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The Center for Teaching & Learning

The Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) empowers all students to better understand themselves and their own learning stories while, at the same time, developing students’ self-advocacy and self-efficacy.

Meet the CTL Team

Kimberly Pottratz

Kimberly Pottratz

Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning
Brandon Jefferson

Brandon Jefferson

Center for Teaching & Learning
Katie Pepper

Katie Pepper

Center for Teaching & Learning, Grade Dean, Class of 2024
Haley Duggan

Haley Duggan

Center For Teaching and Learning
Lori Kretten

Lori Kretten

Center for Teaching & Learning

CTL NEWS

More Than Happy to Help

I use my time in the CTL to do my homework, take tests, write essays and seek help from teachers. It’s a very open space to ask for help when you need it and the teachers are more than happy to help.

Welcoming and Supportive

Whether I needed some help with my math homework, was working on a writing piece, or just wanted to chat with the other students and teachers there, the CTL always provided a welcoming and supportive place to do so.

Favorite CTL Memories

When I look back on the last 15 years, my favorite CTL memories are those with complete turnarounds.

Accomodations

Accommodations are granted to students only with completed and updated (within the last 3 years) psycho-educational testing and a thorough review by CTL faculty. MBS follows the guidelines of College Board Requirements for Accommodations. Comprehensive psycho-educational testing includes a full cognitive battery and educational evaluation.

MBS offers seven broad-based accommodations, which include:

  • Alternate Test Site
  • 50% Extended Time on Tests and Quizzes
  • Preferential Seating
  • Use of Digital Recorder
  • Use of Computer
  • Multi-day testing (exams over 90 minutes given in segments/multiple days)
  • No Scantron (mark directly in the test booklet)

Services

  • Manage all formal learning accommodations for students grades 6-12
  • Consult with teachers and parents/guardians regarding students’ learning needs and challenges
  • Make recommendations for academic support services based on a documented disability
  • Provide small group strategic instruction for academic subject areas (1-5 students) mainly for grades 6-10, referred to as “Study Strategies”
  • Meet with students one-on-one periodically to assess progress
  • Guided Homework Program - Middle School ONLY - after school for one hour, Tuesday through Thursday.  (No busing available)  Two learning specialists are available to help in all academic areas
  • Manage accommodations for College Board (PSAT, SAT and AP exams) and ACT (along with College Counseling Dept.)

     

Philosophy

Relationships rest at the core of teaching and learning. A stable emotional landscape must be present for a child’s brain to receive messages, process, categorize, and remember information. Only with this framework properly in place and reinforced are we able to build on a solid foundation for academic, social and emotional success.  

Our philosophy here in the CTL has always rested firmly on two principles.  First, each child has their unique story and learning path which led them to where they are and who they are today.  We meet students where and as they are, and attempt to understand what limitations are preventing them from reaching the place they want to be. Second, we employ strategies and skills from our learning specialists that are tailored to each student and their situation to achieve their individual goals.

Overview

Each child has a learning story.  With this internal narrative, the student navigates the challenges of content, curriculum and social norms throughout their school. Therefore, when looking to provide support services, both social/emotional and academic learning need to be taken into consideration, otherwise we are only viewing a part of their story. Services that initially emerged out of support for students with learning disabilities have now broadened in scope to meet the 21st century approach to education offering a more holistic path to meet a wider range of learners.

Today’s educators recognize we cannot separate social/emotional learning from the learning of academics. Executive functioning skills intersect with emotional intelligence, which is the very juncture at which cognition and emotion meet. Areas including empathy, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, creative problem-solving and mental health must be deeply connected during conversations on support services.  This gives us an opportunity to provide a variety of ways to support all students, not only those who would have traditionally benefited from academic support in the past, but any student seeking to round out his or her academic journey with growth and purpose.  As models develop, adapt and change, we are at the cusp of rewiring our Center into a more proactive resource for students in multi-dimensional learning.  

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) empowers all students to better understand themselves and their own learning stories by reviewing misguided histories, such as “I was never good in math” and at the same time, develops students’ self-advocacy and self-efficacy.  Emotional guidance should not be separated from our learning support any more than skill development and content can be detached from one another within academic courses.

This innovative and unique approach is embraced at Morristown Beard School and practiced by five professional educators with backgrounds in education, psychology, counseling, and learning disabilities in the Center for Teaching and Learning.