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Supporting, Training, and Empowering Program for Students

At St. Mark’s, we seek to facilitate an environment where there are multiple pathways for our students to access new content and information. When students have the opportunity to make choices and take ownership for their own learning, we see an increase in their understanding, a boost in their confidence, and their passion taking shape. 

We know that every student is an individual, and we have a responsibility and excitement to support every learner in front of us. By implementing tools like our on campus Learning Specialist, classroom differentiation, and the Academic Achievement Center, we are responding to the needs of each of our students. All of these initiatives fall under the umbrella of St. Mark’s STEPS.

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What does STEPS Stand For?

Supporting children means that we care for our students, whether they have a short term need or a long term need. Maybe a student needs a little extra help understanding integers or maybe a student has a passion for creative writing and wants to expand his or her knowledge beyond the bounds of the normal classroom experience. 

We strive to train our students to employ tactical steps and approaches to help them learn how they learn. By the time they graduate, it is our hope that our students are empowered to articulate their own needs and learning preferences. We want to be a place where students feel confident asking for clarification, seeking additional opportunities to learn more, and finding their voice.This program is one that is available to all of our students, not just students with a diagnosed learning difference or accommodations. 

Middle School Girls work in the Academic Achievement Center

What is the Academic Achievement Center?

The Academic Achievement Center is designed to be a peaceful space where students can come and complete assignments, work with other students, or receive additional instructional support from teachers or learning specialists. The AAC is outfitted with large whiteboards, fidget tools and flexible seating, and tables that provide space for small group instruction or partner work, which allows students to focus and accomplish their work in the learning environment and style that best suits their preferences. If a student misses a class, they might meet a teacher to receive make up lessons or take a make up test in the AAC. If a student is working with a learning specialist, they might use the AAC as a space to work. Additionally, it is a space that can support our students with learning differences to receive the accommodations they need. The AAC has been open this entire school year, and has already served our students well. We’re excited to continue to develop the use of this space to serve each student of St. Mark’s.

Academic Achievement Center

What's Next for STEPS?

We want to meet students right where they are, and this is an ongoing process that we will see grow and develop over the course of the next few years at St. Mark’s. Some of our dreams for STEPS include facilitating peer-to-peer collaboration and tutoring, prioritizing our learners who have reached readiness for applying concepts in new creative ways, and encouraging older middle school students to serve as coordinators in our Academic Achievement Center.