Program

Student Support Services

Norwood School is committed to academic and educational excellence, and to the intellectual, personal and social development of each student. The following programs and people are in place to help students achieve academic success and personal growth and to provide social-emotional support and guidance as needed.

Homeroom and Advisory

Norwood students work with numerous teachers who are specialists in their fields. Every student also has a particular teacher who serves as a home base, provides instruction in important life skills and study skills, and is a resource for any support or assistance the student or family may need.

In the Lower School, the homeroom teacher fills this important role and is also the child’s social studies and language arts teacher. Lower school students start their day with their homeroom teacher, keep their belongings in their own homeroom desk, and make it their last stop to pack up before leaving school for the day. They may also have their homeroom teacher for reading or math.

As students enter the Middle School, they transition from homeroom to an advisory system. In fifth and sixth grades, students’ advisors are their social studies teachers. Fifth and sixth graders have hallway lockers but continue to use their advisory classroom as their home base. They meet in advisory groups first thing in the morning, during study hall, and while they’re packing up for the evening. In seventh and eighth grades, advisory groups continue to meet first thing in the morning and also for two full periods per week, plus study hall. Middle school advisory groups also work together on community service initiatives throughout the year.

Learning Specialists

Both the Lower School and the Middle School have a learning specialist on staff to support students with diagnosed learning differences when we have the means to implement the accommodations necessary to ensure the success and well-being of the student. This is a process of discovery during which the School, the family, and an outside diagnostician work together to determine the best learning plan for a student.

Norwood’s learning specialists are active members of all classrooms and participate in all grade-level meetings, serving as a sounding board for how best to present information to reach all learners. If a teacher voices concern about a student, the appropriate learning specialist will conduct direct observations across curricular settings to gain insight into the student’s learning profile. A team approach is taken when making decisions for a student: parents, teachers, division heads, the head of school, and the learning specialist are all involved in determining the best learning plan, which may include classroom modifications, tutoring support, and/or diagnostic assessments.
 
Likewise, when a student demonstrates a need for enrichment in a specific academic area, the student’s team of teachers, including the learning specialist and division head, develop an action plan. While the enriched learner is most often incorporated into a teacher’s lesson plans, the School also encourages enrichment by participating in book clubs, math clubs, competitive math teams, competitive debate, science teams, and other extracurricular offerings.

Counselors

Each division is also supported by a counselor to facilitate class discussions on a variety of age- appropriate topics and provide informal counseling for individual students on an as-needed basis. An individual student or a group of students can request to meet with the counselor or may be referred by a teacher or parent. Parents are asked to contact the counselor with any emotional or social concerns that may arise. The counselors work closely with all teachers to maintain ongoing communication and a team approach.

DEAN OF STUDENTS

In the Middle School, the dean of students works closely with the student support team and the whole middle school faculty and administration to support and guide students as learners, community members, and emerging adolescents. The dean of students participates in grade-level meetings, gathering and sharing valuable information about students and providing resources and direction for teachers, so everyone is working collaboratively in a way that best supports student growth and development. The dean frequently meets with parents as well, to ensure they have the information and tools they need to be part of the team right along with their child and their child’s teachers. Together with the head of school and the head of middle school, the dean of students serves on the high school placement team, providing practice interviews and general information for students, and advocating for students in meetings with high school admissions officers. The dean of students also manages student life in the Middle School, overseeing the student council, grade-level socials, Intersession, and other activities and groups that encourage students to jump in to enjoy and shape their middle school experience.

SCHOOL NURSE

The school nurse is a vital member of the student support team, providing information and assistance regarding students’ well-being while always maintaining confidentiality. She manages all information and protocols related to student health issues, and participates in creating and implementing strategic responses in a variety of health-related situations. When helpful, the school nurse attends student support team meetings and/or grade-level meetings. She also connects individually with students, families, and teachers to provide guidance and support on a case-by-case basis. At times, she provides direct health and well-being instruction to individual students, groups of students, and even a whole grade.

Student Support Services Team

List of 6 members.

  • Bowman 

    University of Maryland - Bachelor of Science
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - M.A.Ed. and Ph.D
  • Sara Gallagher 

    Lower School Learning Specialist
    College of Notre Dame - B.A.
    Drexel University - M.S.
  • Jessica Morataya 

    School Nurse
    Marymount University - B.S.N
    Montgomery College - A.A.
  • Laura Prosen 

    Middle School Counselor
    University of Maryland - B.A.
    Catholic University of America - M.S.
  • Lynda Saelens 

    Director of Student Support Services and Middle School Learning Specialist
    Knox College - B.A.
    Marycrest College - M.Ed. Reading Clinician
  • Travis Wooden 

    Dean of Students
    University of Tennessee - B.A.
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.