Learning Specialist


Learning Specialist/Counselor: Mrs. Carolyn Ullman, cullman@stclarepdx.org

 

The Learning Specialist Program (LSP) serves the entire school community and is designed to help each student feel and be successful at school. Programs administered through this department include: the RTI* program, counseling, consultation, school-wide universal screening, differentiated instruction for all learners, special supports for students who struggle and/or excel, learning intervention groups, needs-based "push in" services in some classrooms, ongoing teacher education and support, and a parent education library.  We also have learning support assistance to expand our capacity to reach all learners.

The learning specialist is also responsible for some individual educational testing for students grades K-8 and  triennial testing in grades five and eight.   The process begins with a recommendation from the student’s teacher.  Therefore, parents who feel their child should be assessed should initially contact his or her classroom teacher. Students with testing on file documenting a specific disability qualify for an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), and are eligible for a program of classroom accommodations determined by the learning specialist in consultation with teachers, parents, and the principal (the learning team).

We make every effort to help our students through classroom accommodations and learning interventions, and coordination of  services such as:  outside tutoring, counseling and other specialized therapies. We must ask that parents respect our professional judgment in this area and support our recommendations; this cooperation ensures that students can productively remain at St. Clare. We also ask that parents share any and all testing to help us meet our students’ needs. Confidential testing material is treated with extreme sensitivity and care. Occasionally, even with intervention, a student presents needs beyond the resources we have; we will make every effort to work with a family towards mutually agreeable placement for those students.

 

 

*We have a Response to Intervention (RTI) program at St. Clare.  Using our universal assessment system (meaning:  everyone takes it!), we can identify students that are not meeting benchmark. 

Tier one is the intervention level within the classroom delivered by the teacher (ex:  reading groups, math groups, preferential seating, one-on-one help, organizational systems, etc.). 

Tier two is small, evidence-based intervention groups outside of the classroom to target specific skills and needs of the students delivered by the learning specialist or the learning support assistant (ex: Orton-Gillingham groups, challenge groups, math groups, fluency groups, friendship groups, ELL services, etc.).  Students not meeting benchmark in grades K-3 are usually recommended for the small skills groups.

Tier Three is one-on-one tutoring outside of the classroom.   If a student has a documented learning disability  and needs this intensive one-on-one intervention, we are, in most cases, able to offer that support.  Students with diagnosed learning differences usually need all three tiers of support.