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!)
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.