Student Support

The Student Support Team (SST) provides accommodations for students in need of mild, short-term learning and/or social-emotional intervention. The SST is a trans-disciplinary team comprising of Ricks Center specialists.

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    School Psychologist

    Our School Psychologist is an expert in the mental health, learning and behavioral needs of students.

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    Occupational Therapist

    The Occupational Therapist at Ricks provides expertise in sensory integration, helping students to improve motor functions and build information processing skills.

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    Reading Specialist

    Ricks Center's Reading Specialist provides expert intervention for students who require additional support to supplement the classroom literacy curriculum.


Main Functions of the Student Support Team

Utilizing a collaborative model, Ricks Center considers parents, teachers and outside service providers to be vital members of each student's team. The SST works in consultation with this team to assess the needs of individual students and determine an appropriate course of action. If short-term intervention is deemed necessary, parents will be notified and permission requested.

For students with a diagnosed disability or disorder, the SST will meet with parents and teachers to determine eligibility for a plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Teachers and families have input in the development of Section 504 plans, and once approved and signed by all stakeholders, the school is legally obligated to provide all supports and accommodations set forth in the plan. When teachers have questions about accommodations for a student, they will seek clarification and/or assistance from the SST.

Although the SST provides limited support and accommodations for individual students, it does not provide intensive and/or long-term intervention, as these services are beyond the scope of SST resources. If deemed necessary, the SST will advise parents to seek outside agencies for additional assessment, evaluation and/or services. If your child is receiving outside support services, Ricks Center will request that you sign a release form allowing teachers and staff to communicate with outside service providers.

School Psychology

  • What is School Psychology?

    School psychology is the science of mental health, learning and behavior in education. School psychologists assist students academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally within the educational environment, developing supportive partnerships with students, families, teachers, school staff and outside service providers.

  • How does school psychology work at Ricks Center?

    Most students face occasional challenges related to learning, social relationships, decision making and managing difficult emotions. Such challenges can be especially prevalent in gifted students and may lead to children feeling depressed, anxious, worried and/or isolated. The Ricks Center School Psychologist works alongside students, families, educators, and members of the community to help understand and resolve these short-term issues, allowing children to thrive in school, at home and in life.

    Working collaboratively with teachers and families, the School Psychologist can provide tailored strategies and techniques, or recommend outside services, in order to help individual students in a comprehensive manner. For students with a qualifying diagnosed disability or disorder, the School Psychiatrist is responsible for writing and helping to develop a Section 504 plan.

    The Ricks School Psychologist does not provide intensive, sustained therapy to individual students. If such long-term assistance is required, families will be advised to seek outside services.


Occupational Therapy

  • What is occupational therapy?

    Occupational therapy focuses on the underlying components of development, promoting improvement in sensory processing, self-regulation, body awareness, motor planning, and the development of gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, oral motor, and other functional skills. Such therapy aims to improve the student's ability to interpret and organize information from the senses, and to remedy many of the handwriting, behavior, and physical problems associated with sensory integration dysfunction.

  • How does occupational therapy work at Ricks Center?

    The Ricks Center Occupational Therapist works in collaboration with teachers and families to support students in sensory integration and motor skill development as applied to daily living skills such as dressing, grooming, speaking, writing, etc. The Occupational Therapist may work with individuals or small groups on targeted, short-term interventions, or may recommend outside services.

    The Occupational Therapist does not provide intensive, sustained therapy to individual students. If such long-term assistance is required, the family will be advised to seek outside services.


Reading Intervention

  • What is reading intervention?

    Reading intervention is supplemental assistance in reading and writing skills based on the assessed needs of individual students. This intervention focuses primarily on phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, fluency and comprehension, with the goal of increasing reading behaviors and ability levels. Reading intervention can occur both in and out of the classroom environment.

    Reading intervention may be beneficial for students who:

    • Require additional support in reading and/or writing
    • Are diagnosed with a reading or language disability
    • Have a Section 504 plan
  • How does reading intervention work at Ricks Center?

    The Ricks Center Reading Specialist primarily provides teachers with support in the instruction of reading and writing using the workshop model. The Reading Specialist may also work one-on-one or in small groups with students requiring additional support (beyond regular classroom instruction and teacher support) to achieve grade-level reading. Reading support interventions are short-term and targeted. Based on the recommendations of the SST, families may need to seek outside evaluations and tutoring services.


Understanding Giftedness

Ricks students join our community with their own curiosities, characteristics, and passions. Visit our Understanding Giftedness page to learn more about gifted learners. 

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