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Department of Learning Services

The Department of Learning Services (formerly Center for Academic Potential) was developed to help every girl at Hathaway Brown become an independent learner and meet her academic potential. When a student needs additional support, Learning Services team members work alongside parents, teachers, and administrators to develop and monitor interventions. The Department of Learning Services is the designated office at Hathaway Brown that maintains confidential files regarding educational evaluations, Accommodation Plans, and documentation of diagnosed conditions. At each division, Learning Services works with teams to certify eligibility for services, determine reasonable accommodations and supports, as well as develop and implement accommodation plans.

Services Provided

Primary School
  • Systematic multisensory language and reading instruction
  • Direct Intervention for handwriting, written expression, and organization
  • Consultation with faculty, EC, and parents
Middle School
  • Strategies Classes
  • Direct Intervention
  • Consultation with faculty and parents
  • Accommodations and HB Accommodation Plans
Upper School
  • Direct Intervention
  • Consultation with Faculty and Parents
  • Accommodations and HB Accommodation Plans
  • Coordination with College Board/ACT
Coordinates schoolwide Student Study Team (SST)
Conducts individual academic and behavioral screening
Coordinates referrals to private evaluators
Writes HB Accommodation Plans
Conducts admission screening for the Prime
Provides a longitudinal perspective for students via Excellence By Design
Provides longitudinal data regarding overall progress  of cohorts

Information for Parents

How to qualify for an HB Accommodation Plan
To qualify for an HB plan, a student must have a disability or learning disorder which has been shown to adversely impact her educational performance. Written documentation including a diagnosis must be on file with the Department of Learning Services. If accommodations are being requested for a learning or language disorder, results from a comprehensive evaluation including test scores and interpretation must be submitted. Your child’s educational team will determine eligibility for accommodations.

How to document a disability
The documentation must include:
  • Qualification of the Evaluator
  • Functional limitations
  • Clearly stated specific diagnosis (test results in written report signed by qualified evaluator must be included for language or learning disorder)

Reasonable accommodations
Reasonable accommodations are individualized and flexible, based on the nature of the disability, are supported by documentation on file, and are provided within the academic environment.

Statement of confidentiality and release of information
The Department of Learning Services is committed to ensuring that all information and communication pertaining to a student’s learning disorder is maintained in a secure and confidential manner.
  • No one will have immediate access to student files in the Learning Services office. Educational evaluations are considered confidential and will be shared only with others in the HB community who have a legitimate educational interest. Learning Services provides a written Summary of the evaluation within the Accommodation Plan. Accommodation plans are shared with your child’s classroom teachers.
  • If a parent wishes to have information about his/her student shared with others outside of the institution, parents must provide written authorization to Learning Services to release the information
  • Electronic storage (password protected, secure server)
  • HB Accommodation Plans will be stored for 10 years. 

The Team

 Renee Hedges
Learning Specialist
Department of Learning Services
MS School Learning Specialist
MS Coordinator
216.320.8106 (School)


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Kristen Leahy
Department of Learning Services
Primary School
Learning Specialist
216.320.8114 (School)

Kelly Stepnowski
Department of Learning Services
Primary School
Reading Specialist
216.320.8796 ext. 7195 (School)
Jennifer Stevenson
Head of Department of Learning Services
K-12 School Psychologist
Eric Wonderly , Ph.D.
Deparment of Learning Services
Primary School
Learning Specialist
216.320.8111 (School)


Historically, Hathaway Brown has been known for its appreciation of different learning styles and its commitment to the development of each girl’s academic potential and passion. The school has had learning specialists working with its students and faculty for more than 20 years; however, the Center for Academic Potential began in 1999 when a Director was hired to direct this new Center. Hathaway Brown had grown to the point that Mr. Christ felt it was important that services between the three divisions be coordinated. The Director and the three Learning Specialists, one in Prime, one in Middle, and one in Upper School, work as a cross divisional team to support the students, parents, staff and faculty at Hathaway Brown School. In 2012 the Center was renamed the Department of Learning Services.

Resources / Links

Shaker Heights, Ohio Girls K-12 Coed Early Childhood

19600 North Park Boulevard Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122 P: 216.932.4214
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