Student Experience

Educational and Counseling Services

support for students’ overall well-being

At SCH, we believe in providing a unique, personalized educational experience for each enrolled student. We challenge our population of high-achieving, creative problem solvers to develop not only academic skills but also competencies of the mind and self-reliance; yet, we do not expect them to do it alone. Thus we provide a unified and integrated Educational and Counseling Services (ECS) team to support our students’ overall well-being and social, emotional, and educational development in all five divisions of the school.

Educational and Counseling Services faculty and staff bring expertise in education, psychology, and child and adolescent development to all aspects of school life, including individual student needs, school climate, interaction with families, and school policy decisions. We believe that every SCH student deserves to access the curriculum, and we maintain a strengths perspective at all times rather than focusing on perceived deficits.

Educational Services
Members of the Educational Services team collaborate with division heads to provide direct service and consultation to students, parents, and faculty. ECS faculty conduct group and as-needed individual assessments to be sure that each student is where he or she needs to be and is progressing academically. They provide small group and individualized instruction to students in Lower School in reading and, on a more limited basis, in Middle and Upper School.  
 
ECS faculty and staff also provide professional development to teachers. Faculty consult with ECS members to discuss strategies geared towards supporting the learning of all students. In each division, ECS faculty regularly participate in grade-level team meetings and disseminate relevant information, including Official Accommodation Plans when warranted.
 
We also liaise with Elwyn Incorporated, which is contracted through the City of Philadelphia to provide very limited services. We currently use Elwyn for speech pathology (screening and group therapy), educational groups (such as emergent readers), and psychoeducational testing.
 
Early identification of learning challenges, appropriate intervention, and partnership between school and home are important to academic success at SCH Academy. If any learning differences or disabilities have been identified previously, parents should contact the divisional psychologist prior to a new student’s arrival in the fall.
 
Counseling Services
The school psychologists provide whole grade, whole class, or small group interventions to students in all five divisions. Additionally, individual short-term counseling is provided to students who self-identify or who are referred by parents, faculty, or administrators. When a student’s need are such that it cannot be met within SCH, the school psychologist, division head, or other ECS team member will make a referral to a qualified and vetted outside professional who can provide the service. We then also liaise with these professionals to ensure continuity of care.
 
The school psychologists and reading specialists provide incidental and ongoing consultation to parents around a variety of questions. Staff also provide resources to parents as needed, including educational workshops, morning coffees, and book discussion groups.
 
Parents who wish to access any type of support for their child should contact the divisional psychologist.

List of 1 items.

  • Accommodations to the Regular Education Program

    Springside Chestnut Hill Academy recognizes that even within a population of very high-achieving students, there will be the need to accommodate various learning styles and needs. Teachers and administrators work to provide a variety of activities, assignments, and assessments to allow success for a wide range of learners. In addition, students may qualify for and receive specific individual educational accommodations in their classes. 
    Read More
  • Building students’ resiliency and grit

    Building students’ resiliency and grit

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Educational and Counseling Services Team

List of 5 members.

  • Pamela Brown 

    School Psychologist for Lower and Middle Schools for Boys
    215-261-6806
    Bio
  • Leslee Frye 

    Upper School Psychologist
    215-754-1604
  • Hayley Rodgers 

    Reading Specialist, Willow Grove Campus
    215-754-1627
    Bio
  • Shannon Sweitzer 

    School Psychologist for Lower and Middle Schools for Girls, Coordinator of Counseling
    215-261-6924
  • Christy Yaffe 

    Reading Specialist, Cherokee Campus
    215-261-6986
    Bio

Official Accommodation Plans (OAP) FAQ

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Where is the psychoeducational evaluation report and OAP stored?

    The privacy of students and their families is very important to SCH Academy. Once an evaluation report is received, it is kept in a locked, confidential file separate from the student’s academic file. Only one copy of the evaluation will be kept in the files located in the office of the school psychologist; evaluation reports may not be removed from the office where the files are kept. SCH Academy staff members do not make copies of the report for their own student files.
     
    A summary of the OAP as well as one copy of the OAP is kept in the student’s locked, confidential file. A second copy of the OAP is kept in the student’s regular file.
     
  • How often is the OAP reviewed?

    The OAP may be reviewed every school year under the auspices of the division head and the school psychologist to ensure that it remains both necessary and sufficient to provide the supports that are appropriate to the student.
     
  • What accommodations can be provided at SCH through an OAP?

    Lower School:
    The Lower Schools can provide some flexibility regarding curricular demands, on a grade-by-grade and assignment-by-assignment basis. While the materials and/or approach may be altered, it is still expected that the curricular requirements of the student’s grade level will be met.   
     
    Middle and Upper School:
    • Extended time for quizzes, tests, and exams
    • Use of laptop computers for note-taking and/or test-taking
    • Sensitivity to spelling difficulty for in-class writing
    • Preferential seating
    • Distraction-reduced testing environment
    • Extra breaks during extended examination times
    • Provision of audiobooks to support learning
    • Use of a cut-out to reduce the visual field
  • Are there any learning provisions provided to students without psychoeducational testing?

    SCH understands that students have different developmental needs at different ages. The following learning provisions may be offered to students in response to individual learning needs and do not require psycho-educational testing:
     
    Lower School:
    • Assistance with organizational and study skills
    • Reading and/or math support in small groups delivered by SCH teachers
    • Reading support in small groups delivered by Elwyn Inc. teachers
    Middle School:
    • Assistance with organizational and study skills
    • Small group reading and/or writing skills support delivered by Elwyn Inc. teachers
    Upper School:
    • Assistance with organizational and study skills
    • Academic support services in reading and writing in individual settings delivered by Elwyn Inc. teachers
  • Are there any accommodations recommended in a psychoeducational evaluation that are NOT provided by SCH?

    The following psychoeducational testing recommendations are not accommodated by SCH:  
    • Modification of curriculum
    • Unlimited time for all school assignments and assessments
    • Alternative assessment formats
    • Sharing of teacher lecture notes or offering outlines for class, if not already provided for all students
    • Use of calculator for all math coursework
    • Alteration of graduation requirements
    • Audio/videotaping classes
    • Upper School foreign language waiver, except in cases of a documented language-based learning disability.
  • How often is testing needed to maintain an OAP?

    Families will be asked to provide an updated psychoeducational evaluation every
    three to five years in order for the student to continue to receive accommodations.