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Academic Services

The WMA Academic Services department has been in existence for close to 30 years. The Academic Services teachers are well-trained, experienced, learning specialists with lengthy tenure at WMA who know the needs of their students and the needs of the school well. Each is a highly committed and motivated professional, determined to help students maximize their academic strengths. An integral part of that mission is instilling a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy, as well as self-advocacy skills in each student as they adjust to the demands of a competitive independent school and prepare them for the challenges of college.

Department members have collaborated with thousands of students, customizing each program for each student’s needs. Graduates of our program are equipped to communicate with adults, advocate for themselves, and foster critical life skills, which ensure academic and social success. With a dedicated staff of four full-time academic services teachers, working closely with each student in a private setting, WMA’s program offers students and families a collaborative approach to learning.

Through consistent feedback and communication, and a supportive and warm environment, the mission of the program is to not only assist students with their learning needs but to empower them to adopt the mindset of the confident learner.

Want to Learn More?

Individual Academic Support

The main focus of the Academic Services Program at Wilbraham & Monson Academy is to provide students with the tools they need to reach their intellectual and academic potential. Students who are accepted into the program have a diagnosed learning disability. The objective of the program is to assist a student in further developing strengths while coping with specific areas of weakness. The regular classroom curriculum is used so that the support teacher can facilitate the development of strategies that are appropriate for each individual student. Students receive one-on-one support for 45-minute blocks during the academic day, two-to-three times per week.

Assistive Technology and Learning Methods

Teachers are trained and use the following technologies:

  • iPad and iPad Apps such as Quizlet, Flashcard programs
  • Textbooks downloaded via eBooks and iBooks
  • Audiobooks
  • iCalendar
  • LiveScribe Recording Smart pen
  • FlyScribe highlighting pen
  • Kurzweil Educational System
  • Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading
  • Inspiration graphic organizer
  • Voice Activation software
  • Dragon Dictate
  • eBackpack
  • FirstClass

Services Provided

Teachers provide structure through:

  • clear and explicit instruction
  • direct learning strategies
  • strategies to confront anxiety
  • test-taking strategies
  • teacher to teacher conferencing
  • weekly reports generated to review topics covered
  • student progress reports
  • collaborative work with parents and professionals
  • written comments five times yearly
  • comprehensive annual reports detailing the student profile, assessment, and recommendations for the future
  • on-site testing

Academic Services Teacher are learning advocates who also:

  • encourage students and advise them regularly
  • connect personally with students
  • track assignments across the curriculum
  • create productive student sessions
  • take notes and document goals of individual meetings
  • understand characteristics of student disability and communicate to teachers
  • assist with expectations of students’ schedules
  • coordinate team meetings for students, parents, teachers and administrators
  • assist with writing by mapping and outlining student ideas
  • use the multiple draft process while assisting with revision and editing of writing
  • scaffold instructions and use open-ended questions
  • reinforce meta-cognition
  • model thinking processes so students can grasp step-by-step computations
  • utilize kinesthetic reinforcement
  • pair visual materials with verbal cues
  • pre-teach and review specific vocabulary in multi-step processes
  • incorporate direct vocabulary instruction
  • discuss preferential seating scenarios with classroom teachers
  • ensure that spelling penalties are waived for certain assignments (when approved by subject teachers)
  • coordinate with Freshman Foundations teachers to review study skills and Mindset strategies
  • work in conjunction with the Dean of Studies
  • attend IEP/504 reviews when necessar

Academic Accommodations

In compliance with the American with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) of 2008, WMA provides accommodations that are reasonable and appropriate to students with properly documented disabilities. Accommodation eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis after a thorough documentation review. Reasonable accommodations permit a qualified student access to WMA’s programs without fundamentally altering the essential elements of the academic program or requirements of curriculum.

Additional Accommodations
  • Use of a computer and/or calculator
  • Extended time on testing
    • within the classroom
    • on formal exams
    • during standardized testing such as the SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement exams
  • Possible foreign language waiver

** Students in our Academic Services program are supported in standard, Honors and Advanced Placement Courses.

"Academic Services at WMA have turned our son from a 'Shut Down learner' to a thriving, motivated, enthusiastic learner. Academic Services are built into HIS daily schedule rather than random, inconsistent 'pull outs' at the convenience of a SPED department. The communication between Academic Services, faculty, and parents is daily to ensure our son's academic success. Academic Services works closely with each of our son's teachers to get the best possible results on each lesson."Parent Testimonial

Beginning to End

Where to start

Families who are interested in our Academic Services Program should submit their child’s complete neuropsychological and/or psychoeducational testing and evaluation performed within the last three years.

Testing is reviewed by our Director of Academic Services to ensure the Academy can meet the needs of the child.

For further information, contact Director of Academic Services Melissa Wenz at 413.596.9179.

Note: There is an Additional Tuition charge for the Academic Services program.

College Matriculation

Graduates of the WMA Academic Services department have enrolled in such colleges as:

  • Clark University
  • High Point
  • Princeton
  • Harvard

Meet the staff

Melissa Wenz

Titles: Director of Academic Services

Maryann Asta-Ferrero

Titles: Academic Services Staff

Tanya Presz

Titles: Academic Services Staff

ShaCor Privott

Class of 2014
Titles: Faculty