Academic Resources

Academic Skills Center

The Melissa A. Leonhardt ’76 Academic Skills Center promotes personal and cognitive growth in girls and guides them to develop critical self-awareness, successful learning strategies and confident self-advocacy skills so that they will be independent and successful learners at Miss Hall’s and beyond.

    • Academic Skills Center
Established thirty years ago and modeled after the ASC at Dartmouth College, the Melissa A. Leonhardt ’76 Academic Skills Center's (ASC) promotes personal and cognitive growth in students and guides them to develop critical self-awareness, successful learning strategies and confident self-advocacy skills so that they will be independent and successful learners at Miss Hall’s and beyond. 
Most students entering high school or an independent college preparatory school notice a larger volume of work and higher academic expectations than they experienced in their former schools. To ease the transition into a more sophisticated and rigorous curriculum and to sustain successful academic skills and strategies, Miss Hall’s provides the ASC. If a student wants to grow by doing her very best work in class or addressing an academic challenge, her first point of contact should be with her teacher, but she may also get help in learning and study techniques from the ASC.
Learning specialists in the ASC are trained in Executive Function organizational coaching and have deep experience working with students who have AD/HD and learning differences. However, ALL students are encouraged to take advantage of this resource. The ASC individualizes its approach for each person, according to their needs. The ASC exists to support every MHS student in becoming successful.
Regular ASC support is available at three levels for a fee, depending on the frequency and breadth of the sessions, ranging from organizational check-ins to more intense academic and cognitive sessions. Short-term support in “power sessions” do not require a fee. The Academic Skills Center is located in the Humes Euston Hall Library.

Our Kitchen Table Approach

We don’t have a refrigerator in the Melissa A. Leonhardt ’76 Academic Skills Center, but we like to call the way we work with students our “kitchen table approach.” That’s because we offer a place where students feel 100 percent comfortable tackling their work under the watchful and supportive eyes of a Learning Specialist or gathering with other girls for ASC study. (We also offer cookies and other treats now and then!)
Miss Hall's School ASC
At the heart of the ASC is academic coaching, through which girls develop confidence, persistence, and motivation as we guide them with questions and opportunities for self-reflection. We may ask, “What is your plan?” or “What accomplishments are you proud of this week?” Eventually, the girls ask themselves the key questions, such as, “How can I accomplish my goal?”
We also know that girls learn best when they feel connected—to teachers, to classmates, and to the material—and we help to make that happen. Girls are encouraged to work with teachers and advocate for themselves, and the key is that we do not “do for” our students. Rather, they do for themselves. Instead we provide strategies. Of course, as Learning Specialists, we are trained in helping with issues such as AD/HD, dyslexia, and other learning differences, and we can also provide help with reading, writing, and content-specific learning strategies.
Most MHS students have a set schedule for meeting with a Learning Specialist or coming in for ASC Study, but every student at MHS is welcome to stop by the ASC for a “power session,” getting help preparing for a big test or simply taking her academic performance to the next level. Girls feel comfortable just dropping in, and you, too, will find that the ASC is a relaxed and supportive place.

Read more about the Academic Skills Center in this article from the Alumnae Magazine.

Our Learning Specialists

List of 2 members.

  • Chris Ouellette 

    Director of Academic Skills Center
  • Liza Burbank 

    History Teacher, Academic Support Specialist and Academic Coordinator
    Brown University - Ph.D.
    University of Massachusetts, Boston - M.A.
    University of Massachusetts, Amherst - B.A.
    Read Bio
492 Holmes Road Pittsfield, MA 01201
Phone: (413) 443-6401

About us

Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is a private, college preparatory, boarding and day high school for girls grades 9-12.
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