Mother Pia Program
“To enable children to learn — emotionally, academically, socially – when they need something different.”
The Mother Pia Program is the Student Learning Support Program at St. Elizabeth School and was founded by the Dominican Sister of Mission San Jose, Mother Maria Pia Baches. It has been a part of St. Elizabeth for more than 25 years. This program is funded by outside donors. The Mother Pia Program offers the following services to the St. Elizabeth Community:
Academic Screenings: Our Learning Specialists provide screening and assessment services for students of all grade levels, including, when appropriate, bilingual testing. Goals include: identifying student learning strengths and challenges, determining where breakdowns may be occurring, and administering baseline screenings of all TK, Kindergarten and new students.
Student Success Team Meetings (SST): SSTs are held when concerns arise about a student’s academic and/or social-emotional success. SSTs are led and monitored by the Program Directors and include all relevant teachers, staff and counselors. SSTs help students, parents and teachers address challenges and develop strategies for academic success.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP): A request for an IEP is initiated through the Program Director once parent/teacher conferences and SSTs have proven a greater need for assessment. The Program Director works with families to navigate the IEP process and acts as a liaison between the family and public unified school districts. The Program Director and relevant teachers attend the IEP meetings conducted by public unified school districts.
Family and Student Case Management: Case management addresses students’ emotional and academic success through advocacy, communication, education, identification of services and service facilitation.The Program Directors work closely with teachers, families and students to monitor student and family success.
Individual and Group Counseling Services: Counseling services provide emotional support for any students identified as benefiting from therapeutic services. Many issues may be addressed in counseling, most often including themes of transitions, grief, relational issues, PTSD and family concerns. Identified students will be seen as frequently as caseload and funding allow and will be referred to outside services if necessary.
Speech and Language Screenings and Services: When funds are available, our Speech and Language Consultant will screen all TK and Kindergarten students to determine the need for outside support. The Speech and Language Consultant may offer small group services for Grades TK- 4.
Inclusion and After-School Intervention: Identified students receive academic support from our learning specialists both in the classroom and after school.
New Inclusion and After-School Intervention Format
Implementing the principles of equity and equal opportunities, the Mother Pia Learning Support Program fully transitioned into an inclusion model this year. Instead of removing students from their regular learning environment for interventions, our Inclusion Specialists/Learning Specialists collaborated with teachers to ensure that students with learning and/or social–emotional needs received the appropriate support and accommodations in their respective classrooms to enable access to the curriculum. To supplement this inclusion approach, targeted individual and small group intervention was provided in the afterschool setting for students in grades 1-8 for reading, writing, and math, as outlined below.
Classroom Inclusion: Inclusion Specialists for each level (Grades K-2, 3-5,6-8) provide 5-6 hours per week of consultation to classroom teachers (depending on caseload) for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)/other diagnosis and newly referred students. During the school day, Mother Pia staff ensure that classroom accommodations are implemented and executed. Collaboration with the classroom teachers occurs to adjust and accommodate classroom assignments and to ensure students can access the grade level curriculum.
After School Intervention: Intervention teachers provide students with regular, small group support using scientifically based intervention programs and resources to meet student needs. Programs include but are not limited to, Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading and writing, Lexia, Bridges Intervention Mathematics, Bridges Number Corner, Words their Way, Read Naturally Reading Program, Great Leaps Reading Program and Diana Hanbury King Writing Program.