Student Learning Services (SLS) is a program designed to support classroom accommodations and specialized interventions for students with mild learning differences in Kindergarten-12th grade. It is the goal of the SLS program to equip our students with the tools for a lifetime of learning, and to partner with families, students, and school staff as we seek to embrace God’s truth about the uniqueness God has placed within each of us.
All students in the SLS program receive individualized attention and an academic plan. This annual plan created by the student’s Academic Support Team details the level of support needed and the goals for growth. The levels of support provided through SLS are Early Intervention, Strategic Intervention, and On Watch Support.
A Read-Aloud Journey
Some of the sweetest memories with my now-grown children are the times we spent cuddled up and reading together. As a young mom, I savored those moments, fresh out of a warm bath, curled up for bedtime, warm and cozy. As my kids grew, however, I knew I would have to make a conscious effort to keep them, if not on my lap, at least by my side for read-aloud time. As I pushed on, I began to see that reading aloud to my children produced much more fruit than family bonds. In fact, reading to my kids became a powerful tool in their academic success.
As we read to our preschoolers, we are boosting early literacy skills that will make learning to read easier. For example, children learn that letters on the page represent words and the words proceed from left to right. Reading books with rhymes help young ears to hear sound patterns that are foundational to the later phonics instruction that will set them up to be strong readers. When being read to, preschoolers can also learn to sit, listen and focus for increasing amounts of time.
Extensive research demonstrates a correlation between listening comprehension (understanding spoken words) and reading comprehension (understanding written words). When children listen to stories, they strengthen their mental imagery. As our children grow and we move to reading books with less illustrations, we encourage them to “make a movie in their heads” as they listen to the story. This practice will serve them well as they later read on their own. Additionally, when we talk about the story with our children, we give them opportunities to infer, predict, and understand characters’ motivations. In fact, stories are a great opportunity to help our children grow in empathy as they see how characters think, deal with big emotions, and problem-solve.
Reading aloud to our children also exposes them to a more extensive vocabulary than they would otherwise encounter in everyday spoken conversation. In quality literature, correct grammar is modeled; our children learn intuitively what simply doesn’t “sound right”. Their word bank expands and they learn how to use language effectively. They stretch their understanding of cultures and geography of the world and a trip to the library is much less expensive than a trip to Africa! I encourage parents to read a variety of stories to their children, giving them opportunities to learn the typical school “subjects” like history and science through stories.
As you embark on your family’s read aloud journey, remember to make it a pleasant time for your children. Do not give up if they don’t like the books you’ve chosen. Do not give up if you have a few bad experiences. Keep at it! Every day is a new opportunity to build foundational literacy skills and strengthen your relationship with your kids. You are their greatest role model and you have a unique opportunity to inspire a love of reading in your children that can last a lifetime.
Proven to be highly effective, Early Intervention can positively change the academic course for a struggling student and build positive social-emotional skills for our youngest learners. This level of support works very well in our Kindergarten, First, and Second grades and provides for push-in or pull-out support including research-based curricula, multisensory approaches, and small-group instruction.
PCA recognizes that some students may need a more in-depth type of intervention. That is why we offer Strategic Intervention for students in grades 3-12 with a qualifying psycho-educational evaluation. Research-based accommodations are made within the classroom according to individual needs and strategic support is given using push-in or pull-out small groups. Students that need more support in the area of reading are given instruction using the Wilson Reading System.
On Watch Support
At this level of support, students in grades K-12 are maintaining their academic load with very little consistent support from SLS. However, in the background SLS is regularly monitoring grades, projects, assignments, and providing consultation to teachers. SLS conducts quarterly or monthly check-ins with students. This is suitable for new students transitioning to PCA, students transitioning out of SLS, or students who need support for a temporary cause (i.e. injury, trauma, academic overload). No psychoeducational documentation is required for this level of support.
Steps to SLS
Students are referred to SLS by their grade level teachers based upon assessment data, classroom observations, and parent input. Once the referral is made, the SLS team performs more assessments and observations to determine the level of need. After that, an Academic Support Team is formed which includes the parents, classroom teacher, Head of division, and SLS team member to determine the next steps.
Beginning five years ago with one dedicated SLS teacher in the Grammar School, the program has grown to include five teachers, including a Director, serving all areas of the Academy. This growth is in part due to the funding provided for the Center for Student Learning Services in memory of Karen Cunningham which serves as a unique place for students in our Academy to receive specialized services. Part of those services includes building self-advocacy, self-efficacy, and executive functioning skills through modeling and scaffolding of support.
Learn more about the specifics of SLS by contacting our department at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 615-904-0902.
Jenni Moffett joined the PCA family this fall as the Student Learning Services Director. She earned her BS degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading Emphasis from Grand Canyon University, and her Reading Specialist endorsement from MTSU. Mrs. Moffett is also a certified Dyslexic Tutor through the Institute for Multisensory Education. Before joining the PCA staff, Mrs. Moffett spent nine years directing and teaching in the K-12th grade REACH program at Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson, TN. Before that, she taught in a public school in Savannah, TN. Mrs. Moffett is very passionate about making room in our Christian schools for students who learn differently. Her goal as Director is to bring school-wide policy, classroom teacher support, self-advocacy for our students in SLS, parent resources, and clear procedures for the SLS Department as we grow in all areas of our Academy. A Tennessee native, Jenni and her husband Tony now live in Murfreesboro, and have two children here at PCA. She loves to spend time with her family, hiking with the family dog, Mudley, watching University of Michigan football, and traveling. Mrs. Moffett is so thankful that God has brought her family to PCA to be set apart for His purpose.
Student Learning Services Director
Student Learning Services Staff
Grammar School SLS Teacher
Grammar School SLS Teacher