Academic Support Center
How long have you been at HCS?
I came to HCS thirty years ago and taught first grade for 13 years and have been a Discovery teacher for the past 17 years.
How and when did the Discovery program begin?
The Discovery Program started in Norfolk, Virginia 40 years ago under the name the National Institute for Learning Disabilities and was later changed to the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD). It was developed for Christian schools to provide one-on-one educational therapy for students with learning disabilities. HCS adopted the program 30 years ago and was the first school to be accredited by NILD on the west coast.
What brought about the name change from Discovery to Academic Support Center?
We decided a name change would be beneficial for a couple of reasons. The name “Discovery” does not really indicate who we are and what we do. We also felt the need to offer other levels of support and/or intervention in order to help struggling students be successful in the classroom.
How does the Academic Support Center help our students succeed?
It is our goal to equip students who are struggling academically to reach their God-given potential by giving them educational therapy which focuses on their deficit areas as well as strategies to improve their academic and self-management skills in order to become independent, life-long learners.
How have you seen this program grow over the years?
The Discovery Program started in 1987 with one Discovery teacher. Over the years the program has continued to grow until today we have seven NILD educational therapists serving forty-six students enrolled in the Academic Support Center on two campuses.
Why do you think Christian education is so important?
Christian education is especially important in today’s secular culture. From our Wee Warriors to our high school seniors, we are planting the seeds, watering, and nurturing them in order for there to be a spiritual harvest. It is our desire to equip our young people with a Christian worldview in order for them to make holy and responsible life choices.
What are you most excited about this year?
Besides the name change to the Academic Support Center, this year I am most excited about the ability to reach another population of students with our new Academic Coaching Class. I’m looking forward to seeing students learn and apply strategies in order to be able to produce work that reflects their learning potential, as well as develop competence and self-confidence.
What is your favorite thing about Heritage Christian School?
We have such a wonderful student population! It’s a special blessing to work over the years with the students in our Academic Support Center and to see them “blossom” to become successful independent learners. Not only do we have wonderful students, but we have a great staff of dedicated, caring people. It says something about our school when former students as well as staff children return to become a part of the HCS family.
What makes the Academic Support Center unique?
I have always said that we have a “hidden jewel” in the San Fernando Valley with our Discovery Program. We are the only school in the Valley that offers one-on-one educational therapy to students with learning disabilities. With the addition of our Academic Coaching class for students with executive functioning deficits, we have increased our “treasure”!
What is one piece of wisdom you can share with parents who have students with special needs in learning?
Having had two sons with learning disabilities, I understand how difficult the academic process can be for the child as well as the family. If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability, learn as much as you can about the disability and seek the proper intervention. We have seen so many students develop and strengthen their academics and independence for life-long learning. Know that there is hope!