The Learning Specialist at the Waldorf School of Atlanta not only identifies and addresses concerns about learning and behavior among individual students, but the role also melds the mainstream understanding of educational support with the Waldorf understanding of child development therapeutically and pedagogically.
When concerns are identified regarding a student’s learning or behavior, the first step is for the parents and class and specialty teachers to discuss the student’s developmental, academic, and social growth. Suggestions are shared on ways to work with the child in the classroom setting including a change of seating, tutoring, learning games, assistance with organization and study skills, and alternative or extended assignments. If the student still seems to be struggling, a parent or teacher may request support from the school’s Learning Specialist.
The Learning Specialist will observe the student in the classroom, and may recommend an assessment, or further classroom or home accommodations. A learning assessment will provide a picture of the child’s learning modality, as well as physical, visual, and auditory development. Reading, writing, and math abilities will also be evaluated, according to grade level. Class and specialty teachers, Learning Specialist, and parents review the findings of the assessment and discuss a Student Action Plan. The Student Action Plan incorporates remedies both within the home and school, as well as possible outside evaluations or therapies that will enable the student to reach his/her full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.
The Learning Specialist maintains a comprehensive professional referral list of tutors, therapists, psychologists and others who support children in their development and learning.
Our Learning Specialist is Susan Irby
Susan Irby has over 30 years of knowledge and experience in education and specialized learning. She has been owner of her own educational consulting business since 1984, training teachers in math, reading, learning styles/differentiation of instruction, test preparation, and study skills programs for students, teachers and parents. Ms. Irby has been actively engaged in the Waldorf School of Atlanta for many years. WSA employs her each year to conduct our fifth grade assessments, and evaluate and interpret the results. While her daughter attended WSA in it's infancy, Ms. Irby served, among many different roles, as a Board member, development director, and as a consultant in faculty selection and mentoring, and evaluation of classroom teaching and interaction. Ms. Irby has a BA in Education and History from Principia College, a Masters in Administration and Leadership from Emory University, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Supervision and Leadership with Reading Specialist ABD from Emory University.