What is the Student Support Team?
A group of staff members whose responsibilities include identification of students with academic, social or developmental needs, communication with parents and advocacy for students, and coordination of services both at CAJ and from outside resources. The Student Support Team works to help all students achieve their God-given potential.
Who are the members of the Support Team?
Ruth Spalink is the Student Support Team coordinator and middle school learning support teacher. Roberta Carrick is high school learning support teacher and manages the Learning Resource Center(LRC). Jayne Fong is the Speech-Language Therapist. Eileen Nielsen is the secondary guidance counselor. Junko Takahashi is the elementary guidance counselor. Esther Tsuji is elementary learning support teacher. Miwa Hashimoto is the school nurse. The divisional principals are also members of the Support team.
So what exactly do the various members do?
Ruth Spalink coordinates the various divisional meetings with the Student Support Team members, develops Individual Education Plans(IEP) and Official Accommodation Plans (OAP) for students with identified special needs, and works with middle school students in the LRC. Also, she collaborates with teachers and parents to support students.
Jayne Fong works with students K-12. She helps students with pronunciation, language issues, not due to a second language learning, fluency also referred to as stuttering, social skills/pragmatics which includes non-verbal cues, gestures and facial expressions we read as part of everyday conversation. Also, Jayne works with identified students in the 6th-grade class, supporting their learning needs. She works with students in the LRC during middle school study hall and develops Individual Education Plans(IEP) and Official Accommodation Plans (OAP) for students with identified special needs.
Esther Tsuji works with elementary students in the classroom and individually and develops Individual Education Plans(IEP) and Official Accommodation Plans (OAP) for students with identified special needs. She also partners with the teachers and parents to support the students.
Roberta Carrick works with students in the LRC and develops Individual Education Plans(IEP) and Official Accommodation Plans (OAP) for students with identified special needs.
Junko Takahashi is the elementary guidance counselor. Her specialty is child development, and she will work with parents regarding their child’s development. She provides short-term counseling especially related to friendship issues. Also, Junko works with fine motor and social skill and language development.
Eileen Nielsen is the secondary guidance counselor. She provides a safe and welcoming place for students to come and share joys and problems. Many of the elementary and middle school students enjoy lunch bunch. Lunch Bunch is an opportunity for students to have lunch with counselor. Usually there are a group of students, and they just chat about everyday things. This is a helpful way for the students to get to know the counselors in a non-threatening atmosphere. Junko also has a lunch bunch in her office several times a week.
Miwa Hashimoto is the school nurse. She provides care to students for illness and or injury.
What services does the support team provide?
In elementary school, we offer an Early Intervention program for 1st- graders who are struggling to learn to read. The classroom teachers recommend Early Intervention to students who may need reading support. Also, CAJ provides Homework Club, two days a week for invited students.
The Student Support Team follows a process for students who are having difficulty in class. Initially, classroom teachers consult with the Student Support Team. The Student Support Team works with the teacher, principal, and parents to provide interventions to help the concern. If necessary, the team and principal will meet with parents to discuss next steps which may include a recommendation for comprehensive educational testing. If a student completes testing, the team will review the report and write up either an Individual Education Plans(IEP) and Official Accommodation Plans (OAP). Some of the Student Support Team members, the classroom teachers and the parents then meet to develop the IEP or OAP.
The Learning Resource Center(LRC) is open every day until 4:30 pm. During the school day, select middle school and high school students are assigned to LRC for study hall, but any student can go the the LRC after school for help. Various teachers are assigned to help students in the LRC throughout the day.
What can/should parents do?
If your child is having difficulty at school, the first person you should contact is your child’s teacher.
CAJ is committed to working in partnership with parents, who are primarily responsible for their children’s education.