As I come to the end of my third year at Learning Prep, I find myself incredibly grateful for the community around me and extraordinarily excited for our future. My first year was in 2020. It was marked by Covid cohorts and terrible uncertainty, and yet our teaching teams came together – both through zoom and in person – and kept the school open during a year like no other. Our students demonstrated remarkable tenacity and courage. Throughout that entire year, our community came together with support and kindness even on our hardest days.
One day you may find yourself looking for a new school for your child. If your child struggles in a traditional school setting or already has been diagnosed with a learning disability, you may find yourself exploring special education schools. It’s a daunting task, families often finding out they don’t know what they don’t know yet, but one question I often get is, “How do you decide to accept a student?” Many families reading this are now part of the LPS community and have now gone through this process, and likely have some understanding. Other families reading this might be in the midst of applying to schools wondering where they should apply, how to know if it’s a good fit, and wondering how the school knows they can support their child. Averaging around 125 applications a year, we have molded a system that gets to this. I want to “pull back the curtain” and share exactly how we get to that very question - how decisions are made including who is involved, what we evaluate, and what steps we take to provide due diligence before sending that acceptance letter.
Digital responsibility is the ability to use digital technology in a way that is safe and responsible and to engage in these activities in a respectful way. At LPS, our technology and design guru, Luis Gaitan, teaches our students digital responsibility and safety as a major part of his curriculum. Students also learn about social media responsibility and safety during health classes as well as from their counselors. But families can help at home, too.
Here are some technology best practices that you can share with your children/teenagers...
As we are entering the second month of the new year, it is important to reflect upon the values here at LPS. We thrive on providing students with the skills necessary to succeed beyond our school doors. These skills are highlighted in our “Senior Toolbox,” which encompasses our vision of self-determination. During senior year, students are working on various strategies with their Speech/Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Counselors, and the Transition Department to build their self-awareness and self-advocacy skills. Tools that are created for their “Senior Toolbox” may include Thinking Maps about their accommodations or learning style, an "elevator script" about their disability, and templates for emails to send to professors in college when needing assistance. This “Toolbox” also includes other resources, like information about the ADA law, their resume, sample cover letters and job applications, a copy of their IEP, pdfs of PLEP A/B from their IEP, and a Summary of Student Performance. The “Senior Toolbox” is shared with the student's personal email address so they will have access to it after high school. We believe an integral step to self-advocacy is student recognition of their learning disability and its accompanying accommodations.
Hello Learning Prep Community - for those who have not yet met me, I’m Pat Pingeton. Since September, I’ve been filling in for Korina Martin, our stellar Director of Admissions, who recently welcomed a new child to her family in September. I arrived at Learning Prep after seven years of teaching English in a trauma-informed alternative high school in Amesbury. Last year, I completed a full-time Master’s program at Harvard University in Educational Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship. As this is my last week in this role, I have found myself reflecting on what I will take away from this experience.
By: Kerri Cullen, Director of Annual Fund and Special Events
I recently had the opportunity to meet with several of Learning Prep’s alumni at a fun trivia night out in Newton. This was our first in-person alumni event since before COVID and it was so exciting for me to put faces to the names I had been emailing with for months. Some were recent graduates and some had graduated from LPS decades ago. I loved learning about their lives and each person I spoke to had the same thing to say about why they decided to come that night; they liked being in a room with people like them.
By: Amy Davis, Principal
R.A.P.P. stands for (Responsibility, Approach, Participation & Progress). It is feedback that academic staff provide students in order to recognize areas of strength and areas of needed improvement. Strong communication is an essential part of the LPS program: not only communication with students, teachers, and counselors, but also communication with parents. We know that feedback is an important component of success and goal sheets (for middle school only) and R.A.P.P. grades are a valuable tool we use to provide feedback in order to applaud successes and problem solve challenges.
By: Kurt Moellering, Head of School
On September 21st, I was lucky enough to attend a ceremony at the State House celebrating the 50th anniversary of Massachusetts Law Chapter 766. This is the legislation guaranteeing the rights of all young people in Massachusetts with “special needs to an educational program best suited to their needs.” This immensely important law, passed half a century ago, paved the way for the first special education law at the federal level, which eventually came to be known as the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
By: Kurt Moellering, Head of School
When a new student walks into a classroom at Learning Prep School for the first time, they enter a safe learning environment with classmates who learn like they do and teachers who tailor instruction to meet their learning style. We meet our students where they are and bring them along as they – at their own pace – acquire new skills, rediscover their self confidence, and begin to take control of their education. It is incredible to watch our students become more independent over time.