The students who come to The New Community School are bright, but have specific language skill deficits. These challenges can impair their ability to acquire knowledge and their ability to demonstrate what they know. Standardized testing reveals deficits in reading, spelling and/or math computation skills. Deficits in written expression, organizational skills and study skills are more difficult to quantify, but are no less crucial for academic success at the secondary level. All of the academic departments have built-in structures and strategies that are designed not only to help our students to compensate for their skill deficits but to help them develop reliable and effective organizational and study techniques. As students develop the skills needed to succeed in future educational settings, supports and structures are gradually withdrawn and students are expected to exercise greater independence.
To ensure that language skill deficits do not prevent success in school, The New Community School provides numerous academic support systems. For example:
- Weekly assignment sheets are distributed to students on Monday and posted in a central location to ensure students know what is due each day.
- A color-coded notebook and folder system is used to help keep materials organized.
- A 40-minute non-credit study hall (Extra Help) meets each day. Students may see teachers for help, begin assignments due the next day, or complete tests.
- English literature assignments are read to many students in grades 6-9 during Extra Help. Other forms of reading support (for students in any grade) include tapes, CDs and text-to-voice computer software.
- Notes are typically written on the board in classes and students are expected to copy them. (Teachers at the lower grade levels never lecture, and even at the upper levels lectures are rare.)
- Study guides are provided prior to tests with a full-period in-class review session preceding each test. Several days of review precede semester exams.
- Some students receive special testing, which may include the services of a reader or a scribe.
- Many students type notes, homework and tests.
- A supervised after school study hall is provided each day for any student who comes to class without homework due that day.