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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. Each division's Learning Specialist maintains confidential files regarding educational evaluations, Accommodation Plans, and documentation of diagnosed conditions. These professionals work with grade-level 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
  • Option for Learning Strategies class in lieu of Foreign Language, taught by Learning Specialist
  • Direct intervention with students via instructional support provided both in and out of the classroom
  • Transition support for students rising out of Prime or into Upper School
  • Academic and behavioral observations and assessments
Upper School
  • Administration of classroom assessments accommodations, including Extended Time and Alternate Location Testing
  • Schoolwide Testing Coordination
    • PSAT
    • ACT Special Testing
    • AP Testing
    • Cambridge Admissions
    • College Board Services for Students with Disabilities

Consult directly with parents, students, and faculty

Coordinate referrals to tutors and private evaluators

Develop and monitor HB Individual Accommodation Plans

Serve as a member of the Admissions team

Maintain data for overall progress of class 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 that includes a diagnosis must be on file with the division Learning Specialist. If accommodations are being requested for a behavioral, learning, or language disorder, results from a comprehensive evaluation, including test scores and interpretation, must be submitted. Each child’s educational team will determine appropriate 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 behavioral, language, or learning disorder)

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

Statement of confidentiality and release of information
Hathaway Brown 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 Specialist's office. Educational evaluations are considered confidential and will be shared only with others in the HB community who have a legitimate educational interest. The Learning Specialist provides a written summary of the evaluation within each Accommodation Plan. Accommodation Plans are shared with 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 the Learning Specialist to release the information
  • HB Accommodation Plans are stored for four (4) years after a student has graduated or withdrawn from Hathaway Brown.

The Team

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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)
Alexandra Franceschini
Department of Learning Services
Middle School
Learning Specialist
216.320.8106 (School)
Eric Wonderly, Ph.D.
Deparment of Learning Services
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 provided accommodations for its students for more than 20 years. HB students are supported by four Learning Specialists: two in Prime, one in Middle, and one in Upper School -- all of whom work as a cross-divisional team to support the students, parents, staff, and faculty at Hathaway Brown School.

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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