Meeting the Needs of all Learners

by Nancy Richards, Director of Junior School

As the Junior School faculty find creative ways to ‘fulfill the promise’ in each student and class throughout the Junior School, the class profile meetings make the new SMUS vision a reality.

Every September, the Junior School teachers, including the learning support staff and myself, are involved in a process called the class profile meeting. The main focus of these meetings is to understand each Junior School student’s strengths and needs across the grades.

Home room teachers enthusiastically lead the discussions by first outlining class goals, class strengths and class needs. A class goal might be to encourage the class to be more independent or to help students recognize their own strengths and the strengths in each other as learners. Whatever the goal, the process helps the teacher s focus on the group as a whole and identify some strategies that may be needed in order for the class to flourish.

The discussion then proceeds to a focus on each individual child in the class and many ideas and strategies are generated for the teaching and learning of the individual. This professional dialogue is rich and varied and there is supportive input from everyone present.

Next, the Learning Support teachers’ schedules are created keeping in mind each class’ strengths and needs. Learning Support teacher time and expertise are assigned to classes for on-going support.

The final result is a thorough and well developed class plan or ‘profile’ which supports each student’s academic and social growth and the growth of the class, as well. It is also a wonderful opportunity for the teachers to share their insights regarding those students new to the Junior School.

This coordinated approach to understanding each class and each child in the school occurs twice a year at the Junior School. Class profiles are reviewed in the second term and it is always rewarding to see individual student and class growth over the year.

As Nina Duffus, Grade 2 teacher remarks, “The class profile meetings crystallize for the teacher what is needed for the class and the individual student. They help you see where you need to go and how you are going to get there. Class Profile Meetings help teachers know that they are not alone in this endeavour to meet the needs of every student.”

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