Since the 1980s, Cushing’s Academic Support program has helped students succeed in a rigorous, college-prep environment. Our unique approach integrates Academic Support into students’ school experience so they can take advantage of every opportunity to build self-confidence and independence for college and career.
A Philosophy of Teaching Excellence
Getting to know each student as a unique learner is a core ethic for Cushing teachers. Our small classes—averaging 10 students per class—already create opportunities for teachers to address each individuals’ needs while pursuing a rigorous curriculum. In addition, the school’s early entry into the field of Academic Support has given us decades of experience in serving neurodiverse learners alongside traditional learners in the same classroom.
We Start by Building Trust
When a student knows that you are on their side, it is easier for them to reflect on the obstacles they face and feel more open to exploring solutions. Most of the time students work with one Academic Support teacher throughout their time at Cushing, so these faculty establish a history of success that encourages students to stretch further and take on new levels of academic challenge. We often hear from students about how helpful it is to have someone in their corner who believes in them so deeply. Parents tell us they are grateful for how well we know their children as learners and as people, celebrating their strengths while we help them navigate challenges.
Expertise and Experience
Our Academic Support teachers have years of specialized training in helping students better understand how they learn. They also engage in ongoing professional development and keep track of the latest research in this field. They put theory into practice when they help students break down assignments into smaller components, try different approaches to tackling an assignment, and build organizational skills. Every student is different, so the blend of approaches used is unique to each learner. We bring a tireless optimism to helping each student identify and practice the methods that work best for them.
Seamlessly Integrated Support
Students meet with Academic Support teachers at designated times that fit around other classes in their schedules. This means that students don’t need to leave campus or miss other classes to get the support they need. Plus, they can still take that arts or science elective that excites them and have time for athletics and other activities when classes end.
Academic Support classes meet four days every week, so students don’t have to wait until next Tuesday to talk through how to approach the homework that is due tomorrow. They can get the support they need in a timely way to tackle both short- and long-term assignments. Our Academic Support faculty are in close communication with classroom teachers to further promote student success.
In addition, Academic Support faculty are a full part of campus life, so students might encounter them as coaches or dorm parents. Interacting with these mentors outside the classroom adds valuable layers to the student-teacher relationship.
Two Options for Support
Academic Support Coaching (1:1)
Students meet individually with their Academic Support Teacher. These 1:1 learning sessions allow students to:
- Benefit from a more intensive interventions for greater and more diverse areas of need
- Experience additional opportunities to develop metacognitive, self-reflection, and self-assessment strategies
- Develop and practice skills for self advocacy and independent learning
- Be supported and challenged in a uniquely personal environment
Academic Support Classes (4:1)
Students with similar learning styles meet in small groups of up to four students. These small group sessions allow students to:
- Develop long-term organizational and time-management skills
- Engage in personalized goal-setting practices
- Practice and refine skills for self-advocacy and independent learning
- Be supported and challenged in a small group setting
As students discover more about their own learning process, they begin to internalize new skills. They become more effective self-advocates and their confidence grows by leaps and bounds. It’s a thrill to see students take increasing ownership of the learning process for themselves.
Some students build their capacity enough to transition out of needing Academic Support before they graduate from Cushing. Other students continue with Academic Support throughout their time here, developing an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how they learn best. All Cushing students graduate with academic strategies to thrive in college and beyond.