Transition Learning Support Program

In Woodward Academy’s Transition Learning Support Program, we level the playing field for students with mild to moderate learning challenges so they can flourish in a demanding college preparatory environment.

A Comprehensive Program with a College-Preparatory Curriculum

With smaller class sizes, a faculty comprised of specialized experts, and proven pedagogical approaches for every academic area, our Transition Learning Support Program goes well beyond a few learning support aids dropped into traditional classrooms and instead provides a comprehensive environment designed exclusively for our Transition Program students. Our students learn the same demanding college-preparatory curriculum as their Woodward peers in the mainstream track, but do so while cultivating the tools and strategies needed to convert different learning styles into confidence, social and emotional stability, and tremendous academic success.

who are our students?

They are bright, creative, and most of all—driven. Whether they have challenges in reading (dyslexia), written expression (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), language, areas of processing, executive function or attention, our students go on to succeed in the Upper School, college, and every career path imaginable. This program is for students who have a specific diagnosis documented by either a private or school psychologist, and it is not designed for students whose learning problems exist primarily because of below-average intelligence, poor motivation, or behavioral issues, and students with those issues will be better served in other environments.

"My path to both academic and social success at Woodward began in my 5th grade Transition classroom. The Transition Program provided the small classroom environment that I needed to cultivate my strengths and heighten my awareness of how I needed to approach my learning difference in a committed and determined manner."

-Daniel Oberti '15, Wake Forest University

A Deeper Look at Our Program

Woodward North

The Transition Program at Woodward North includes students in grades three through six. Upon completion of the Woodward North Transition Program, students in good academic standing may matriculate to Main Campus for grades seven and eight Transition, depending on the resources needed at that time. The Woodward North Transition Program follows the same philosophy as Main Campus. However, given the size of Woodward North, the program has a smaller scope, with one Transition classroom of eight to 10 students per grade level needed to adequately provide for the school.

Primary & Lower School

At the Primary and Lower School level, grades two through six offer modified self-contained classrooms for academic instruction. Teachers use a combination of one-to-one, small group, and whole class instruction, and place special emphasis on reading, written expression, and mathematics. In addition, students participate in science and social studies. Students in the Transition Program also receive instruction in art, music, and physical education with their mainstreamed peers, and participate in field trips as well as cocurricular offerings. The average class size is nine students.

Middle School

In grades seven and eight, the program continues to emphasize the acquisition of academic skills, emotional and attentional regulation strategies, executive functions, and study skills necessary for college preparatory work as well as the skills to be an independent learner. It’s important to note that Transition classes are not an academic level, but distinctly structured classes to provide specialized instruction, with an emphasis on student engagement and independence. In a Transition class, students acknowledge their learning differences and guide their attentional and cognitive regulation. Instruction in and reinforcement of individualized, specific strategies sets the Transition class apart from other classes. The curriculum taught in these classrooms is similar, often identical, to that taught in other Middle School classes, and a Transition class in the Middle School prepares the student to move into any level of course in the Middle School or the Upper School. Students can take advantage of Transition classes or join their mainstream peers in any combination of academic subjects: literature, English, social studies/history, mathematics, and science. Students must show clear potential and motivation necessary for success in the college preparatory curriculum before moving on to the Upper School.

Additionally, while study strategies are emphasized in all disciplines, students may take a study strategies class in order to enhance their skills in that area. The classes remain small and highly structured, with class sizes of 10-12. Tutorials for individual clarification and reinforcement are held daily, and group instruction during regular class periods contributes to the growing independence of the students. To further this independence, teachers present and reinforce specific learning strategies and require students to apply organizational skills in all classes.

Admissions Criteria & Procedures

A college preparatory school’s primary goal is implicit in its name, and the Transition Program fully shares this goal. For that reason, the Academy can only admit students who will benefit from the format and instructional practices of our Transition Learning Support Program and who will be able to take advantage of the pedagogy and curriculum of a challenging college preparatory program.

All applicants to the Transition Program must file a regular Woodward Academy application for admission, provide a report of a current psychoeducational evaluation with a diagnosis written by a private or school psychologist, and be interviewed by the Director of the Transition Program. Admission criteria include evidence of average or above-average intellectual capability, a mild to moderate diagnosed learning difference, grade level achievement scores in some areas, and evidence of motivation toward academic achievement. The admissions committee will individually review each application, and decisions of the committee are final.

Meet our Team

Amy Zaring

Amy Zaring

Titles: Director of Transition
Gigi Moore

Gigi Moore

Titles: Executive Assistant, SSD Coordinator
Phone Numbers:
School: 404-765-4090
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Criteria for Mainstreaming

1. Does the student have the basic skills to handle the curriculum in a non-Transition class?

2. Are the student behaviors appropriate for the regular classroom? Can the student delay questions/comments? Does the student complete work in a timely and thorough fashion?

3. Is the student independent enough to take care of him/herself in a regular class? Does he/she understand his/her learning style—strengths and weaknesses—and can he/she properly advocate for him/herself?

4. Is the student emotionally mature enough to handle the lack of direct contact/caring in the regular classroom?

5. Can the student maintain the present level of performance in a class where the teacher is not giving explicit and direct instruction that is strategy based?

6. Can the student keep up in a fast-paced classroom?

7. What can be done for the student in Transition next year that will not be done in the regular classroom?

8. Does the student need to use the computer for quality output?

NOTE: Placement decisions will be made in March-April, when the scheduling of classes for next year takes place.

Study Strategies (S) is a semester-long Upper School course designed for students who are or have been enrolled in the Transition program. It may be repeated. Enrollment requires permission of the Director of the Transition program.

Learn More about Transition

Upper School Learning Support Center