Our learning specialists serve as a bridge between students, parents, and teachers. The overall goal is to help each boy figure out his own strengths and challenges. By providing skills and strategies, each boy learns to navigate classroom work and assignments, projects, and tests as they become confident in taking ownership of their own learning pathway.

As needs arise, learning specialists meet each boy at their “point of need,” providing appropriate support and enrichment.

Venesha Cashdollar, Director of Learning Resources

Ways We Provide Support

There are many ways we support our boys, who are growing and developing at different rates.

We meet with teachers to make sure we are hitting each boy’s learning style. If a need is identified, we assess it first and then formulate a plan for that specific boy. Sometimes it’s a boy looking for a challenge; other times, it might be guidance on a particular unit; or we might find that support is needed for multiple years.

How We Work

  • Identify and discuss a boy’s needs.
  • Meet and speak with the student and/or teacher.
  • Establish a learning plan to suit that boy’s particular learning style and needs.
  • If necessary, share the plan with parents to educate them on how best to help their sons to be successful in and out of the classroom.
  • Work with the student, teacher or both, and if necessary, the parent – checking in with them regularly.
  • If a student is working with outside support, learning specialists collaborate with them in order to have a team approach to best support the boy.  
  • Strive for self-efficacy in each boy.

Reading Groups

In Kindergarten through Fifth Grade, learning specialists, along with the homeroom teachers, teach reading in small reading groups to build the foundational skills necessary for success in English in Grades 6 to 8 and beyond.

Learning Resource Center

The Learning Resource Center is designated space for boys and teachers to stop in as needed or as scheduled throughout the day to meet with learning specialists and to collaborate.


Members of the Learning Resource Center monitor the testing progress of each student over his years at Allen-Stevenson. Learning specialists might also meet with teachers to analyze test results and identify possible subject or skill adaptations.

Collaborating with Teachers

Allen-Stevenson uses a collaborative teaching model. Together, teachers and learning specialists across divisions analyze the content being taught in the classroom and determine which skills need to be reinforced. As learning specialists, we encourage the boys to self-advocate by seeing their teacher to check in on an assignment or go over notes.

We push into a class for whoever needs support. Sometimes the strongest student might have trouble working with others, so we step in to provide the necessary tools for him to succeed.

Meg Wall, Dean of Upper Division Student Learning and Support

Working with Parents

If the learning specialists feel that the needs of the student require parental involvement, they will reach out to the parents to devise a plan together to support him.