What is the philosophy of the Student Support Team?
International School of Portland believes that every child has the right to a bilingual education and that all children deserve access to and benefit from total immersion in multiple languages and cultures.
We know that some students may require additional support throughout their time at ISP in order to fully access the curriculum in both their target language and English. The Student Support Team collaborates with all members of the community to empower students to develop self-efficacy, independence, and reach their full potential while nurturing their strengths and advocating for inclusive practices that honor and celebrate their learning diversity. Student Support provides support in both academic and social-emotional areas by developing individualized plans of support that are designed and implemented by all faculty who work with that child. The Student Support Team does not diagnose or label students. It is a formalized approach to provide classroom-based practices and strategies to support all students. Student Support helps to fulfill the school’s mission of inspiring children to become global citizens through an inquiry-based learning environment of total immersion in multiple languages and cultures.
What is the structure of the Student Support Team?
The Team consists of a Coordinator, an Interventionist, and a Counselor who work collaboratively to support students, staff, and families in academic and social growth. The Student Support Team facilitates a team approach in order to identify and support a variety of student needs, composed of members of the Student Support Team, administrators, the homeroom and specialist teachers, families, outside providers, and the student themselves when appropriate. We believe a team approach has the greatest results for student success.
At ISP, student assessment is part of the ongoing work in the classroom. Student Support is an integral part of the ongoing conversations about students and we frequently meet with teachers to brainstorm, problem-solve, and develop differentiated learning experiences. If a child requires additional support outside of this, they can be referred to the SST. Any adult can refer a child to Student Support – this referral initiates a formalized intervention approach in which the Student Support Team develops an intervention(s) plan that can be implemented with fidelity for 4-6 weeks. If, at the end of the 4-6 week period, the team has data to indicate additional supports are needed, a Student Support plan will be written outlining the type of support and accommodations the child will receive.
Classroom teachers communicate regularly with parents about their child’s progress and will let families know when they feel their child might benefit from targeted work with a Student Support Team educator. If a child works directly with the SST, parents will be informed of any Support Plan, the specific goals or targeted areas of support, and parents will receive updates on progress through a variety of means. Student Support educators are available by phone or email and are happy to schedule additional meetings with parents as needed. Because Student Support Team members are a regular presence in the classroom, all students may have occasion to work with one of them as part of ongoing classroom work.
Is Student Support the same as “special education”?
ISP Support differ from public school “special education” in several ways. “Special Education” refers to instruction and accommodations designed specially to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. ISP Student Support provides support for any child who is unable to fully access the curriculum for a variety of reasons, circumstances, or barriers. We recognize that many students benefit from additional support as they grow as readers, writers, mathematicians, citizens, and multilingual speakers. This support may be temporary or long-term, depending on the unique needs of the student.
What is the role of the Student Support Team?
Student Support plays several roles at ISP. We serve as a regular presence in many of our classrooms. We may support the social emotional needs of the entire cohort, or we may work in conjunction with the classroom teacher to support individual students during work time. If possible with the language of instruction, we may work with small groups or circulate among the groups, regardless of any special needs the group members may have.
Student Support Team educators are specialists in differentiated instruction and are available to consult with classroom teachers on how to best support students who may have gaps in reading, writing, mathematics, social emotional skills, or language acquisition. Support specialists have specific education and experience working with students with learning differences and they have a broad and deep understanding of specific strategies and programs that may help students whose learning styles require a differentiated approach.
Student Support is also a resource for teachers and families to explore strategies to best meet the needs of their students. The Student Support Team may administer additional assessments to help teachers determine a students’ needs and, along with the student’s teachers, develop student support plans. Student Support may also make recommendations for additional outside supports for students and their families.