At San Francisco Friends School, our Developmental Support (DS) department works collaboratively to support the emotional, social, and academic development of the whole child. As children develop, we strive to address their needs early, support professional development of our teachers, and provide families with ongoing support.
Differentiation of instruction is provided within our curriculum model; we employ a nimble, responsive approach when we identify students who need more specialized support. We work with teachers to engage all students and to help students understand their individual needs. We encourage our students to embrace their learning confidently and with dedicated effort.
Professional development is a tremendous emphasis for teachers at the Friends School. The Developmental Support staff fosters teacher education about learning differences by working directly with teachers through focused faculty, team, and individual meetings. Teachers also attend outside workshops addressing various learning differences.
DS provides the following:
- Educational services within our curriculum model for students with identified or suspected learning differences/disabilities
- Educational screenings to assess academic skills and guide support
- Consultation with teachers regarding curriculum and accommodations
- Consultation with parents regarding learning, child development, and emotional health
Ongoing observation, communication, and informal assessment occur each day in the classroom. Learning specialists work in partnership with teachers and parents to support each student’s journey through lower and middle school. The learning specialist and mental health specialist, along with the division heads, help to hold the larger view of a child’s development with an eye on previous support and growth, as well as on the long view of both progress and next-level challenges that can emerge.
The Developmental Support (DS) department strives to create open relationships with the parents at SFFS. We want parents to feel comfortable contacting a learning specialist at any time with questions, concerns, and feedback about their child's progress. Parents can expect open and ongoing communication with a student’s classroom teachers and also with her advisor once in middle school. Parents may talk with their child’s teacher or advisor about any concerns they may have and can include the DS team at any time.