s more important to be able to keep it.  According to Linkedin, the key to success in the workplace is having the ability to communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize, otherwise known as soft skills. 

    Learning Prep School helps students develop these skills through a continuum of positive work behavior skills as follows:

    OT (maximum supported environment within the school setting)


    Fine motor skills

    Task focus

    Visual Perception



    Work Center/OT (maximum supported work environment within the school setting)

    Problem-solve with resources

    Sequence multi-step tasks

    Visual support

    Collaboration with peers

    Task Initiation

    Organizational skills


    Exploratories/Electives (moderate & minimal supported work/learning environment within the school setting)

    PE, Performing Arts, Food Service, Child Care, Horticulture, Visual Arts, Computers

    Leadership, team building, cooperation, flexible thinking, self-confidence, active listening, verbal/non-verbal communication, emotional regulation, problem solving, time management, task completion, role modeling, appropriate attire, initiation, self-advocacy, sequencing, perspective taking, observations, fine motor skills, independence, self-control, visual perception, fine motor skills, making choices, task focus, spatial reasoning, responsibility, organization, planning, respect, working cooperatively, critical thinking,


    Senior Year Program (moderate, minimal & independent work environment outside of the school setting)

    Time management

    Problem solving

    Initiating tasks


    Build confidence


    Social skills

    Constructive criticism

    Work ethic

    Self determination

    Diverse Learning Environment

    As you can see, the focus of all exploratories, electives, and job sites is more on the development of these highly sought after soft skills needed in any environment or employment opportunity and less on mastering the specific job at hand.  Because of this focus, our students are better positioned to gain and maintain employment.

  • 09 Nov 2018 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    A few weeks ago, Heather Carey was driving her son home from a soccer game. He was frustrated. His teammate never passed the ball.

    “Why not talk to him about it?” Carey asked.

    “I can’t. I don’t want him to think that I’m bullying him,” he replied.

    She was shocked.

    “I said, ‘That’s not bullying — bullying is when you have control and power over someone and purposefully demean and put them down,’ ” she recalls.

    He wasn’t convinced.

    Bullying has become an appropriately high-profile issue: It is devastating and corrosive. Massachusetts now requires public schools to maintain an anti-bullying and intervention plan, the result of a 2010 law in the wake of two suicides by students who were reportedly bullied.

    Bullying.gov defines the behavior as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

    This justifiably heightened awareness about bullying has an ambiguous edge, though: Not every childhood hurt fits the definition. Carey understood the difference and was able to explain it to her son. But it’s easy for children — and in turn, well-meaning parents — to become needlessly alarmed, educators say.

    Not invited to a birthday party? Ignored by a best pal at recess? Sometimes it’s a normal, age-old bump in the road. And it’s essential to understand the difference, says Michael Thompson, supervising psychologist at the Belmont Hill School and the author of books including “Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children.”

    “Anti-bullying programs have made schools much safer. I totally approve of them,” says Thompson. “But parents defining every little hurtful act or every act of social cruelty as bullying devalues the word and confuses children.”

    It can also strip children of their innate resilience, he says.

    Recently, Thompson encountered a mother of a 6-year-old who was upset because her daughter’s feelings were hurt. Another child had called her an idiot on the playground. Thompson gently explained that while nobody likes to be called an idiot, it’s not bullying.

    Thompson also recalls another parent of two fifth-grade twin boys.

    ‘Parents defining every little hurtful act or every act of social cruelty as bullying devalues the word and confuses children.’

    “Her sons would come home from school and tell her all the mean things kids had done to each other and to them. So she would pay attention, go into the school, and tell the children what they’d done wrong. She was destroying her sons’ social life, because her presumption was that her boys can’t defend themselves,” he says.

    He stopped another father from writing a legal brief to a school after his fourth-grade daughter complained about a fickle friendship with another girl. Dad considered it bullying; in reality, it was the natural course of on-again, off-again fourth-grade relationships.

    Seth Kleinman, a social worker for the Danvers public schools, says that as bullying has come into focus, today’s parents are more aware and able to support their children in positive ways.

    But in other circumstances, “The pendulum has swung a little far. When you’re hyperaware, you develop worry about bullying happening, when in fact it’s just a conflict or there may not be bullying at all. I see both,” he says.

    Where does this compulsion to intervene come from? Thompson says the issue is that parents don’t want to feel helpless, and at the same time, human beings are hardwired to report more bad news than good. Your child might be more prone to complain about the kid who didn’t sit with them at lunch and gloss over the one who passed the ball at recess.

    In recent years, schools have implemented social-emotional learning programs to impart coping skills. These programs aren’t merely a response to bullying; they also address a heightened climate of anxiety and scholastic pressure. But such programs also aim to differentiate between bullying and ordinary childhood tussles, helping children to discern when to solve a problem independently and when to confide in a trusted adult.

    These programs help children “recognize and manage their emotions and solve everyday problems,” says Jim Vetter, executive director of the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts.

    Social-emotional learning generally comprises five core competencies: self-awareness, which is recognizing one’s own emotions; self-management, which is the ability to regulate emotions; social awareness, encompassing perspective and empathy; relationship skills, which incorporate listening and cooperation; and responsible decision-making, which is making constructive, ethical choices.

    In practice, this means that today’s kids are more attuned to a child getting left out during a game and will problem-solve together to include him. Meanwhile, an excluded child who feels his chest tighten and his heart race might count backward from 10 and identify a friend to start a new game rather than having a meltdown, Vetter says.

    Respected programs include the Pear Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience at McLean Hospital and the Training and Access Project (TAP) at Boston Children’s Hospital. More than 300 schools nationwide use the Open Circle learning program, based at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. Right now, the curriculum is tailored to kindergarten through fifth grade, but this year, due to demand, they’re working on expanding it to middle school.

    Classroom teachers implement the curriculum during twice-weekly meetings; kindergartners are taught calm breathing techniques; second-graders do the “wave,” just like at a baseball game, to visualize what cooperation looks like; fourth-graders write down examples of negative self-talk on strips of paper and turn them into positive statements instead.

    It works. Research, notably a 2011 landmark study in Child Development, found that communities that use high-quality social and emotional learning programs and practices experience decreased aggression, fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.

    Lately, the onus has been put on schools to teach these behaviors — behaviors that, in prior generations, may have been left to evolve on the playground, for better or worse. In a modern environment of structured extracurricular activities, some of that rough-and-tumble has evaporated.

    “Some natural opportunities have been lost along with the organic nature of play,” says Meagan Burke, a social worker at Arlington’s Dallin Elementary School, which has implemented a proactive social-emotional learning program. Dallin maintains a set of community expectations based on “courage, respect, and responsibility” throughout the school; at recess, students are asked to find ways to include others; at morning arrival, they’re reminded to say hello to other students with a smile.

    This structure may seem foreign to today’s parents — children of the 1980s and 1990s, when childhood angst was fodder for John Hughes movies. But the role of schools has changed since then.

    “We find ourselves in a position where we’re asked to field conflict here. Schools have become a place where people seek refuge, resources, and respite, where we haven’t been in the past,” says Dallin principal Thad Dingman.

    And as schools seek to impart these skills for students, they also find themselves soothing parents. Jenny Loop, an Arlington social worker who teaches social-emotional learning, fielded several e-mails from concerned parents after implementing one such curriculum last year.

    “I sat there saying, ‘This is a victory. Kids are hearing the information I’m teaching, making the connection, and reporting it at home. But now the parent has to do work: Is [behavior] one-sided? Is it over and over again? It’s something that I wasn’t prepared for. ‘Bullying’ is a very strong word. There’s a lot of emotion associated with it. So let’s take a deep breath: ‘I’m happy to meet with you, I don’t want to minimize it, but let’s look at these questions and dive in. Is it a conflict, is someone being unkind, or it is actual bullying?’ ”

    Today’s parents — some of whom might still nurse their own childhood scars (I’m raising my hand here) — are deeply attuned to their own children’s problems, Thompson says. This is natural. But if we jump in preemptively to solve them, we could also strip our children of crucial developmental milestones.

    “It seems wrong not to be in touch with every one of a child’s hurts, and it’s admirable. It’s really admirable and misguided. Because if you know about every one of your child’s hurts, you will want to go to war on behalf of your child — and what most normal children do is stop telling their parents about them,” Thompson says. “Treat your own sense of helplessness, and focus on your child’s resilience.”

    Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com

  • 06 Nov 2018 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    The clocks have been changed, the leaves are falling from the trees, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. At Learning Prep School, we have so much to be grateful for! We are thankful to have had a great turn out for our Grand Friends' Days last week. Grand Friends heard all about LPS and its new initiatives while enjoying breakfast with their LPS grand-friends. It was wonderful to hear so many amazing success stories! Several attendees asked how they could become more active members of the Learning Prep School Community.

    Here are some ways to get involved with LPS!

    • Attend campus events! Come to our Anti-bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan Review on Thursday, November 8th from 8:30 - 10:00 AM.
    • Support the Family & Friends Fund! When community members give to the LPS Family & Friends Fund, they help ensure that staff have resources needed to provide every student with an exceptional educational experience. Make your tax deductible gift by December 31st. Your generosity will make a difference in every student's life! Family and Friends Fund
    • Follow us on Social Media! Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
    • Purchase LPS Spirit Wear! Show your school spirit with LPS Spirit Wear! Start your holiday shopping early! Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. LPS Spirit Wear

  • 06 Nov 2018 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    Big Lessons Learned from the Patriots:

    For many of us, our weekends are filled with household chores, errands, meal preparation, and hopefully some fun.  If you were lucky enough to be able spare three hours this Sunday to watch the Pats game, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  Through four quarters the Pats battled the Bears to an ending that was clutch (if you are a Pats fan). The Bears quarterback threw a 54 yard “hail mary” in an effort to tie the game. He threw it right to the receiver.  It should have been game over, but the Pats showed up in force to keep Kevin White out of the end zone. The game was ugly overall but in the end, the Pats came up as victorious.

    I often look for examples in everyday life that teach us lessons. Sunday’s Pats game was one of them. There were a lot of turnovers on each side which, for a coach, is considered a failure.  We experience these types of struggles in life as well. One minute everything is going well and the next, something unexpected happens. We may find that we learn differently than others.  In these moments, our perseverance keeps us going, knowing that the next turnover may be in our favor. When we see these as challenges to overcome, not challenges that defeat us, we grow.  We develop coping strategies that serve us for years to come. Failure gives us opportunities to changes and be better. Without it, we are stagnant.

    Trubisky (Bears' QB) threw that “hail mary”  because he wanted to win but, he also believed that he could win.  He had hope. Overcoming challenges requires hope and belief that the actions we take will make a difference in how things turn out.   When facing a challenge in life, whether it is with learning or not, those with hope for the future fair far better than those who do not have hope.  It keeps us looking forward to where we can be the best “us” we can be.

    We are all born with different talents in life.  Only 2% of NCAA football players get drafted into the NFL. Some of those drafted have raw talent and some have talent but have to work extra hard to succeed.  Talent isn’t equal to effort. You may have incredible talent but not care enough to make something of it. On the other hand, you may have some talent but need to work extra hard to really make it.  Effort is the key to making progress. Students may have a hard time with an essay but, the effort they put into it can make a difference. It's what can separate them from those who have strength in an area they struggle with, but no drive. That concerted effort helps them experience success.

    LPS staff work to build perseverance, effort, and hope in each student every day.  We seek to identify strengths and recognize that students hold the keys to their own success. Encouragement from school and home to develop the necessary characteristics to be successful help each student reach their fullest potential.  We may not have the feeling that the Pats have when they win a tough game, but we all have the opportunity to feel successful it we persevere, give 100% effort each day, and have hope.

  • 06 Nov 2018 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    Welcome back! I have heard from the students that you all had a great summer (although most said it went by too fast)!! We are about 6 weeks into school and it feels like it has flown by fast. Students are settling in and getting used to the new routines.

    So far this year, things we have done include: transition/orientation activities where students were able to do some “getting to know you” activities, familiarize themselves with the expectations of Learning Prep, learn about our Citizenship initiative, as well as tour the buildings and attend a beginning of the year welcome assembly; learn about the various components of Learning Prep, such as reviewing Thinking Maps® and Social Thinking® concepts, what it means to be a good citizen at LPS, review the basic components of the Reading, Math, Social Studies, and Science curriculum, and learn about the A.C.T. Program (Activate, Calm, and Think) from the Occupational Therapy department.

    Students had an opportunity to meet most, if not all, of the staff members in the building. Additionally, each student's notebook was set up with the help of a staff member. All students are now going through their set schedules and teaching staff are in various stages of assessing proper class placement. If your child comes home and says “I got a schedule change” feel free to reach out to the counselor or me for further information, if you have questions. We work very hard to assess each student's areas of strengths and weaknesses and, at times, new information causes us to make changes to ensure our groups are homogenous and students are being appropriately challenged.

    We encourage you all to take the opportunity every night to go through your child's binder. There is a lot of helpful information about your child's day there, on both their daily goal sheets and in their “Take Home/Homework” folder. Middle school students have weekly R.A.P.P. grades (Responsibility, Attitude, Participation and Progress) that are completed by each teacher. Please reach out to the counselor or teacher if you have any questions about anything in your child's binder.

    You may hear your child talking our whole school Citizenship program where we are all reading the book Wonder in our 3rd period enrichment groups. We are reading this as a "common read" to support our focus on responsibility and respect this year. It's a benefit that many students are familiar with the book or the movie, as this has allowed us to look more critically at the lessons we can learn from the characters in this book (the group discussions have been very insightful). It is a great read! Another exciting initiative we are working on is a new online Thinking Maps program. This has made it MUCH easier to create Thinking Maps on a device (iPad/Chromebook), as these support much of what we do all day.

    I hope you have received your Enrichment survey and your child is excited about the choices ahead. Please rank activities (sometimes easiest to do “top 4 choices” and “last 4 choices” first and then fill in the medium/middle requests). This is an exciting chance for students to have supported socialization while doing something “fun” at school.

    The staff is looking forward to a wonderful school year and have prepared their classrooms and lesson plans with great care. Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions atadavis@learningprep.org or 617-965-0764 x407.

  • 25 Sep 2018 12:26 PM | Anonymous

    The primary purpose of a financial audit is to provide an independent opinion of the organization’s financial statements, and to express an opinion on whether or not “the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the organization.” It is important to note that the preparation of the financial statements “in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles” is the responsibility of the organization’s management and not the auditors.  Their responsibility is only to express an opinion.

    The auditors will review the underlying financial data by taking test samples to ensure that transactions have been recorded properly.  This will include ensuring that internal documentation and third party documentation exists. For example for purchases of supplies, the auditors will ensure that approved purchase orders, packing slips, and invoices from the vendor exist.

    An important part of the audit is to review internal controls to verify that there are no material weaknesses that could lead to misrepresentation of the financial statements or to fraud. An effective internal control system provides reasonable assurance that policies, tasks, behaviors and other aspects of an organization, enable its effective and efficient operation, and help to provide for better internal and external financial reposting.  Good internal controls will detect, prevent and correct errors or possible fraud. This will include reviewing the business related policies and procedures and testing to ensure that they are being followed.  The auditors will also look to ensure that there are adequate separation of duties as well as cross-training in crucial areas.  Another key responsibility of the auditors is to conduct fraud interviews with various members of the organization.  The purpose of the interviews is to ensure that there is reasonable assurance that fraud does not exist within an organization.

    I am proud to say that for the past five years there has been no disclosure of any material financial statement misrepresentations nor any material weaknesses in our internal controls during our audits.

  • 11 Sep 2018 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As you may or may not know, the state is transitioning to a new statewide assessment called the next-generation MCAS which is a computer-based format for students in grades 3 – 8 as well as the 10th grade ELA and Math. The high school science and high school retests will continue to be paper based at this time. Therefore, this coming spring, all students in grades 3 – 8 and those taking the 10th grade ELA and Math will be participating in the computer-based test unless paper-based testing is specified in their IEP as an accommodation. We will have training and trial runs with the students beforehand, so they are well prepared. Below is an explanation from Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, regarding MCAS and graduation requirements:

    Massachusetts high school students are required to pass MCAS tests in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science and technology/engineering in order to graduate from high school. For ELA and mathematics, the current state requirements for earning a high school diploma are:

     a score of at least 240 on the existing grade 10 ELA and mathematics MCAS tests, or

     a score of between 220 and 238 on those tests and fulfilling the requirements of an Educational

    Proficiency Plan, which outlines how the student will become proficient in that particular subject.

    Members of the class of 2021 will fulfill the MCAS part of their graduation requirements in ELA and mathematics by taking the next-generation, computer-based version of the MCAS tests in those subjects in spring 2019. The tests will be similar in design to the tests that they took as eighth graders in spring 2017 if they were in a Massachusetts public school.

    The next-generation grade 10 MCAS tests will have different achievement levels and scores than the previous versions of the grade 10 tests, but for the class of 2021, I am recommending to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that we require students to reach the score corresponding to 240 (or 220 plus the fulfillment of an Educational Proficiency Plan) on the ELA and mathematics tests in order to qualify for a high school diploma. In other words, I am recommending that the passing standard remain the same for your class as the state introduces the new assessments in those subjects. The standard could rise for future classes, but that is something the Board will discuss at a later date.

    The transition to a next-generation science MCAS is happening on a different timetable, and the existing science MCAS and requirement will not change for the class of 2021. Students will still have to earn a score of at least 220 on one of the existing high school MCAS science and technology/engineering tests: biology, chemistry, introductory physics, or technology/engineering.

    Students will continue to have retest opportunities on high school MCAS tests and will have the opportunity to qualify for scholarship programs through the high school MCAS tests.

  • 28 Aug 2018 12:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As you may imagine, this has been a busy and an exciting summer at LPS! We recently concluded a successful summer school program with seventy-six students in attendance. New staff orientation was held August 20th and 21st, followed by full staff orientation August 22nd-24th and yesterday, August 27th was the first day of classes for students. We have restored the position in the high school of Dean/Assistant Principal and we are pleased to welcome Jen Kramer, formerly of the Newton Public Schools, who has assumed the responsibilities of that office. It is always great fun to exchange greetings with our returning students and staff and to welcome new students and new staff to our school community.

    We continue to improve the school facilities, both buildings and grounds, the intention being to provide an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. The woodwork and doors in the EMS building have been refinished and many of the classrooms have been painted. In the High School there have been a few classrooms that did not have direct access from the hallway. This summer we constructed doorways to those classrooms that enable direct access from the corridors. Work continues on lowering ceilings and replacing older carpeting. The cafeteria has new tables and chairs that will enable family style meals, as well as providing a more welcoming space for a variety of meetings. The renovation of the greenhouse is nearly complete and provides a wonderful facility for the horticulture program. We continue to improve the grounds with extensive landscaping of the lawns and gardens, including new plantings of shrubs and trees. Sadly, the three pear trees behind the church had to be taken down as they had rotted from within.

    This year the staff will be engaged in the initial year of our Curriculum Review & Development program, designed to codify our educational program across the grade levels, thus refining the articulation and the alignment of each content area (core content & essential skills), grades two-twelve. The focus of that work for the next two years will be on ELA (English Language Arts) and math. We are also focusing on our Student Citizenship initiative designed to advance the core principles articulated in our LPS Code of Conduct (Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Courage, & Compassion). This year our theme is Respect & Responsibility and to that end, the students and staff will engage in common readings and discussions nuanced to their grade/age level about the importance of being a person of integrity and contributing to the common good.

    We are expanding our opportunities for students to engage in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Alyson Humphreys, Director of Athletics & Activities will keep you informed about these opportunities during the course of the year. We are also pleased that the Special Olympics Program will continue to provide opportunities for LPS students to participate in athletic competitions.

    The Partners In Education (PIE) Executive Committee will hold its first meeting of the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday, September 20th from 8:00-9:00 am in the Community Room in the high school building. Gretchen Petersen, Chief Operation Officer and Genie Peterson, a parent, are serving as Co-Chairs of PIE for this year. The first of four Parent Advisory meetings for 2018-19 is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10th from 8:00-9:00 am in the Community Room located in the high school. The focus for that meeting is an update on the school’s programs and initiatives as we begin the current school year.

    As I draft this letter we are still awaiting approval of our LPS Reconstruction Plan, a plan required of Chapter 766 Special Education Schools for submission every six years. The approval process has been delayed given the fact that the Massachusetts legislature did not pass the state budget until late July and the governor then had ten days to review it before signing it. Subsequently, The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submits each school’s plan to the Commissioner of Education and to Operational Services Division (OSD) for program and financial approval, respectively. Once those protocols have been completed, schools like LPS are informed as to the status of their Reconstruction Plan. We have been informed that the target for completing this process is no later than October 1st.

    We are most appreciative that you have entrusted the education and well-being of your son/daughter to us. We are confident that the educational program and the highly competent and dedicated staff at LPS will enable each student to flourish!



  • 26 Jun 2018 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congrats to 3 of LPS' 2018 Seniors Josh Murphy, Kaitlyn Gilman, and Tim Raphael who were winners in the Yearbook category of the Best of the Massachusetts High School Press 2017-2018. Congrats!

    Check out their winning designs here:

    Design of the Year: Yearbook Cover

    Design of the Year: Yearbook Spread

  • 07 Jun 2018 7:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please join us in congratulating our very own Meredith Sullivan who will be taking on the role of High School Counseling Supervisor permanently, as of July 1st. Meredith began her work at LPS twelve years ago and has been a positive contributor to our school ever since. In addition to providing counseling services, she has held a part-time Dean of students position, as well as a Student Council advisor.

    Prior to coming to LPS, Meredith worked in specialized foster care as a supervisor and director. She provided clinical supervision of staff as well as the managerial aspects of the agency.

    Meredith's supervisory skills, clinical experience, professionalism, and dedication to the LPS community will be a great addition to our administrative team.

    Congratulations, Meredith!

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Learning Prep School provides an individualized language-based program to students with complex learning profiles, including dyslexia, expressive/receptive language issues, autism spectrum disorder, and social communication disorder.

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