About Lower School SSP

The Harley School’s Supplementary Support Program (SSP)–We are  learning specialists that are here to support  Harley’s Lower School– both kids and teachers! We are found in our offices, in the hallways, and in the classrooms too. We sometimes work with small groups of students on an area that is challenging for them. We may help students encouraging executive skills like organization, using your best channels of learning, time management, and “working smarter not harder”. The classroom is the best place to learn and practice those skills. This may turn into a larger group lesson when all the students could benefit from the strategy or concept being taught. As our classroom teachers move toward differentiation of instruction for each learner, we are there when the teachers want to run 3 reading, spelling, or math groups, but only have time to do 2. We also do testing to discover a child’s best learning  style, and we meet with each grade weekly to discuss ways to address those styles.

DOES SSP CONTINUE IN MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL? – Yes. The Supplementary Support Program (SSP) offers extra help for Grade K-12. Dean Kindig and Moira Prister are the Lower School (K-4) SSP teachers; Carrie Rebis is the Middle School (Gr. 5-8) SSP teacher, and Denise Kuebel is the Upper School (Gr. 9-12) SSP teacher.

HOW DID SSP COME INTO BEING? – A Gift. The facilities, materials, and equipment were purchased through a generous grant from a Harley grandparent in the Spring of 1991.

HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE IN SSP? – 7% of the school. About 7% of the students per year, K-12, receive SSP help.

WHAT ARE THE TEACHERS’ QUALIFICATIONS? The four SSP teachers have over 80 years’ combined experience with special needs. All have at least Masters’ degrees, and all are certified to teach Special Education.

HOW DO CHILDREN GET INTO SSP? Classroom teachers refer the student through the Division Head to the SSP teachers. The SSP teachers test the student for learning style and achievement, and results are shared with teachers and parents at a conference. The tests also determine areas of need, including but not limited to reading, writing, vocabulary, memory, spelling, math, organization/planning, motivation, and attention.

WHERE ARE THE SSP CLASSROOMS? The SSP classrooms are centrally located near each division’s regular classrooms. The Lower School SSP is two adjoining rooms next to Terry Smith’s office near the Lower School entrance, across from the Nurseries. The Middle School SSP is on the second floor of the Middle School near Hassan Jones’ office. The Upper School SSP is next to the Faculty Lounge in the middle of the main hall.

WHEN DO STUDENTS GO TO SSP? In the Lower School, schedules are individualized so that SSP students do not miss special area classes like Performing Arts, Visual Arts,  Phys.Ed., World Languages, Literature, etc. They usually receive SSP instruction in lieu of independent work times, free period, or during the part of the day they find particularly challenging. Often, SSP sessions are “push-in”, held right in the learner’s classroom.  Middle and Upper Schoolers take SSP as a scheduled class period, and it does not interfere with any core or special classes.

HOW LONG DOES A CHILD SPEND IN SSP? This ranges greatly. Some students need only once a week for 30 minutes, while others can be seen 200 minutes a week. Middle and Upper Schoolers typically receive two to five class periods per week of SSP support. While one year of SSP may be all that is needed for a student to develop the skills and strategies to be independent in the classroom, long-term support is sometimes necessary.

HOW DO PARENTS PAY FOR SSP?  The supplementary costs, such as SSP teacher salaries, consumable materials, and maintenance are paid for by those using the services. It’s a tuition surcharge paid in the same way as regular tuition, with the same payment process and discounts as regular tuition. When the learner is first referred, there is a free-of-charge “diagnostic teaching” period that helps determine extent and kind of support.

HOW IS SSP DIFFERENT FROM A PUBLIC SCHOOL RESOURCE ROOM?
SSP classes have a 2:1 average student-teacher ratio. In public school, it may be 5:1 and paraprofessional aides without Special Education degrees can carry out instruction under the indirect supervision of the Learning Specialist. In SSP, certified special educators do all the direct instruction with the child. In public school, a youngster needs to be identified as having a learning disability by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) to receive support services, a process that can take up to 60 school days to begin. In SSP, CSE involvement is not a prerequisite, and not all SSP students have learning disabilities. Students are tested in a timely fashion, and begin receiving SSP services immediately after parent consent is obtained. Admittance to Upper School SSP is based on consensus of the parents, teachers, and Division Head.

WHAT IF THE CHILD DOES TURN OUT TO HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY? Parents and teachers can refer students with learning disabilities to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) of the child’s home school district, obtain a classification, and have the student receive resource room support by Harley’s SSP teachers. Under the aegis of BOCES, Harley’s SSP teachers supply the special education services right at Harley. Savings to parents typically amount to 30-70% of the SSP tuition surcharge, and is less expensive than outside tutoring.

HOW IS THE CHILD’S PROGRESS EVALUATED? Classroom teachers and SSP teachers communicate on a regular basis, sharing materials and techniques with what’s happening in the classroom. SSP teachers attend most parent conferences. SSP teachers report formally to parents each time report cards come out. Parents receive informal communications from the SSP teacher. SSP teachers develop Individual Education Plans with the CSE and parents if the child is identified as having a learning disability.

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE SSP CLASSES CANCELLED? SSP is not held on conference days, in-service days, May Day, the days of Pageant, class field trips, all-school or all-division functions, Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings, and class picnics. There are no make up classes for the above circumstances, or for the student’s illnesses, medical appointments, or family outings.

WHEN WILL THE STUDENT NO LONGER REQUIRE SSP? We are conservative in releasing students from the program. Classroom teachers, SSP, parents, and sometimes the home school district’s CSE play an interactive role in this determination.

WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?

Questions About Procedures:
Please address questions to the appropriate Division Head:

  • Lower School (K-4) Terry Smith
  • Middle School (Gr.5-8) Hassan Jones
  • Upper School (Gr. 9-12) Larry Frye

Questions About Billing:

  •  Questions about billing should be directed to Cindy Harrell in the Business Office.

Questions About Student Progress:

  •    If you desire a parent-teacher-SSP conference, please contact your child’s classroom teacher or advisor.

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