Chesapeake Learning Center at West Nottingham Academy
The Chesapeake Learning Center (CLC) was founded in 1984 to provide direct services to students with Learning Differences in a small boarding school environment. While WNA has a history of providing individualized attention to its students, the CLC recognized the need to provide specialized instruction and supports from teachers with a deep understanding of educating exceptional students. The CLC program recognizes the strengths in each student and strives to enable our students to understand their challenges, and to employ strategies to succeed in a college preparatory environment. Many students with exceptional profiles have been underserved in their previous placements, and the CLC works with each student to overcome the effects of this to become effective self-advocates and to confidently engage in college or university as a WNA graduate.
The CLC program at WNA is proportional to the size of our school (approximately 10% of our students receive CLC services). Our students are selected on their potential to succeed in a college preparatory environment when offered direct daily support, advocacy, and monitoring from the CLC staff. The staff consists of Mr. Conner, Director and Mrs. Jessica Schafer, Assistant Director. Both Mr. Conner and Mrs. Schafer hold master's degrees in Special Education and each contributes a unique set of skills and experiences to the CLC. They share a passion for teaching students with learning differences and are committed to the success of each student in the Chesapeake Learning Center. Mrs. Schafer and Mr. Conner are entering their third year as a team. WNA initiated the CLC program 31 years ago, and continues to strive to provide comprehensive services to students with learning differences. and to improve the Chesapeake Learning Center as a model of best practices in education.
The CLC Staff
Mr. Conner is a native of nearby Chester County, PA, where he resides in a small rural village with his wife, and a West-Highland Terrier, a cat, and three thoroughbred horses. He is a graduate of Sanford School in Hockessin, Delaware; earned a BA in History at Lincoln University; and later a Master of Arts in Special Education at Eastern Mennonite University. Mr. Conner has worked with students with special needs throughout his career in education, supervising a program with 250 special needs students at a local charter school, and most recently, worked with special education students in a cyber-charter school. At the charter school, Mr. Conner developed a program that successfully prepared students for post-secondary education, with particular success with high performing students with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. At the cyber-school, Mr. Conner worked directly with students in the urban inner city neighborhoods of Chester, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, as well as students in remote rural areas of Pennsylvania. In addition to his duties as Director of the Chesapeake Learning Center (CLC), Mr. Conner works in the classroom with CLC students, teaches Psychology, and serves as an assistant coach.
Originally from Maryland, Mrs. Schafer comes from the boarding school world. She attended Mercersburg Academy for all 4 years of high school and is very comfortable in the WNA boarding school environment, where she serves as a dorm parent. After graduating from St. Francis University, Mrs. Schafer pursued a career in education and gained experience in many different types of classroom settings including a juvenile prison, English as a Second Language classrooms, gifted education, inclusion classrooms, and special placement. Mrs. Schafer moved to West Nottingham from Washington DC where she spent the past 2 school years at The Lab School of Washington gaining experience and knowledge serving students with a broad spectrum of learning differences. While at Lab, Mrs. Schafer earned her Master’s degree in Special Education at American University. In addition to her duties as a dorm parent and CLC teacher, Mrs. Schafer is a coach in the very popular Zumba class and teaches Psychology. In her free time she enjoys running and cycling with husband Brook Schafer, a Maryland State Trooper, has an infant son, Wyatt, and a two-year-old Dalmatian, Princess Leia.
The Chesapeake Learning Center offers the following services:
* A written plan for your child based on evaluative data and anecdotal input from the student and parents
* Planning and support to address and remediate organizational (executive function) issues
* Daily monitoring of grades and assignments
* Weekly communication with parents and guardians
* Scheduled time to work with CLC staff (4 scheduled periods per week- more time available by arrangement)
* Testing and other accommodations through collaboration with content area instructors
* Inter-departmental coordination with deans, counseling department, and the school nurse
* Monitoring and support of students throughout the school day, after school hours, and on weekends
* Tutoring and academic help for assignments, projects and papers
* Remediation to address mild to moderate learning disorders
* CLC advocacy to instructors, administrators, and staff on behalf of the student
* CLC support to help student to become a confident and effective self-advocate
* CLC collaboration with the WNA College Counselor to facilitate and enhance the college search and application process for a strong transition to post-secondary life
* A primary point of contact and liaison between parent and school
*This is not an exhaustive list of services. The CLC will collaborate with the WNA deans, administrators and parents to accommodate a student with an exceptional profile.