Learning Support Services
Since its founding in 1929, Fenn has valued teaching boys who have a range of learning styles. We understand that how a boy presents during his years at Fenn may not be how he performs in high school or college because significant cognitive development occurs during grades four through nine.
Many boys engage more enthusiastically in the academic program at Fenn because our teachers believe that students benefit from hands-on and project-based learning along with more traditional educational approaches. Fenn students have opportunities to publish their writing, invent and build items in our makerspace, act, sing, or play an instrument, compose music on a computer, produce a video, paint, draw, and sculpt, and demonstrate their knowledge to the larger Fenn community through a variety of public speaking opportunities.
There are some boys who might struggle during their early Fenn years; yet they go on to excel in secondary school, college, and beyond.
“The support I received at Fenn was life changing. My Lower School teacher created the resilience, work ethic, and confidence that has come to define my academic career.” Fenn Alumnus and Analytical Math Business Major at Wake Forest University
Our Director of Learning Support Services works closely with parents, faculty, and students. Therefore, when a boy is identified as having a learning issue, she is well positioned to work with his teachers and parents to develop a plan that supports his individual needs while fostering his self-advocacy and independence.
Fenn offers the following levels of support:
Tutoring provides opportunities for additional academic support and skill development in the areas of reading, writing, and math support. This support and skill development is accompanied by training in time management and organization skills; furthermore, for those boys who require additional support, we offer instruction in study strategies, note-taking skills, and test-preparation skills. Students may receive assistance in small group or one-on-one tutorials, depending on the need(s) of the student and availability of learning specialists. The goal of tutoring at Fenn is to foster self-advocacy and independence through an understanding of individual learning styles and skill development.
The after-school study hall program provides a safe, supportive, and productive place for boys to develop strategies for time management and organizational skills. The program offers three weekly drop-in sessions. During these sessions, all students in the after-school study hall have the opportunity to work in a quiet and respectful learning environment that boys may eventually replicate on their own. In addition, they receive support and strategies for creating an action plan before starting assignments.
In regard to the additional levels of support at Fenn, our primary level is the ease of accessibility to teachers. There are various times during our schedule which allows for students to seek additional help from their classroom teachers (daily help and work period in middle school and study halls and twice weekly academic study sessions proctored by the students’ advisors). Furthermore, there is a math extra help room available to Middle School students during help and work and, in the Upper School, specialized study halls staffed by English and math faculty members. Boys practice our motto of Sua Sponte (“in your hands”) by identifying their own needs for support by seeking out these opportunities.
Throughout a boy’s years at Fenn, he is exposed to various types of technology that further support individual learning styles and many executive functions skills such as time management and organization. Fourth and fifth grade students have access to laptops and iPads, while sixth through ninth grade students have iPads. Boys are also encouraged to use audiobooks, e-books, and the dictation ability of the iPad to supplement their learning. Fenn uses a Learning Management System (LMS) where homework is posted for all classes and teachers may customize class pages with additional resources and information.
Our teachers and learning specialists emphasize and cultivate each student’s potential. We know that when boys feel understood and appreciated during this critical time in their lives—from grades four through nine—they become motivated and confident learners and self-advocates.