At schools, Learning Specialists are professionals who do so much for kids who need it. While it’s clear that they provide extra services and support for kids with learning disabilities, often what is not seen is how hard they work toward the greater success of aspects of the entire school - its programs, teachers, students, and parents. Learning Specialists are often the glue that holds great teaching and learning together!
Saint Andrew’s is proud to be the founding school of the First Annual South Florida Learning Specialists Association Consortium. SA brought together a premiere group of Learning Specialists from all over South Florida for a professional development event held in the Dr. Albert Cohen Family Center for Entrepreneurial Studies on Friday, January 25, 2019.
School Specialists located in the Keys all the way to the Palm Beaches and Fort Pierce flocked to Saint Andrew’s School campus for this day of presentations, workshops, discussions, networking, and mutual support.
“The South Florida Learning Specialist Association was established with the goal to collaborate on how to develop stronger programs and robust supports for students,” said Beth Nottman, Director of the Upper School Learning Lab and organizer of the event.
In this inaugural meeting of Learning Specialists in the area, over 40 people attended the consortium event from 17 different schools. Ten of those professionals presented professional learning short seminars to those in attendance.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to both share our expertise and learn from others how to enhance learning support programming at our school,” said Kim Anglemyer. Mrs. Anglemyer, Lower School Learning Specialist at SA, led a divisional collaborative meeting, which offered a unique peek into her work and her experiences particular to the PreK-Grades 5 age group.
Additional break-out sessions were led by Beth Nottman as well as from Learning Specialists from Palm Beach Day Academy, St. Stephens Episcopal Day School, Miami Country Day School, and others.
Paule Ebrahimi, Director of Learning Resources at Miami Country Day School offered a session entitled, “Minds-on, Hands-on, Hearts-on, Learning!” Her 30-minute workshop delved into brain-research that integrates academic practices with social and emotional learning strategies.
Wendie Crawford, a Learning Specialist at Palm Beach Day Academy, offered a very interesting session on the topic of Memory Work for Comprehension. “Learn more about how to use pictures, oral stories, or silent reading to help students recall facts in different modalities,” she wrote in her extract.
Impressively, Ms. Crawford noted how important student reflection is of their learning process and that, over time, students can develop greater agency with their chosen tools by learning which tools motivate them to continue to focus and work with effort.”
After a morning of learning, presenting, and collaborating, attendees enjoyed lunch in Mariani Great Hall as well as tours of Saint Andrew’s School - taking note of the ways in which our top-notch facilities support student learning at SA.
“This event was a resounding success,” commented Beth Notman. “Our goal is to continue this consortium bi-annually, with other schools hosting,” she added.
“What I am most proud of was our ability to collaborate with one another as professionals,” mused Beth Nottman.
The newly formed network of like-minded and caring professionals, now called the South Florida Learning Specialist Association, spent this day of learning to continue developing the best support in schools.
And what’s more - now they have the support of one another as a professional group to help make their success even more profound and significant for students.