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Building Self-Advocacy From Start to Finish

Building Self-Advocacy From Start to Finish
Megan Anderson, Jillian DeBusk, Kate Yohay -- Learning Specialists

At Dana Hall, the learning specialists in the Academic Support department guide all students as they navigate their way through the Middle and Upper Schools. From the moment our fifth-grade students step into the Middle School to the point where seniors encourage their families to log onto a Zoom presentation explaining the college transition process, Dana Hall students are supported and encouraged to develop age-appropriate self-advocacy skills. In fifth, sixth, and ninth grade, all students take skills classes to help students gain effective learning strategies.

As students mature, they develop their self-advocacy skills and learn to ask for what they need to be successful in their classes. With younger students or students who are just starting to understand their learning differences, the Academic Support team works with teachers, families, and students to identify how they learn best. With this knowledge, students can confidently take responsibility for their learning. In both Middle and Upper School, we teach students that self-advocacy comes in many forms: meeting a teacher at Conference Period to ask a question, attending Math Lab to review a challenging concept, making an appointment with a learning specialist to get help with effective study strategies, or working with their teachers to access their accommodations. 

Self-advocacy is just as important when students pursue higher education. To that end, the learning specialists and College Counseling Office have teamed up to host a virtual session specifically for high school seniors who receive accommodations at Dana Hall and their parents or guardians. This is an opportunity to explain the process of applying for accommodations in college, offering valuable insights and guidance to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Through its academic support program, Dana Hall provides a nurturing environment that empowers students to take ownership of their learning and become lifelong learners and confident self-advocates. As students grow in their self-advocacy skills, they are better equipped to succeed not only at Dana Hall but also in their future endeavors. By instilling in our students the importance of self-advocacy, we prepare them for the transition to college and beyond. We ensure they have the tools needed to achieve their goals and reach their full potential, thereby setting them on a path to lifelong success.