“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
– Psalm 139:14
The First Academy recognizes that all students are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and strives for all of our students to experience academic success, become useful members of the body of Christ, and reach their highest potential in both of these areas. The First Academy is committed to offering reasonable accommodations to policies and procedures in an effort to support student learning. In compliance with ADA policy, accommodations may not fundamentally alter the nature of the school’s program, the create an undue burden on students or staff, or pose a direct threat to other students.
First Academy offers reasonable classroom accommodations for all students with a documented disability. If instructional support is needed beyond what the classroom teacher can reasonably provide, services through Learning-i.e. are available at an additional cost. Learning-i.e. serves students with documented learning differences as well as health or physical restrictions. Learning-i.e. staff is trained in exceptional student education in order to provide instructional support and to effectively coordinate related services. The goal for students served through Learning-i.e. is to learn strategies related to their particular disability, gradually needing less individualized instructional support, and eventually independently advocating for themselves in the college-preparatory learning environment.
Once successfully admitted to TFA, parents may submit documentation of a learning difference or physical limitation to divisional school staff. This documentation should include a current psycho-educational evaluation from a licensed psychologist or medical examination by a licensed medical physician. The evaluation should include the following:
Evaluation must be within three (3) years and should remain current for the duration of time the student receives accommodations at TFA.
The First Academy reserves the right to make the final decision on necessary accommodations after documentation has been submitted to the school and reviewed by qualified staff.
A student who demonstrates learning difficulties in the classroom may be observed by divisional staff at the request of a teacher or parent. If learning difficulties continue, parents may be contacted and TFA staff may recommend the need for additional testing. Additional testing may include a full psycho-educational evaluation by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist or a medical examination by a licensed medical professional. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify student strengths and weaknesses and the impact on student learning within the classroom environment.
Once an evaluation is complete and documents a learning difference or health challenge, the student is eligible for Learning-i.e. services. Full evaluation information should be submitted to Learning-i.e. staff. Upon review, Learning-i.e. staff will meet with the parents to review recommendations and potentially develop a Student Academic Plan (SAP). The purpose of an SAP is to outline specific services and accommodations intended to support student learning, which will result in the development of a successful, independent learner. Reasonable and necessary accommodations are determined based on individual student strengths and weaknesses.
Learning-i.e. staff will share the SAP with classroom teachers and support the classroom teacher and parent partnership in the implementation of the student’s accommodations. Learning-i.e. staff may complete classroom observations and review school records to ensure the student is making progress.
The goal for students served through Learning-i.e. is to learn strategies related to their particular disability, gradually needing less individualized instructional support, and eventually independently advocating for themselves in the college-preparatory learning environment.
Learning-i.e. services are not designed to be used for homework or subject specific remediation. If a student needs remediation or supervised assistance in a particular subject, academic tutoring after school hours may be recommended.
Student accommodations as outlined on the SAP must be related to the needs of the student as documented in his/her evaluations.
All students with documented learning differences or health impairments are provided reasonable classroom accommodations facilitated by the teacher. These do not change the academic rigor or expectations of the curriculum.
Accommodations typically fall into four categories:
Modifications are not supported. Modications to curriculum result in a change or reduction of expectations and are not supported at The First Academy.
Kindergarten-1st Grade: Due to the developmental learning that takes places between the ages of 4 and 7, accommodations are not typically relevant for this age group. Classroom teachers are skilled at offering the development support that students need at this age. In the rare event that classroom support is not enough, Lower School administration may initiate the process through Learning-i.e. of developing an SAP.
2nd-12th Grade: Learning-i.e. offers support for these students in grades 2-12 with documented learning differences or health impairments.
Students with extended time specifically documented on their SAP may come in before school to start their tests. They will start their tests early before school and will complete the remainder of their test during their regularly scheduled class time. This policy is in place to reduce the pressure students feel as others are finishing while they are still working.
The CollegeBoard™ and ACT® offer various standardized tests that older students take for college admissions, college credit, and scholarship eligibility. CollegeBoard™ assessments include PSAT, Advanced Placement, SAT Subject Tests, and SAT. Both PLAN and ACT® are coordinated through ACT®. Both CollegeBoard™ and ACT® have a system for qualifying students to receive testing accommodations. Having a diagnosis and receiving accommodations at TFA (or any school) do not guarantee approval of those accommodations for the CollegeBoard™ or ACT®. CollegeBoard™ and ACT® each have their own requirements for accommodations, and they make the final determination regarding appropriate and reasonable testing accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities. For exact and expansive information regarding CollegeBoard™ and ACT® policies visit the following websites:
Payments for Learning-i.e. services may be paid on the same schedule as tuition payments or in annual or semi-annual payments. Student no longer in need of Learning-i.e. services may request a change in service at the end of the quarter and payment will be prorated.