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Learning Support

We recognize that all students learn differently and that those with diagnosed learning differences may need extra support and accommodation in order to have a fair opportunity for academic success. We work with every student to determine strategies for the student's success and wellbeing. Our goal is for students to advocate for themselves, understand their learning strengths and challenges, and be prepared for their college experience.

The Director of Student Support (DSS) is available to all students and families throughout the year to provide support, advice, learning strategies, guidance and, when needed, referrals and recommendations. Additionally, the DSS provides services for students with diagnosed learning differences or others who desire assistance or increased challenge. The DSS is the point person for students who qualify and wish to submit an application to the College Board for accommodations on the PSAT/SAT/Subject and Advanced Placement tests or ACT accommodations.

Students may self-refer or be referred to the DSS by a teacher or parent. The DSS will conduct an initial screening and determine next steps. Next steps may include making use of our peer tutoring program, extra help from the teacher, working with an adult content area tutor, academic coach or other professional, referral to a study skills exploratory, going over learning strategies with parents and student, and in some cases, if deemed necessary, a recommendation for a learning evaluation. The DSS is happy to refer families to qualified evaluators. Students who have a professional learning evaluation and want accommodations at Sonoma Academy are required to share their formal report with the DSS.

We are not equipped to provide accommodations or modify curriculum for significant learning differences. Typical accommodations at Sonoma Academy may include extended time on quizzes and tests, preferential seating, use of technology (computer, recording device, calculator, etc.) in class and, if appropriate, during exams, and/or provision for students to take exams outside the regular classroom. The accommodations we provide are those that are reasonable for SA to offer and are based on the professional evaluation in conjunction with consultation with the student and his/her family.

Please note that a professional evaluation by a licensed educational therapist or psychologist is required if the student is to apply for accommodations in standardized testing such as College Board Tests (SAT, subject tests and Advanced Placement tests) or the ACT. The DSS will submit this application on behalf of the student upon request.

Learning Support FAQs

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • If I have a previous learning evaluation, should I send it with my application?

    It’s your decision, but we prefer that you do, so that we can partner closely with you and ensure your child’s success at Sonoma Academy.
  • Who should I choose to do my learning evaluation?

    Contact the Director of Student Support Margie Pugh to be given a list of recommended evaluators.
  • What’s required in my learning evaluation?

    We use the documentation guidelines as established by the College Board. We require that the documentation be three years old or less when entering as a freshman. To assure that testing is in agreement with ACT and SAT requirements, families consult with the Director of Student Support and the College Board and ACT websites.
  • How do you inform teachers of students’ learning styles and Accommodations?

    On mySA’s student page, there is a Student Learning Profile indicated by an icon if a student has accommodations. This Learning Profile/Accommodation Form indicates diagnosis, summary of learning evaluation, accommodations and recommendations. Students will also create a Personal Learning Statement and email it to their teachers each semester. The Personal Learning Statement describes areas of strengths and challenges.
  • Are there any additional fees associated with access to your Student Support Services?

    No. But the school does not provide tutors or professional learning evaluations. Families must contract those services outside of SA. We have a list of tutors and professionals and families have access to on-site tutors.
  • How will I see my child’s grades, homework assignments, and academic progress?

    Students can see their grades on our learning management system, MySA, and can allow parents to look at their account. Parents do not have access to students grades. Should parents/guardians have questions about their student’s progress, contact the teacher or advisor. Additionally, students who are struggling will receive a mid-quarter report from the course they may be struggling with suggestions and strategies for improvement.
  • What kinds of one-on-one support are available for my child?

    Students can meet with teachers during Office Hours, before or after school, during free periods, or during lunch times. Students should meet with teachers for clarification or extra help as needed. They can also have sessions with the Director of Student Support. Any ongoing significant support needs are directed towards individual tutoring.
  • How does your school handle tutoring?

    Students can meet with a learning specialist or content area tutor during free periods, exploratory time, lunch or after school. Potential tutors are screened by the Director of Student Support and must be fingerprinted, have proof of a recent TB test (four years or less) and provide a resume. We offer a Peer Tutoring Program for those who could use extra practice and explanations.
  • What is the homework load for a student who needs extra learning support?

    Sonoma Academy is a rigorous college preparatory school. We do not adjust the curriculum or homework expectations for students with learning differences. Students may expect approximately 2-3 hours of homework per night. Most students’ schedules allow for opportunities during the school day to do homework and meet with teachers.
  • Does your school offer any summer programs, and if so, how do students get involved?

    We offer a summer Honors Geometry Course, high school summer writing workshops, and a variety of summer camps for middle school students.
We allow on-campus tutoring (all tutors must pass a fingerprint check before they can work on campus); however, we do not provide direct services in this regard. In addition, we offer a Learning Strategies exploratory that serves students who may benefit from study skills, including time management, reading in the content area, memory work, and test-taking skills. Students who have executive function challenges are given study halls during the school day and/or after school study time. Additionally, we have an active Peer Tutoring program, in which students are qualified to become Peer Tutors and then can offer assistance to any student requesting Peer Tutoring support.
Student Support Team
The Student Support Team meets twice a week to discuss academic and emotional concerns as they arise. The Team consists of the Assistant Head of School, Dean of Student Life, Director of Counseling, Director or Academic Services, and Director of Student Support. Our weekly Student Review Meeting, a session with all teachers and advisors, helps surface the names of any students about whom we have academic, social, or emotional concerns.

There are times when issues confronting students may be best addressed by a licensed professional. We are fortunate to have a counselor, Carolyn McAleavy, LMFT, available on campus for appointments. The first four sessions are at no fee, after which families are billed on a sliding scale. Counseling services are available four days a week for both individual students and small groups.
2500 Farmers Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Sonoma Academy is...

The only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond.