⭐️Belonging is a foundation from which you flourish.
Kate Collins, Upper School Division Head
When students arrive at Carroll’s Upper School, there is an underlying shared feeling that school is not for me. The root of the why is highly variable for each student; maybe they were diagnosed with dyslexia at an older age or they worked hard at school but gave up when little to no progress was achieved.
Eva Boscolo, 9th Grade Student
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 3rd grade. In the American school I attended in Rome, I could go to a separate room and have extra time for my work but I wasn’t getting what I needed, at all. I figured that I just wasn’t great at school and that was that. My mom didn’t give up on me; that’s how she found Carroll.
When students arrive at Carroll, our first priority is getting them to buy in to learning. We start during the Admission interview. We tell students, “School until now has been a spectator sport, you’ve been watching your parents and teachers hash it out. That stops now. At Carroll, it’s between you and your teachers. You are in charge.” We get to work on this the first day of school. Educators get to know the kids, their profiles, their challenges, their strengths. They set high expectations that are manageable. Everything we do here is purposeful and intentional. We will give each child what they need, they need to trust us first.
The first day was nerve wracking, being in a new school and not knowing anyone. It didn’t take long for us to get to know one another. This community is like a woven basket—we are all individuals but we are connected. That’s what belonging is to me, feeling safe and welcomed in a place that feels like home.
The runway to high school is short from when students start at the Upper School. Our work is to make sure they are ready for take-off. Our educators are simultaneously remediating areas of challenge while layering skills students will need to succeed in high school. For example, students work on writing clear, logical, descriptive sentences while also reading multiple novels and historical texts and learning how to annotate content and take notes.
When I arrived at Carroll, I struggled with reading fluency and was very shy about reading out loud. I was in an Orton-Gillingham tutorial which helped me to practice with only my tutor, who was so supportive. She took the time to learn about me, even finding scary stories to read after learning that I liked that genre. She helped me gain confidence. In English this year, we take turns reading out loud but have the option to skip. I have not skipped once this year!
The process of transforming students from spectators to star players takes time and dedication with their advisors, who are there to help kids manage their work and track progress. Educators share so much feedback; every assignment is graded and handed back for review and reflection. Recently, I had a data meeting with a student who was struggling and wasn’t trusting himself or the process. He had to see his growth to believe it.
At Carroll, you get what you need. You have relationships with your teachers; you can ask for help without feeling anxious. The classes are fun, the curriculum is awesome, and the Multis (especially art and makers) are really unique.
This article is part of a series from Carroll Connection 23-24: The Belonging Issue
- Carroll Connection 2023-24