Major Gift Expands Learning Strategies and Academic Support Services Program

In September 2021, Head of School Roslyn Benjamin announced that the Grass Family Foundation made a significant investment to establish, expand and enhance The Children’s School’s Learning Strategies and Academic Support program. The program now offers more services and differentiated learning to support more TCS students. 

“The Grass Family Foundation is very proud to support the expansion of the Learning Strategies and Academic Support program at TCS. We see a great need to help students with all different abilities to receive support at the school of their choice, and we want TCS to be that school,” said Elizabeth Grass Weese, CEO of the Grass Family Foundation. “Now even more students will benefit from TCS’s child-centered, joyful learning environment.”

While the Grass Family Foundation established, expanded and enhanced the program, significant gifts from two other TCS families will help to sustain the program and keep future costs low for other TCS families whose children use the program’s services. 

“Throughout my career as an educator and administrator, I taught and supported elementary and middle school students with a range of academic, social-emotional and behavioral skills,” said Roz. “I understand the challenge of finding an off-campus learning specialist to help develop a student’s skills while also maintaining the integrity of the school’s academic program. Thus, I am thrilled that the Grass Family Foundation has made a significant commitment to TCS’s Learning Strategies and Academic Support program to provide more on-campus support and services to even more students, making it possible for more kids to learn and grow at TCS.”  

During the 2021 – 22 school year, this investment allowed us to focus on students who need additional literacy and mathematical support. Literacy and math specialists partnered with classroom teachers to coach them on math and reading strategies and help to provide a more cohesive learning experience for all TCS students across all grade-levels as we prepare students for challenging high school admissions and academic success beyond TCS.

For the 2022 – 23 school year, we will further expanded the program to include an on-campus speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist and executive function coach. 

The on-campus occupational therapist, Sam Chong, and speech language pathologist, Andi Kaufman, meet with students during the school day, allowing for more collaboration with classroom teachers to ensure academic alignment for students who need support. 

The executive function coach, Cristian Eden, provides individual and small group student support and also teacher coaching. All students receive support in managing their school lives and further developing the skills needed to manage their school work and relationships.

“We’re excited about the grant that allows us to add more staff to the department, including a speech language pathologist to help kids with speech articulation, language processing and building reading development and phonological awareness skills,” said Michelle Toma-Harrold, Director of Learning Strategies and Academic Support Services. “The occupational therapist helps students with self-regulation, fine motor skill development for writing and other things, and the executive function coach helps with self-regulation in the younger grades and time management, organization, homework completion, calendaring, and more with our older students.” 

The Grass Family Foundation’s significant investment in brave learning upholds TCS’s dedication to play, protecting childhood, and a deep commitment to diversity of all types, including diverse learning profiles.

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