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Diverse Learning Needs

DePaul College Prep is committed to providing curricular support to students with diagnosed learning differences throughout the school. Learning specialists are able to offer targeted strategy support in reading comprehension, written expression, math, and executive functioning. Instructional support is provided inside and outside the classroom.

Learning specialists also manage classroom and testing accommodations, ensuring that students receive what they need in order to meet their potential. Learning specialists maintain close communication with teachers, parents, and outside professionals, as well. In addition, learning specialists work with students to help them become independent learners by supporting their understanding of the success attributes: self-awareness, proactivity, perseverance, goal setting, use of support systems, and emotional coping strategies.

Questions?

Please contact our Head Learning Specialist:

Mrs. Elizabeth Underwood
eunderwood@depaulprep.org
(773) 423-5031

Eligibility for Support Services 

Students are eligible for learning support services if they have a diagnosed learning disability and/or ADHD that are included in an IEP, 504 Plan, or private evaluation. Documentation must be submitted to DePaul College Prep in order to receive additional support. Depending on the student’s learning profile, support can be provided two or three days per week. As the student progresses through DePaul College Prep, the goal is for learning support to decrease in order to promote independence. At the beginning of each semester, the student and parent(s) or guardian(s) will receive a plan for the student’s learning support and will need to sign this and return to the student’s learning specialist so that all parties are aware and in agreement over the support to be provided for that semester. 

Referral Process 

If a parent, guardian, or teacher recommends a formal evaluation for a student who is undiagnosed, the learning specialist will schedule a staffing with the student’s teachers, counselor, and parent(s) or guardian(s). The team will review the data that supports the need for an evaluation. After the evaluation, the team will review the diagnostic report together and, if needed, will write a plan for learning support.

Classroom accommodations offered 

  • Preferential seating 
  • Teacher check-ins 
  • Access to assistive technology, such as audio books 
  • Access to classroom notes, when available 
  • Access to a calculator
  • No penalty for spelling errors

Testing accommodations offered

  • Extended time by 50 percent 
  • Testing in a separate space with minimal distractions 
  • Stop-the-clock breaks 
  • Directions read orally 
  • Answers marked directly in the test booklet (no scantron) 
  • Use of a calculator 
  • Use of iPad to type written responses

Assistive technology offered

  • Bookshare 
    • Bookshare is a free service for students with a diagnosed reading disability. Students will have an account through DePaul which will allow them to download novels and/or textbooks to their iPad in order for text to be read out loud. 
    • Students are able to customize the print size, the font, and the rate at which the text is read out loud. 
  • Notability 
    • All students at DePaul College Prep are required to download Notability to their iPad. Students are able to access speech-to-text (voice typing), highlighting, and annotating. This app costs $8.99. 
  • Voice Dream-Reader 
    • Students with reading disabilities are also encouraged to download Voice Dream-Reader. This app allows any .pdf and web page to be read out loud. It also syncs with the student’s Bookshare account. Many features are offered through this app: reading modes, synchronous highlighting, audio controls, and annotation. The app costs $14.99.

Our Team

Elizabeth Underwood

Elizabeth Underwood

Literacy Learning Specialist
Student Services, Learning Specialists
Claire Kelley

Claire Kelley

Learning Specialist
Student Services, Learning Specialists
Christopher Kuller

Christopher Kuller

Mathematics Learning Specialist
Student Services, Learning Specialists