“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Psalm 139:14 is the foundation upon which CCA builds its Student Support program. We strongly desire that our students see themselves as God does – “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Through this lens, we focus on ministering to our students educationally, emotionally and spiritually. We find that learning is both an individual and corporate process. As such, we have resources available in our elementary school to assist with academic, emotional and spiritual needs. These resources provide us the opportunity to minister to the child as a whole and not just in part. CCA seeks to meet the various learning needs of all of our students. As we minister to these students it is our prayer and heart’s desire that they come to view themselves as a creation of God, bearing gifts and strengths God purposed and planned uniquely for them. This is our mission field and we do not take lightly the responsibility to build and grow disciples and scholars.
In the Elementary Counseling Department we see each student as a magnificent creation of our Heavenly Father. It is our desire that they recognize that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). A student can be brought to the attention of the School Counseling Department for a variety of reasons. Most often those reasons are related to emotional or social struggles. Students that are candidates for preventive intervention can also be brought to our attention so that we might help support a particular transition that is occurring in their lives. Parents and teachers are important and valued partners in this process, helping us to tailor our services to the needs and developmental stages of each child. Our goal through this process is to help our students shift their thoughts and behaviors so that they might see their circumstances through the lens of God’s grace and perfect plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11).
School counseling services include individual sessions, small groups, classroom push-in, and ourmentoring program. We work closely with the Elementary Administration and the Student Support Team to keep abreast of the needs of our students and the ever-changing dynamics within the classrooms. We continually strive to find relevant and Spirit-led ways to serve our students and their families. We also collaborate with outside professionals who may be working with our students (i.e. therapists, doctors, etc.). We consider the raising of children in the ways of the Lord and for His glory the highest of callings. We are honored and humbled to have the privilege to partner with parents and teachers in this endeavor.
During individual sessions, we offer biblical guidance and its application to the various challenges that our students may be experiencing. These challenges may include anxiety, friendship struggles, family transitions or difficulties, loss of loved ones, chronic illnesses, fear, time management, and organization.
Friendship Groups and Banana Splits are examples of small groups that we offer within CCA’s elementary school (for students from families with divorced or separated parents). The School Counseling Department also partners with the elementary administration to co-lead a program called Creamsicle Club for all of our fourth grade students. For seven weeks, these students meet once a week, in a small group setting, to discuss topics related to social skills. Topics developed in these meetings include the importance of seeing ourselves through God’s eyes, having good communication skills, as well as how to manage conflict, anger, and teasing.
We provide as-needed support to teachers by customizing in-class presentations to address concerns that they have identified within their classrooms (i.e. how to be a good friend, respect, kindness, etc).
Our Mentoring Program is administrated in collaboration with the CCA High School Counseling Department. In this program we match students from our senior high school with select elementary students who we feel, for a wide variety of reasons, may benefit from time spent with a high school student who loves the Lord and would be an encouragement to them. These pairs meet weekly for a half hour. The relationships forged between the high school students and the elementary students are an immense blessing to our elementary students and are often the high point of their week! Going through a devotional twice a month is an integral component of the program. With the help of their mentors, elementary students are able to journey through God’s Word and receive guidance on how to apply it to their own lives.
Academic Student Support
It is our firm conviction that our students are perfectly and wonderfully made and created in the image and likeness of God. With this in mind, we seek to partner with families to develop educational plans that provide supplementary supports to the learning process and in turn help facilitate successful learning outcomes. CCA’s educational plans represent the accommodations and supports we are able to provide within our given resources and structure, coupled with scaffolding and support from outside the school. We consider it a great honor to support our children’s learning needs and are similarly blessed when we can rejoice together in their successes, big and small.
Remaining honorable to our core principles of caring for the whole child, and embracing the ideal that our students are all created in His image, Academic Student Support values first and foremost the relationship between parent and teacher. It is from within this trust bond where initial concerns may be discussed and revealed. When additional support is necessary, our Student Support Team collaborates with the parents and teachers to build a partnership that will facilitate the goal of working together to yield solution-based interventions.
The support that CCA offers is designed to be implemented in a tiered approach (least invasive to most invasive). It is our goal that with supports provided within the regular curriculum, or possibly, with pull out remediation, the student will achieve academic success. We consider ourselves blessed to have talented professionals able to provide such supports when necessary. However, we remain ever mindful of the scope of our ability to support more intricate learning needs. Our focus must always be on the children and their best interest. Therefore, in some situations, when our ability to support learning is limited, due to the scope of a student’s needs, it may be necessary for a student to discontinue enrollment in order to secure a placement that can provide a more accommodated environment and a better chance for advancement and a complete education.
CORA Services is an outside vendor that provides educational services to over 140 schools in the Philadelphia area. CCA is currently blessed to have the services of a CORA school psychologist, pull out support teacher and speech/language therapist to assist with student learning needs. CORA’s staff joins with us in a shared vision of the value and unique potential of each child. Based upon specific areas of need and focus, students are pulled out individually or in smaller groups to receive direct and explicit instruction.
A student may be eligible for accommodations if an evaluation has identified him/her with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) or a medical diagnosis. The school psychologist and the Student Support Team determine the appropriate accommodations to implement for each student’s specific needs. Parents and the team typically reassess on a yearly basis to determine if the current accommodations are beneficial.
Elementary Resource Room
The Resource Room
Our resource room is a separate, remedial classroom where students with weaknesses, such as specific learning disabilities, etc. are given direct, specialized instruction and academic remediation and assistance in a small group setting.
Guided by the goals of EP (Education Plan), the student attends the Resource Room for a portion of their day for instruction in language arts and/or math. Calvary Christian Academy does not offer Resource Room for other subject areas. EP meetings typically occur at the beginning of the school year. Prior to the meeting, the Resource Room teachers evaluate students to assess their academic functioning. These results are shared at the EP meeting and grant a baseline on the student, so that progress can be monitored.
Children utilizing the Resource Room at CCA will attend five times per week for about forty-five minutes per day per subject. The smaller group setting affords the child more check-ins with the teacher and a different pace than the general population setting in the classroom. Explicit instruction that breaks tasks down into smaller segments is an important tool for learning for students with educational weaknesses. Students often benefit from “reteaching” of core concepts taught initially in the general education classroom.
Our Resource Room utilizes resources for development in reading, writing, and math throughout the year and are highlighted at the EP meeting. Daily skills are also taught, as the Resource Room uses tasks like counting pretzel money and school store as springboards for “true-to-life” learning.
There is an additional fee for the Resource Room, $150/month.
Information for Educational Testing
If you are a parent seeking educational testing for your child, you have the option of utilizing the school psychologist from CORA services, or utilizing the services from within your local public school system. This process is called dual enrollment. The first step in the process is to contact an academic school counselor at your local public school. The public school counselor can direct you where to send your documentation of request. Attached is a sample letter that may help you draft concerns to the district noting why you are seeking testing.