I also advise parents to talk to other parents who have already made the transition at the new school. We have found here that it is very valuable for parents to talk to other parents who have already been through the same transition process. A school staff is going to be reassuring to parents, but it's more meaningful and often more helpful for a new parent to talk to an existing parent.
What factors contribute to making a student with LD who is struggling in one school thrive in another?
The first objective is to do an assessment of the student to see exactly his or her skills and to make sure that the curriculum that is developed at the new school is perfectly tailored to the needs of that student making the transition. A big factor is how individualized the education is in the new setting. If it is just as systematic as the educational offering at the previous setting, that student is not going to find success in the new setting. For the transition to succeed, the new setting must offer a truly individualized education.
Another factor is a lot of communication between the parent and school staff. The more the school knows about the student, the more the school is communicating with the family and professionals that have worked with the student before. If the school can provide its best effort, then the students are going to have a greater experience. Overall, the three key factors that contribute are assessment, individualization, and communication. One aspect that impacts a positive change is a qualified, well trained, knowledgeable, caring, intelligent teaching faculty. That is the difference between a successful experience versus not successful. Another aspect is a program that provides opportunities for a student to discover his or her own unique talent and strengths.
Kevin Pendergast is Headmaster at The Kildonan School in Amenia, NY. He received a BA in English from SUNY Albany, a master’s degree in English language and literature from Fordham University, and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.