Student Life

Learning Support

Proactive Support to Help You Thrive

Dawson provides abundant spaces, resources, faculty, and learning specialists to ensure our students have the tools to excel. Our learning specialists collaborate with students, faculty, and parents to help students with self-advocacy, implement helpful learning strategies, utilize the right resources for their unique styles and habits, and integrate accommodations as necessary. 

Lower School

The Lower School learning specialists have weekly scheduled time in every homeroom to support students, observe, and plan with teachers. With the support of the learning specialists, classroom teachers differentiate instruction through small groups, assistive technology, and targeted instruction to ensure students are met at their level and provided accommodations when needed. Learning specialists work with students in small groups within the classroom or provide specialized intervention for students who qualify.

Middle and Upper School

The upper and middle school learning specialists provide support to students and teachers by observing in classrooms, gathering information that can be helpful in identifying student needs and next steps to support success and incorporating assistive technology through apps, online resources, and audiobooks into the classroom. In the middle and upper schools, we believe in providing students with resources and tools that can be used after graduating from Dawson. The learning specialists consult with teachers but do not provide direct student intervention. 


For students who qualify, Dawson provides accommodations that help students complete the same assignments as their peers. Our learning specialists will help remove barriers and give a student a fair opportunity for success in the classroom. Commonly provided accommodations include:
  • Extended time on assessments 
  • Testing in a separate location  
  • Preferential seating in class 
  • Audiobooks (through Learning Ally and/or Bookshare) 
  • Use of a calculator on assessments 
  • Ability to type in-class essays and notes
  • Breaks
We do not provide modifications for students. For example, we do not shorten assignments, extend due dates, or alter test formats. Students receiving accommodations are expected to study the same material, complete the same assignments, and are assessed with the same standards and grading scale as their classmates.

Learning Plan
A Dawson learning plan is equivalent to a 504, which is an accommodation plan. In order to qualify for a learning plan, you must have required documentation and evidence of need. Documentation may include but is not limited to: full psycho-educational evaluation, full evaluation from a clinician or diagnostician (speech therapist, OT, etc.), or a copy of an IEP or 504 plan. 

A learning plan is a living document that evolves over the course of a student’s Dawson experience and provides classroom and testing accommodations. Dawson can’t always provide all the recommendations listed in an evaluation or IEP/504.

Dawson does not provide:
  • Diagnosis of a learning difference or any formal evaluations/testing
  • Advanced learning Plans/Accelerated Programming 
  • Paraprofessionals in the classroom
  • Modified curriculum

Meet the Team

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Tracey Graham

    Tracey Graham 

    Lower School Learning Specialist (3rd-5th)
  • Photo of Kellie Pringle

    Kellie Pringle 

    Lower School Learning Specialist (K-2nd)
  • Photo of Becky Burton

    Ms. Becky Burton 

    Middle School Learning Specialist
  • Photo of Sarah Boyer

    Dr. Sarah Boyer 

    Learning Specialist/ Upper School English
  • Photo of Stephanie Carpenter

    Stephanie Carpenter 

    Upper School Learning Specialist