Finding the right balance between enjoying the freedom and keeping academic skills sharp during the summer can be quite a challenge. Aidan's Learning Support Specialist Andy Hurwitz weighs in on the great "school vs. summer" debate.
Aidan's Student Support team is here to counsel, tutor, and create strategies to handle challenges for our students and their families.
The team has two components:
The Counseling Office
The Counseling program at Aidan Montessori is designed to teach and promote school-wide emotional intelligence and to provide support towards the social/emotional growth and needs of students and families.
The Counselor at Aidan helps students and families to gain insight and develop strategies around conflict resolution, managing friendship dynamics, and understanding feelings. The tools we use to achieve this include short term counseling to students, running parent education workshops and programs, and providing classroom observations.
In addition to supplementing the Grace and Courtesy lessons students receive from classroom teachers, the school counseling program utilizes social/emotional tools and programs such as RULER, Connected and Respected, and MindUp to help facilitate the work of the school counselor.
The Learning Support Office
The Learning Support program at Aidan Montessori is designed to teach and promote one-on-one and small group differentiated learning when appropriate. The program also communicates to the student various ways to understand education.
The Learning Support Specialist helps students and families to gain insight and develop strategies concerning learning difficulties and to provide enrichment for accelerated learners. We use an array of approaches and tools to identify student needs and to generate and implement effective plans for student learning and well-being.
The Learning Support Specialist works with faculty and families to understand each student’s needs, to identify community resources (and make referrals if necessary), to read and translate test results, and to suggest strategies for student success.
Sometimes, a little acknowledgement can go a long way. School Counselor Jessica Kwerel notes how sharing feelings of pride and celebrating certain successes can further your child's emotional development.
Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are just around the corner. Learning Support Specialist Mr. Hurwitz offers some recommendations on how best to prepare for your child's conference and questions to ask as you meet with your child's teacher.
Andrew joined Aidan in 2017 as our Learning Support Specialist. He works with teachers and parents to identify children who have learning challenges that can be helped with resources. Andrew observes in classrooms, meets with teachers and parents, and helps parents connect with resources for their children. Andrew also continues the school Tutor's work of providing direct support to children by way of tutoring, but his scope is more far reaching.
Prior to coming to Aidan, Andrew served in a similar capacity at schools in Atlanta and Seattle. This is his seventh year working as a special education teacher and learning specialist. He has worked in many different kinds of special education teaching formats - including resource, inclusion, co-teacher, and autism/behavior self-contained - including one Montessori-inspired resource room as a student teacher. He also served as an Americorps member for two years in Washington state.
Andrew has enjoyed time volunteering with therapy dogs at animal shelters. He's also having fun enjoying the greater DC area, taking classes through REI, traveling (he wants to go to Iceland and Chile soon!), paddle boarding, people watching, petting dogs, and contemplating getting a Dalmatian (complete with frequent pro/con lists).
Jessica has served as School Counselor at Aidan since 2009, supporting the social and emotional needs of students and their families. In addition to her education and counseling certifications, she has a background in ropes course facilitation, team building, and outdoor experiential education working with children, adolescents, and adults. As a member of the WAISC (Washington Area Independent School Counselor) group, Jessica participates in monthly meetings with other area independent school counselors to collaborate and share in current school counseling trends and topics relevant to the Aidan community. Jessica holds professional memberships with the American School Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, and the DC Mental Health Association. She has served as a volunteer counselor with Whitman-Walker clinic and the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing, and has volunteered with Capital Caring Hospice. Jessica is also passionate about animal-assisted therapy.
Jessica's mother, Linda Feldman, was Aidan’s librarian for 13 years. Jessica is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking and biking with her husband. They love going on adventures with their two beloved rescue dogs, Buford and Sam, as well as riding on the motorcycle.
Before joining the Aidan faculty, Emily worked in student engagement at 826 Boston, a youth writing center, and served as a middle and high school English teacher. In 2019 she earned an AMI Foundations certificate in Zurich, Switzerland, and previously spent a summer at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.
Outside of Aidan, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new places--especially while hiking or biking.