Learning Support

At Penn Charter, we lead students to recognize and understand their individual learning styles.The process begins in Lower School and continues in Middle School. In Upper School, the ninth grade curriculum includes a one-quarter course on learning skills that culminates with each student writing a personal learning profile. Helping students learn how they learn allows them to capitalize on strengths while developing strategies and skills in areas that present more challenge. Parents or guardians are an important part of this process and it is essential that they work in partnership with Penn Charter in support of the student.

Brittany Kennedy

Lower School Learning Specialist

Melissa Holloway

Middle School Learning Specialist

Ann McNamee

Upper School Learning Specialist

Lower School

The Lower School learning team is comprised of four full-time specialists, a learning specialist, a language arts coordinator, a math coordinator and a school counselor. Each of the specialists has a unique role in supporting the learning needs of the students. The learning specialist and language arts and math coordinators work directly with classroom teachers to focus on student learning styles and how we can best deliver instruction to maximize learning. The language arts coordinator also directs the Learning Center, where students receive individual and small-group instruction, given by CORA Services reading specialists, to address particular learning needs. Whenever the question of integrating outside resources with school programming arises, the learning specialist coordinates those efforts, working closely with our families and the people delivering the outside resources on behalf of the student. The school counselor helps to nurture, guide, and support the social and emotional lives of our students. This is done by providing guidance in social skill development with students one-on-one, in small groups, or in regularly scheduled classroom "friendship groups."

Middle and Upper School

In Middle and Upper School, integrated learning teams, consisting of the learning specialist, school counselor, divisional leadership and school nurse, meet regularly to review students and to plan for targeted support, as needed. The Middle School learning specialist teaches a year-long study skills class to all sixth graders, as well as provides targeted one-on-one and small-group study skills to support all MS students. The Upper School learning specialist works with all ninth graders in a similar fashion.

The school learning specialists, counselors, and nurses work with teachers and parents to provide support for academic, social and health needs. Middle and Upper School students can also rely on faculty advisors for help with academic or social issues. In Middle School, students are assigned an advisor each year; in Upper School students are assigned an advisor for ninth and tenth grade and participate in choosing their advisor for eleventh and twelfth grade.


Writing and Math Centers

Penn Charter has established both a Writing Center and a Math Center for students in grades 9 through 12. Faculty and/or peer tutors staff the center, offering students one-on-one help on a drop-in basis or by appointment. Middle and Upper School students also may seek directed study with individual teachers for help with assignments in any subject.

Science Peer Tutors

The Science Peer Tutor System is a student-run resource for students who would like help in the sciences. The Science Peer Tutors can help students with anything, from seemingly minuscule assignments such as homework worksheets to proofreading lab reports. 

Students are always encouraged to meet with their teacher first and foremost, but the Science Peer Tutor System is available to help during the times listed on the online calendar. 

Appointments are made through an online calendar, where faculty-approved tutors have created appointment slots based upon their availability. A student can make an appointment by selecting an available slot for a tutor who specializes in the particular science (ex. chemistry), which can be found next to the tutor's name on the appointment slot. After scheduling online, the student will email the tutor to coordinate the logistics of the session.

For further questions, please email Department Chair Jeff Humble,

Possible Learning Accommodations

At Penn Charter, we lead students to recognize and understand their individual learning styles. The process begins in Lower School and continues through Upper School. Via units and lessons in discipline specific classrooms, advisory sessions, specific units of study designed by our learning specialists and other school leaders, and during 1:1 support sessions, students explore different learning styles, learn about mind, brain and education science and discover how best to study. They also receive guidance and support to strengthen their executive functioning skills. Helping students learn how they learn allows them to capitalize on  strengths while developing strategies and skills in areas that present more challenge. Parents and caregivers are an important part of this process and it is essential that they work in partnership with Penn Charter in support of the student. 

In order to provide assistance to students who have learning or attentional differences, each division has a wellness team, which takes a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting students with learning needs. These resource teams include: Divisional Leadership, a Divisional Learning Specialist, a Divisional School Counselor, a School Nurse, and in the Middle and Upper schools a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team.  

Some prospective and existing students are identified with specific learning differences. To assist families and the divisional wellness teams in considering if and how Penn Charter can support those students, prospective and current families can explore options for student support prior to or during the application or reapplication process and must provide the Division Director and/or the Divisional Learning Specialist with a complete and current psycho-educational or neuro psychological report that includes documented learning or attentional differences and recommendations. The members of the divisional wellness team will then discuss with the parent(s) or caregiver(s) whether and how our school can provide the various kinds of support and accommodations that are identified.

Penn Charter is able to provide some accommodations for students who have learning differences which are documented by a psycho-educational or neuro psychological evaluation. The Divisional Learning Specialist will develop a written plan known as the “Penn Charter Education Plan” (PCEP), receipt of which the parent(s) or caregiver(s) will acknowledge in writing. The Divisional Learning Specialist will distribute the PCEP to the student’s teachers and parent(s) or caregiver(s). The divisional wellness team is responsible for ensuring that the School implements the PCEP. The PCEP will be reviewed by the divisional wellness team with the parent(s) or caregiver(s) each school year and updated if necessary and will be provided to the parent(s) or caregiver(s). The parent(s) or caregiver(s) will be requested to acknowledge receipt of any updated PCEP in writing.  

Accommodations utilized in the academic program at Penn Charter are limited to those supports that are within the School’s existing learning supports, policies and facilities. Accommodations available may include: (1) preferential seating; (2)  alternative seating; (3) proximity to the teacher; (4) movement activities and breaks; (5) use of quiet spaces during assessment; (6) repetition during instruction; (7) pre-teaching; (8) re-teaching; (9) use of review sheets; (10) active memory strategies; (11) chunking/breaking down assignments into manageable parts; (12) verbal or tactile cueing; (13) extended test time; (14) modeling; (15) provision of class notes; (16) use of after school study time; and (17) reminders of missing work.

If the level of support a student needs to succeed in the academic program at Penn Charter is greater than the School’s available learning supports, the family may need to pursue external, private supports for the student and in some situations, to consider enrollment of the student at another school, if greater supports are needed. Costs vary greatly for these learning supports. The Divisional Learning Specialist will work with the family to determine the level and type of outside support that is necessary and offer names of private professionals that the family can utilize at their own cost, if they choose to do so. Penn Charter itself will implement the accommodations and supports contained in the PCEP to effectively support the student. 

Penn Charter is not obligated to provide accommodations to students under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The PCEP is a plan, not a legal document. Penn Charter’s educational professionals will use professional judgment and discretion in determining how the accommodations are utilized.