Believing that each child is uniquely created by God and is fearfully and wonderfully made, Immanuel Christian School seeks to address the differing educational needs of all our students. Immanuel Christian School offers programs for students with learning challenges through Educational Support Services. Advanced learners benefit from our enrichment program, and our students with learning challenges are strengthened by Educational Support Services, including the Barton Reading and Spelling System and NILD therapy.
Educational testing is generally required for students seeking admission to Immanuel who may have an indication that support services will be necessary for academic success since our programs have a limited number of openings and do not support all learning needs.
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES: K-8TH GRADE
Immanuel Christian School offers support for students with learning challenges through Educational Resources Services. At the Lower School level, Resource Teachers work with students to help identify potential learning challenges. At the Middle School level, Resource Teachers provide executive function coaching and support during Wednesday Advisory for students who are on Educational Service Plans (ESP). Resource Teachers also co-teach writing seminars on Tuesdays and Thursdays giving students small group support. We believe that early intervention is critical for long term positive outcomes, and we will sometimes refer students for educational testing by a licensed psychologist who can identify the student’s specific learning deficits. Regardless of the age of the student, Resource Teachers work closely with students, both with in-class support and small group instruction, to ensure the personalized Educational Support Plans (ESPs) for qualified students are implemented to support the flourishing of each learner at ICS.
In addition to the support from Resource Teachers, Immanuel is pleased to offer in-house services for NILD Educational Therapy®, a well-established individualized educational therapy system for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities., as well as the Barton Reading and Spelling System for students who have difficulty with reading and/or spelling on grade level. Sessions generally take place during regular school hours, and require an additional fee as outlined in our Tuition and Fee Schedule.
Learn more about our Educational Support programs available for Lower School and Middle School students below.
National Institute for Learning Development Educational Therapy
NILD Educational Therapy® is a process developed by the National Institute for Learning Development and is practiced across our own country and around the world. Therapists are trained and certified by NILD. ICS therapists attend continuing education conferences and workshops each year along with online webinars. We have been encouraged and gratified with the results we have seen in our students since NILD Educational Therapy® was first offered at ICS in 2000. For many of them, educational therapy has been a life changing experience, opening a door to academic success and lifelong learning. Below are a few comments from parents whose children have benefited from this program:
- “The biggest change we’ve seen has been in our daughter’s confidence. It’s what every parent hopes for their child’s learning experience.” – Parent
- “The NILD program has made all the difference in my daughters school life. After 3 years, she is a more confident, independent and successful student. It’s a transformation we were unsure about when we first started, but I’m so glad we stuck with it.” – Parent
- “I always knew my child was capable, however, she was still struggling though her schoolwork. NILD helped turn-on the switch in her brain! She finally was fully comprehending the subject matter and as a result her schoolwork and confidence grew so much.” – Parent
- “The best part of being with my (NILD) therapist was that I could think better because I could say things out loud.” – NILD student
NILD Educational Therapy® is not tutoring but a collaborative effort between therapist and student designed to strengthen foundational skills, knowledge, and processes. Helping students develop tools for independent learning in the classroom and in life is the primary goal of NILD Educational Therapy®. Each student in the program meets individually with an educational therapist twice a week for activities designed to stimulate their cognitive weaknesses and sharpen cognitive strengths. NILD Educational Therapy students have individual accommodations documents, similar to public school IEP or 504 Plans. Parents receive semester and annual reports regarding their child’s progress in educational therapy and are asked to visit and observe several sessions each year. Each spring there is a parent/therapist meeting to review annual progress and discuss plans for the next academic year. Most students will need to remain in NILD Educational Therapy® for a minimum of three years with gains usually being made each year. It is our desire that our students will become independent learners, working to their potential without continued intervention.
Barton Reading and Spelling System
The Barton Reading and Spelling System helps strengthen reading and spelling skills. Students meet individually with a Barton Specialist for two one-hour sessions each week. The program emphasizes the auditory awareness essential to reading and spelling and is based on the well-known Orton-Gillingham approach to phonics. While originally created for students with dyslexia, the program has proven to be so successful that it is recommended for use with any student who has reading or spelling difficulty. Barton sessions begin with exercises designed to build phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear, identify and use the smallest units of sound. The study continues with the sounds and spellings of short vowels, blends, closed and unit syllables, multi-syllable words, vowel teams, prefixes and suffixes. Along with reading, the student learns rules for spelling. Students meet individually with educational therapists for two one-hour sessions each week.
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES: HIGH SCHOOL
It is our desire to develop each student’s potential as they are uniquely gifted. Some students with a wide variety of learning differences excel in our small educational setting. Others find that the support we provide does not allow them to perform at their best. Our Resource Teacher will review applicants with identified learning needs or differences to advise whether those needs can be best met by the services we offer.
Students in our community come from many backgrounds, and as part of that diversity, Immanuel Christian High School may enroll qualified students with documented physical, emotional, and learning disabilities and other health issues. Although ICHS does not offer extensive programs for students with disabilities, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to address the needs of qualified students with disabilities.
Information below provides initial information on how ICHS partners with students and families when the student has an academic disability, emotional challenge, or a medical condition that requires special academic accommodations and consideration. Steps to creating a student’s Educational Service Plan (ESP) and typical learning accommodations are also provided as a guideline.
An academic difference is defined as any learning condition that makes it particularly difficult for a student to complete their work or adequately demonstrate learning. Common examples of academic disabilities that ICHS might support include ADHD (inattentive, hyperactive or combined), communication disabilities, autism (high functioning), and reading, writing or math disabilities.
An emotional challenge is defined as a condition that affects the student’s ability to function well emotionally under normal circumstances at school or in school work. Common emotional challenges that ICHS might support include depression and anxiety, depending on the severity of the diagnosis.
A medical concern is defined as any medical condition that makes it difficult for a student to accurately demonstrate learning at school. Common medical conditions that ICHS might support include concussions, seizure disorders, surgeries that require prolonged absence, and some chronic illnesses.
The Process of Accessing Accommodations
Although ICHS is not equipped to provide individualized educational programs for students with significant physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities, we are committed to doing everything we can to accommodate learning challenges. While Immanuel students must meet the school’s educational standards for learning in each of their classes, we value working with families so students can grow and succeed despite challenges in their life. Our desire is to ensure that each student’s needs are met and expectations are clear to our staff, parents, student and teachers. When students are appropriately supported in their educational experience, they are often able to stay on track in meeting their educational and career goals.
Immanuel Christian High School is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. While this often takes more time and planning, teachers understand that these accommodations are needed to provide equitable learning opportunities.
Families are asked to share any previous academic or emotional support or testing with the Admissions Office at time of application. Consideration of whether accommodations are still needed is made interactively between Admissions, principals, Educational Service department and the family during the interview process. If a student is already at Immanuel Christian School, families should share testing or concerns with the principal as soon as the family becomes aware of the condition. This notification must include a written diagnosis from a medical doctor or licensed clinical psychologist. If Immanuel Christian School becomes concerned that a student is struggling with a possible academic, emotional or medical challenge, families may be required to pursue testing to determine the cause of the student’s challenge. Families will be asked to make an appointment to obtain this official diagnosis within a week of the school request and complete the process within 45 days.
Developing the Educational Service Plan
This Educational Service Plan (ESP) is a confidential document used by teachers to meet the needs of a student in each of their classes. Having an ESP in place from the beginning of high school is also important because it means the appropriate documentation is in place should the student need and desire testing accommodations for the SAT, ACT, or AP exams later in high school.
Below are examples of Immanuel Christian High School policies and philosophies that will be discussed and considered when determining if reasonable accommodations can be made for a student:
- Students will be encouraged to accept their academic, emotional or medical challenge and will be asked to collaborate in both the creation of an Educational Service Plan (ESP) and a teacher meeting regarding his or her learning or emotional challenge. An ESP is required before a teacher can give accommodations to a student.
Families must share diagnoses with Immanuel Christian High School so this information can be used to support the student’s learning. The ESP may include both accommodations within the school setting and also required supports from home that may include individual therapy, private tutoring in the home setting, and other therapeutic assistance.
- Immanuel Christian High School highly values coaching students to become self-advocates. This means parents are encouraged to equip their student to communicate directly with a teacher by email or in person if there is a concern or need. Parents may contact teachers at any time but the solution of a concern shared by a parent must always include the student as an active participant.
- We advise students to choose classes that place them in their “learning zone”. This means students should be in classes with rigor that places them at roughly 90% of their overall capacity. It is common for students with learning or emotional challenges to at times be capable of advanced level courses but to purposely take fewer of these courses because of their overall capacity and balance of life.
- Similarly, students with learning or emotional challenges may also need to decrease their commitment to co-curricular activities or after school commitments so they have enough time to complete assignments outside of school.
All applications for students with an Accommodation Plan, IEP, 504, or diagnosis of a learning difference must be submitted with the following supporting materials:
- Psycho-educational testing performed within the last three years
Please note that these will be original reports given to parents after testing either within a public school system or through an outside licensed provider. They will have both raw scores and the tester’s assessment. Reports that do not include numerical findings are not complete.
- A complete record of school evaluations and accommodations
Reasonable Accommodations Offered
Reasonable accommodations at Immanuel Christian High School will be given in collaboration with recommendations from the student’s psychological or medical evaluation or report. Generally, a student must be able to learn and function well within a standard classroom setting. The following list includes some examples of common accommodations:
- Extended time in testing up to time and a half
- Opportunity to test in a quiet test location
- Access to teacher notes and study guides
- Opportunity to do a class presentation by video as long as it is within the context of a plan for the student to eventually present to the whole class
- Breaking large assignments into smaller tasks with firm deadlines
- Give directions in clearly stated steps/check for understanding
- Breaks on occasion as needed in the principal’s or nurse’s office (short term basis only)
- Preferential seating
We will do our very best to partner with every family and student in their unique situation. However, there are some accommodations we are not able to regularly provide. We are not able to provide modified curriculum, individualized instruction, or pull-out individual support as all education happens within a total classroom setting. Often we can still make arrangements with families to meet these needs below and this is done by the family providing an outside partner to assist their student. However, these accommodations are not guaranteed:
- Reading intervention
- Test reader for tests
- Excused prolonged absences
Clarification on extended time: Extended time is offered for tests, quizzes and in class assignments. Extended time is not available for homework or projects. These firm deadlines must be met according and the time needed for work should be considered in context with the student’s overall academic load.
Occasionally, families request an alternative format for presentations due to emotional challenges. Students may be given the opportunity to complete group work or presentations in an alternative format as a step in the following intentional progression as seen below. Goals for this area may be set in collaboration with the guidance counselor. This accommodation must also be made in line with the learning goals and standards for a project.
- Students may be allowed to initially videotape a presentation
- Students will then present to the teacher privately
- Students will then present to the teacher and a small group of friends
- Students will then present to the entire class
Prolonged Absences From School
If a student requires an exception to the attendance policy at Immanuel, families must initiate an individualized plan with the principal as soon as the need is known. The plan may include any of the following:
- The family may be required to provide a tutor to assist the student in completing coursework.
- Depending on the course, a student may be allowed to remain in the course but would receive a pass/fail grade in place of a letter grade on their transcript
- If students experience a particular ongoing struggle with school attendance, class presentations and/or group work, the family may be asked to instead pursue homeschool courses, courses at public school, and/ or a more therapeutic school environment for their student such as a school refusal program.
- Because the in-class experience is so important, there may be additional considerations or expectations of families requested in the development of the student’s plan or as situations arise.
- Certain classes are participatory in nature and at times these classes may not be feasible to complete with missed time.
All academic, emotional, and medical support is handled confidentially. We are committed to this process as it is critical in helping students demonstrate their potential. Success most often occurs when teachers, parents, and students are working together to execute the necessary and appropriate learning plans.
Ratio of Students With Accommodation Plans
In order to meet the needs of all students exceptionally well, we put a cap on the percentage of students admitted to each grade with accommodation needs. This ensures that our staff can provide more intensive services to those who require them and do so with excellence.
For this reason, grades may be at capacity for student who require accommodations when the grade as a whole still has enrollment availability.