In addition to the attention afforded by the extremely small class sizes at McLean, Lower School students (with a ratio of 6 students to 1 teacher) benefit from the wide-ranging expertise of Lower School specialists.
Lower School Learning Specialist, Marie Marino, MS,
brings over 10 years of early childhood experience in providing expert advice and support to teachers in understanding students’ strengths, areas of need, and designing appropriate, differentiated instruction. Marie works with teachers and students in the classroom as needed to accelerate outcomes in all areas of academic need and giftedness. Marie is certified in Orton-Gillingham, Phono-Graphix, Learning Wise, Social Thinking, Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing, as well as Handwriting Without Tears. She has led a variety of presentations to educators and parents on topics related to the success of all learners. Marie has attended numerous seminars on ADHD, Anxiety, Executive Functioning, and Learning Disabilities, and has completed trainings related to Mentorship and Special Education Advocacy in order to help support teachers and families.
Master Teaching Coach and Lead Reading Specialist, Sara Hines, PhD
believes that schools hold the responsibility to figure out and meet a child’s needs, not the child’s need to fit the curriculum. She strongly believes in individualized instruction based on a real knowledge of the child’s interests and learning strengths. That’s why she was drawn to McLean; these are the school’s values.” Figuring out what each child needs to succeed in school is the “puzzle” that has fascinated Dr. Hines's throughout her career. As the research shows, the earlier schools remediate, the more effective their work is. Her career started on a very different path. She received my Masters degree in Speech and Drama from Catholic University as well as a stint as an acting teacher at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. She has many years experience as a classroom teacher and Director of Tutor Training at the Lab School of Washington; elementary school Learning Specialist at Sidwell Friends School; college professor and researcher in special education at Hunter College in New York City. She has also published studies of early childhood literacy development and techniques of classroom support for students with academic challenges.
Reading Specialist, Beverly Stryker, MA
works with teachers and individual students to improve reading outcomes. She works individually and with small groups of students to provide instruction in areas of phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension. Beverly is certified in and utilizes with students the following research based programs: Phono-Graphix, Orton-Gillingham, Wilson Reading Program, Handwriting Without Tears, Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing, Write Track Writing Program, Spell-Links Learning by Design Spelling Program, Responsive Classroom. As a member of the International Reading Association, International Literacy Association, and SOMIRAC, Beverly has attended countless workshops and seminars related to Learning Disabilities, Executive Functioning, ADHD, Anxiety, Dyslexia, and literacy.
Math Specialist, Sarah Baxter, MEd
works with teachers and students to provide support as needed. She keeps abreast of best practices in mathematics instruction, as well as cutting edge approaches to maximize math achievement for students at, above, or below grade level. Sarah most recently attended a symposium on dyscalculia and shared her findings with the Lower School Faculty to better support students who may struggle in acquiring number sense. Sarah received departmental High Honors for her thesis on how children learn economic concepts. One of Sarah’s most notable achievements at McLean so far is her grant from the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) for Using Music to Teach Mathematics. Sarah works with students 1-1 and in small groups to provide multi-sensory instruction in a fun and meaningful way.
Occupational Therapists (OT), Erin Magnotta, MS, OTR/L and Erin Wright, COTA/L
provides fee-for-service individualized therapy for students who need OT services.The OT team also provides keyboarding support and instruction to all students in grades 3 and 4, as well as Adaptive PE for our youngest students in kindergarten. The OTs also serve as consultants to classroom teachers in meeting students’ sensory-motor and fine-motor needs. All new students in kindergarten through grade 6 are screened for OT needs.
Speech-Language Pathologist, Eileen Goldschmidt, MA, CCC-SLP
in addition to providing fee-for-service on an individual basis to students needing individual intervention, also provides school-wide support to teachers in meeting students’ speech and language needs, as well as phonemic awareness instruction to all students in need of such remedial work. In addition to screening students for SLP needs, the SLP along with the Reading Specialist screens students for phonemic awareness intervention.