Learning Support

students in a classroom table smiling and participating in class

The cornerstone of Catlin Gabel's educational approach is understanding individual learning in order to enhance teaching and learning outcomes across all four divisions of the school. The Learning Center facilitates understanding of student learning by providing a variety of services for students, teachers, and parents.

How we support students in Preschool through Grade 12

Catlin Gabel School seeks to provide an appropriate learning environment which allows all students to meet their individual learning potential and to achieve the curricular goals outlined by the school.

Accommodations and modifications in the Beginning and Lower School are made on an individual basis, depending on student need and available resources. In addition, differentiated instruction in the classroom and small group remedial literacy and math support is provided.

The Upper and Middle Schools provide appropriate learning environments for students through differentiated instruction, classroom accommodations, and course load adjustments. Modifications to curriculum and learning objectives generally are not provided.

Referrals are given to parents who seek individualized tutoring, outside therapists (e.g. Speech and Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist), or a psycho-educational evaluation with a licensed psychologist. Team communication with students, parents, classroom teachers, learning specialists, and outside support providers is an essential component to our support process.

Teaching and Collaboration

Learning Specialists provide ongoing teaching and consultation. The Lower School Learning Specialist provides small group remedial instruction based on need, in class accommodation support, and informal assessments and screens.

The Middle School Learning Specialist provides small group instruction based on need, oversees classroom accommodations, and teaches a study skills class to all 6th grade students. The Upper School Learning Specialist provides individualized student consultation and teaches foundation skills to all incoming freshmen.

In collaborative discussions with parents, teachers, and students, the Learning Specialists make recommendations to support the learner in school and at home. Recommendations include strategies for teachers, parents, and techniques for the student to use independently. These conversations also help determine the advisability of future evaluations and/or support services from outside resources.

The Learning Specialist stays in touch with students, parents, advisors, and teachers to help monitor and address student learning needs. They attend parent-teacher conferences, initiate informal check-ins, meet with counselors and division heads, work with students outside the classroom, help set up future programs, and guide future educational decisions.

Learning Specialists in all divisions meet weekly to coordinate processes and procedures to foster alignment and create effective transitions for students. The Learning Specialists and Counselors from all divisions meet monthly as part of the Student Support Team to discusses common issues and occasionally present parent information programs.

Response to Intervention Process

Response to Intervention Process: The Learning Services’ tiered process of exploration, planning and intervention to assess and support student need. The purpose is to create a more uniform and systematic approach to the intervention, screening and referral process to allow for consistent support across divisions.

Tier 1: Exploration Phase

Tier 2: Planning Phase

Tier 3: Finalized Intervention Phase


Ongoing Team Assessment

  • Are interventions working?
  • Is the student making steady progress (though still lagging behind the classroom average)?
  • Are skills being transferred independently?
  • Is more information needed through screens or informal assessments?
  • Further outside supports or psycho-educational evaluation is considered.

Psycho-Educational Learning Evaluations

Through continuous progress monitoring and assessment, the school team may recommend an outside psycho-educational learning evaluation to get more information on a students' learning.

Learning Specialists provide referrals and an explanation of the process, whether it is completed through the public schools or through a private psychologist.

This process can help parents and teachers understand more about a student's strengths and challenges and it can lead to developing strategies and techniques for optimal learning and instruction. This is done through a synthesis of the evaluation and creation of an Educational Learning Plan. A Learning Plan could include strengths, challenges, accommodations, recommendations for strategies, and a support plan with goals and remediation services to be provided. A student team is formed once a learning plan is created. The plan is shared transparently with teachers, families, and students.

Consultation and Outside Support Services

The Student Support Team provides referrals and consultation with outside support services. Outside support services are services that meet specific needs that Catlin Gabel does not provide.

These could include:

  • Speech and Language Pathology (SLP)
  • Occupational Therapy (OT)
  • Tutoring (for remediation or subject support)
  • Physical Therapy (PT)
  • Vision Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Outside Counseling support (Psychological or Psychiatric)


Executive Function Resources

Learning Differences Resources

Contact us

Questions? Please reach out

Kristy Marling, Beginning and Lower School Learning Specialist
503-297-1894 ext.2010

Carley Leins, Middle School Learning Specialist
503-297-1894 ext.3105

Jeffrey Silverstein, Upper School Learning Specialist
503-297-1894 ext.4105

Kristy Marling

Beginning and Lower School Learning Specialist

Carly Leins

Middle School Learning Specialist

Jeffrey Silverstein

Upper School Learning Specialist