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Student Support Services

Kristel Solomon

Student Support Director

Student Support Services embodies The KAUST School (TKS) philosophy, principles and practices. The TKS  mission and vision to ignite curiosity, inspire creativity, and investigate solutions, are realized through our aspirations to be a courageous leader in education, pursuing excellence, inspiring discovery, and positively impact humanity. 

As one of our core values at TKS, inclusion is a central tenet of the Student Support Department’s work.   We live out this value when we support all staff at TKS in their practice of ADVOCATING for diverse learners.  This will ensure meaningful participation where there is ACCESS for students to become AGENTS of their own learning. 

This critical work can only be realized through our ongoing partnership with parents, students and faculty. We recognize the value of family partnerships in the learning journeys of our students, and commit to actively enhance the learning experiences of our students, through intentional engagement with parents and families at KAUST. 

Student learning experiences at The KAUST School are designed to support all learners so they can “thrive in and contribute to” a complex world.  We embrace learner diversity through the delivery of an inclusive learning program that celebrates and supports the unique learning strengths and the unique learning needs of our students.  Central to this inclusive learning approach is to understand how our collective contributions can support student wellbeing. 

Student Support Services are the responsibility of ALL educators at TKS.  The expertise of the roles within the Student Support Department allow for a specialized approach to work with identified students as well as build capacity within the greater faculty.   Our shared identity and goals within the learning community promote interdependence and require meaningful participation to ensure a truly inclusive learning environment. This commitment begins with drawing on our TKS core values of Adaptability, Innovation, Diversity, Inclusivity and Responsibility.  

Structure of the Student Support Department 

The TKS Student Support Department works in partnership with the entire educational team to appropriately challenge, educate and motivate each student to reach their full potential.  It is essential for each child to understand themselves as learners in order to allow for a meaningful and engaging experience. This collaborative process seeks to ensure students are accessing each learning opportunity socially, emotionally, and academically.  The Student Support Department provides a range of direct and indirect multidisciplinary and specialized services including: 

  • Talent and Enrichment 

  • Individualized Learning Program

    • Coordinator and Teaching Assistants

  • School Psychology Services

    • School Psychologist

  • Speech and Language Therapy

    • Speech and Language Pathologist

    • Coordination with external agencies

  • English Language Learner/ Multilingual Learner Support

    • Coordinator with faculty representatives in KG, GES, GSS

  • Counseling and Postsecondary/University Counseling

    • 2 (KG), 2 (GES), 3(GSS)

  • Learning Support

    • Divisional Leads, Teachers and Teaching Assistants.

The Director of Student Support  at TKS 

The Director Student Support (DSS) coordinates all school-wide intervention programming related to the following three key portfolios: language development and language acquisition, student wellbeing (including student social, emotional and behavioral development), and learner variability.  The  SSD works in partnership with the Director of Teaching and Learning to identify and provide opportunities for professional development to build greater capacity in all  educators to serve a diverse and inclusive population. 

The School Psychology Service at TKS

The School Psychology Service works with staff to identify learning and behavior needs of current students, and assists in the selection and implementation of appropriate strategies and interventions. This is done via consultation, assessment and intervention.The School Psychologist may consult and advise future admissions that may require additional learning or behavioral support. Additionally, the School psychologist serves as the designated Safeguarding Lead, which provides training on child protection and implements policies and practices to keep students safe, and support professional practice.

The Counseling Service at TKS

The Counseling Team works collaboratively with all TKS faculty to foster an inclusive, holistic and developmentally appropriate school environment that supports the school’s aim of creating a safe and thriving environment, where student’s social, emotional, and physical well-being is nourished. This is achieved through the delivery of comprehensive, age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive social emotional skills lessons, and the provision of individual and small group counseling, individual and group academic and college counseling, student and family transition support, and school programming support. Students may access the counselor directly or through a referral process from parents and or teachers.

The Speech and Language Service at TKS

The Speech and Language Pathology Services identifies and addresses students who have communication delays or disorders that are impacting their academic and social performance.  Using evidenced based screenings and assessments, the Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) provides intervention that enables students to meet academic standards (within their level of ability) by providing functional classroom strategies and/or direct interventions when difficulties are present in the following areas: articulation, voice, fluency and language impairments (e.g. expressive, receptive, social communication skills). The SLP works in partnership with parents, teachers and the multidisciplinary team to provide professional development and consultation regarding student speech and language development.  

The Individualized Learning Program at TKS

The Individualized Learning Program(ILP) facilitates student success for those students with significant additional learning needs and complex learning profiles. This includes students with moderate to intensive academic, social, cognitive and behavioral needs as well as those with co-occurring diagnoses. The ILP team works in collaboration with teachers, parents and external specialist providers ensuring a well-rounded, transdisciplinary approach to students’ individual growth. Barriers to learning are minimized by following comprehensive individualised learning plans that support specific accommodations, modifications and additional/alternative programming.  To ensure students have additional opportunities and options as they move through secondary school to graduation, the following is offered as part of the ILP:  

  • Personalised Pathways is a term we use  for options that we provide in the secondary school for students in the ILP to study a modified curriculum for some courses.

  • Personalised Pathway courses is the term we use for modified courses that can be studied inside the regular classroom or in a specialised setting within the secondary school. Students may study one or more personalised pathway courses but a student will not be in the Personalised Pathways for all his / her classes. 

 

The Talent and Enrichment Program at TKS

The Talent and Enrichment Program embodies the commitment and responsibility to Talent and Enrichment (TAEP) students to provide opportunities and experiences to maximize their high potential and allow them to flourish, thrive, and create. TAEP strives to identify students who perform at high levels in academic or creative fields compared to their same-age peers. Challenges and stimulation are provided continually  through the development and implementation of services both inside and outside the general education classroom. Services for TAEP students are an integral part of The KAUST school educational program. 

Appropriate educational opportunities for these students should meet their unique academic, creative, and social-emotional needs to develop and help them realize their potential. Students whose abilities and talents are exceptional should be met with specialized learning opportunities commensurate with their needs. TAEP students are a diverse group with varied abilities and needs and require a range of service options.

Talent and Enrichment services are integrated within the TKS system via collaborative efforts amongst administrators, talent and enrichment coordinator, classroom teachers, learning support teachers, support staff, parents, and the KAUST community, including robust, comprehensive, and on-going staff professional development regarding the unique social, emotional and academic needs of highly able learners. 

The Learning Support Service at TKS

Learning Support Services (LSS) are available to students who may benefit from  additional support in one or more academic areas. These services can be accessed by a referral process which incorporates collecting data, meeting with a multidisciplinary team and identifying a plan for a cycle of observation, intervention and reflection. Students who access LSS will typically benefit from a level of mild to moderate support. Students will be assigned a case manager to oversee their learning plan and work in collaboration with parents, teachers and students. LSS works in partnership with parents and teachers to develop a range of teaching and learning strategies to assist students with being successful within an inclusive context.  

English Language/Multilingual Learners at TKS (ELL)

TKS recognizes that students are learning through language whilst simultaneously learning language, and learning about language. Thus, every teacher at TKS is a language teacher as language is a meaning-making activity. TKS aims to support through translanguaging in the classroom; the use of a child’s full linguistic resource to make meaning. Children are encouraged to continue to develop their home language literacies; this supports development of English language skills and affirms identity.

At GES and GSS, multilingual learners are screened on admission to determine eligibility for ELL support. TKS uses the WIDA framework as a driver of equity for multilingual learners in curriculum, instruction and assessment. The  WIDA English Language Development Standards frame language and content integration. Key Language Uses identify prominent language uses across disciplines and Language Expectations identify goals for content-driven language learning. This information is used to scaffold and differentiate learning outcomes for multilingual learners. The WIDA Model assessment is used for assessment and monitoring of multilingual learners. The W-APT is used to screen multilingual learners prior to entry into grade 1.

In GES, Multilingual learners identified as new to English, have individualized or small-group instructional support both inside and outside the mainstream classroom. In GSS students with early English Language proficiency are placed in a Language and Literature class which is co-taught by the subject teacher and the academic language support teacher. 

Throughout the school, staff have access to the teacher development courses offered by  Lexis Education, offered by in-house trainers (ELL Inclusion Coordinator and NELL teacher). Support with scaffolding instruction for English Language Learners, is available to staff individually, and at grade-level planning meetings. The document ‘Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning’ describes the above ways of working in more detail.

Bio:

Kristel’s dedication and passion in the field of education has led her to work with a wide range of schools and organizations that ensure children have access to quality education so that they may find their individual pathways to excellence. Her personal commitment to leading has allowed her to work closely with the Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI) as their Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator, The Special Education and Inclusion Association (SENIA) and contribute to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Guidelines for Inclusive Education. As a workshop leader, Kristel endeavors to develop and support teacher self-efficacy in their work with all learners. Her belief in the possibilities and unseen potential of a lifelong learner has led her to explore the physiological and neurological makeup of individuals in order to gain a deeper understanding of our students and enhance our role as educators.

Kristel is a graduate of Temple University with degrees in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology. She also holds an additional graduate certification in Mind, Brain and Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.