St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, located in the Palisades section of northwest Washington, D.C., is a parish day school enrolling more than 480 students on two campuses. The program begins at the three-year-old Nursery level and continues through Grade 8. St. Patrick’s students, whose families live throughout the Washington D.C., metropolitan area, go on to a variety of fine independent schools upon graduation.
The Upper School includes Grades 4 and 5 on the Whitehaven Campus and Grades 6 to 8 on the MacArthur Campus, located a half mile away. There are approximately 230 students enrolled in the Upper School, one of three divisions (along with the Nursery School and the Lower School) that comprise St. Patrick’s. This position is located on the MacArthur Campus, school-home in 2019-2020 to about 120 students, with primary responsibilities in Grades 7 and 8.
Grades 6 to 8 students are assigned to advisory groups of seven to nine students, which meet each morning to start the day. For the rest of the academic day, students work in larger groupings of 15 to 18 students. They are grouped by ability in math, but they are not grouped by ability in the other core academic areas of humanities and science, or in any other instructional area or activity. Grades 6 to 8 teachers collaborate with two Learning Specialists who provide students with additional academic support as needed through the Writing & Learning Center. Special teachers in religion, art, music, Spanish, technology, and physical education also work with Upper School students across the week.
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
Students at St. Patrick’s comprise a range of learning profiles. In order to support all students in their academic efforts, St. Patrick’s has created, and developed over time, the position of Learning Specialist. At the MacArthur Campus, these specialists direct and teach in the Writing & Learning Center, which is designed for students needing additional support in the skills necessary for success in their schoolwork. A small number of students at each grade level work throughout the school year with Learning Specialist support. This work occurs in small groups pulled out of the classroom and within the context of the larger classroom, depending on the given unit of study, the particular needs of the students, and the level of attention required to meet those needs. In the whole-class setting, the role of the Learning Specialist varies. S/he might be the lead instructor for a skill-based mini-lesson, teach a study skills class, or work with individuals or small groups to follow up on previously introduced material. Instruction includes strategies for reading, writing, organization, and studying—with a particular emphasis on writing—and the Learning Specialist generally works with each class section, in either a small-group or classroom setting. Math has not been as significant a focus of the Learning Specialists, although the new specialist should look for ways to support student learning in math.
Learning Specialists focus on the identified group of students with learning needs. At the same time, s/he helps all students recognize the value of support by reaching out to a variety of students in the whole-class setting and by pulling out students who are not part of the regular support-based groups when the opportunities present themselves.
Learning Specialists work in collaboration with the various subject-area teachers to design and implement a curriculum that supports the complete range of student needs and abilities in those classes. Generally, small-group, pull-out lessons relate directly to what the students are learning in class, so the Learning Specialist must be intimately familiar with classroom curriculum. Weekly meeting time between the Learning Specialist and each grade-level team is scheduled to facilitate the collaboration.
In addition to being a part of the classroom teaching-learning environment, the Learning Specialist will be responsible for the following tasks:
In coordination with the MacArthur Campus Director and the Advisor, managing cases of students with special learning needs, which includes monitoring academic progress and working with teachers and families in understanding and addressing specific student needs and strengths.
Maintaining Individual Resource Plans for students with special learning needs documented by outside evaluations/testing reports or internal teacher observations/reports. Maintaining the Individual Resource Plans includes interpreting testing and, in coordination with the Head of Upper School and the MacArthur Campus Director, assisting teachers in implementing stated accommodations, as well as designing additional support strategies as needed.
With the Head of Upper School and relevant subject-area teachers, participating in discussions to help determine whether a student would benefit from subsequent outside testing.
In coordination with the Head of Upper School, assembling and maintaining a list of academic support services for families who seek additional support for their children.
Writing periodic narratives for inclusion in student report cards.
Participating with teachers and parents in discussions involving students with particular needs.
Administering standardized testing for students with special accommodations.
Assessing candidates for admission to the Upper School at St. Patrick’s.
A successful candidate for Learning Specialist will be positive, collaborative, and flexible, as the demands of this position can vary day-to-day. S/he will have a degree in special education or a related field (bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred); an interest in and depth of knowledge about the learning process for children in the upper elementary/middle school grades; a strong interest in the particular academic and social-emotional needs of those students; a minimum of three to five years of successful teaching; the ability to work constructively with others; experience in providing screening testing for students; and skill in interpreting test reports. The successful candidate will also successfully complete the required background check.
Candidates for the position of Learning Specialist should submit a cover letter, resume, and list of names and telephone numbers of at least three professional references to Dan Spector, Assistant Head of School/Head of Upper School, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway, NW, Washington, D.C., 20007, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School
St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School is an independent, coeducational, parish day school located in the Palisades section of Northwest Washington, D.C., serving more than 480 students from three-year-old Nursery through Grade 8. For more than 60 years, St. Patrick's has been providing a vibrant, challenging coeducational school environment that balances tradition and innovation in an educational program that emphasizes the acquisition of essential skills, integration of disciplines, and active learning. It seeks to educate young people who will grow in intellectual and academic strength, personal integrity, openness to change, commitment to service, and confident and ethical involvement in the world. St. Patrick's students, whose families live throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, go on to a variety of fine schools - including local independent day schools, boarding schools largely in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions and, less frequently, public schools - upon graduation.
Campuses include the Whitehaven Campus, home to Nursery through Grade 5, and the MacArthur Campus, home to Grades 6, 7, and 8. There are three divisions: Nursery School (Nursery and PK), Lower School (Kindergarten to Grade 3), and Upper School (Grades 4 through 8).