Polaris Learning Labs at NGFS
The commitment to honoring and developing each person’s gifts is at the core of our mission at New Garden Friends School. In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Polaris Learning Labs at NGFS. The concept of Learning Labs was conceived to ensure that each student in our inclusive community is provided with the intellectual, social, and emotional skills they need to take their next steps with confidence and compassion.
At NGFS, our concern for students’ social and emotional wellness and growth does not take a back seat to academic endeavors. We are committed to healthy, balanced, and developmentally appropriate levels of support and challenge.
Learning Labs are staffed by our learning specialists. The Labs encompass executive functioning skills, support, and enrichment. Detailed information about the services listed below can be found in our Lower School Polaris Brochure and Middle and Upper School Polaris Brochure.
Level 1 Services
For All Students
- Explicit instruction in executive functioning skills from our faculty throughout the year, as developmentally appropriate by level.
- As needed, intermittent tutorial or enrichment support from faculty and/or Learning Specialists in small group settings.
- Personalized plans for student support and extension based on strengths and/or struggles; these will be created by the Learning Specialist in collaboration with faculty.
- Access to and scheduling for more intensive privately paid tutoring with recommended providers who can aid students on campus during the school day or after school
- Accommodations for students with demonstrated need or ability with or without up-to-date psychoeducational testing.
All NGFS students have access to Level 1 services.
The cost is included in the tuition of our comprehensive educational program.
Level 2 Services
Reading and Language Arts Services for Lower School Students
Families of students who qualify for accommodations or extension based on psychoeducational testing or demonstrated ability or need may choose to participate in additional individualized learning options available with Level 2 services.
Reading support for grades 1-6 is provided for an additional fee. Please read more in our brochure here.
Level 2 Support for Lower School - Small group instruction, 1-4X week - $725/semester.
Level 2 Services
Executive Functioning Skills for Middle & Upper School Students
The intentional cultivation of critical executive functioning skills includes developing the competencies students need to succeed in grades 7-12:
- Time Management
- Task Initiation
- Chunking long-term assignments into manageable steps
- Flexibility/ Resiliency
- Reading Strategies
- Note-Taking Strategies
- Test Prep
- Synthesizing Information
- Responsive Writing
- Making Connections
Enrollment in these courses is provided for an additional fee. Please read more in our brochure here.
Middle School: Full course enrollment of “Skills for Academic Success” - $1250 per course.
Upper School: Full course enrollment of “Academic Coaching Seminar” - $1550 per course
Level 3 Services
Individualized Plans for Grades 1-12
Families of students already receiving accommodations and individual instruction who are experiencing acute challenges in their educational journey may request participation in the one-on-one learning options available with Level 3 support.
One-on-one support for students in grades 1-12 is provided for an additional fee. Please read more in our brochure here.
Level 3 Services: Cost to be determined based on individual student needs.
Meet Our Learning Specialists
Middle School Learning Specialist
Years at NGFS: 2
Education: B.S, Wingate University; MEd Curriculum and Instruction: Middle Grades, University of North Carolina Greensboro; Curriculum Specialist License; University of North Carolina Wilmington; Wilson Reading System Certified tutor.
Patty has been a classroom teacher for 17 years in independent schools in NC. A majority of those years have been in middle school, with a few years of upper elementary as well as high school students. In addition to the classroom, She has the wonderful opportunity of being a Middle School Social Studies Department Chair and have worked on many administrative committees for the betterment of the school.
Years at NGFS: 5
Education: B.A. in Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; M.Ed. in Special Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
For NGFS Learning Specialist Marci Richardson, this school has a special place in her heart. When describing why New Garden means so much to her, she says, “It is where my husband first came to teach and fell in love with the nurturing and accepting environment. Through his love and passion, I, too, have fallen in love with all that NGFS is and represents. I love the school's history of embracing diversity, nurturing lifelong learners and igniting a passion within to help change the world.”
Marci began teaching at the Greensboro Montessori School where she specialized in reading, language arts, math, and social studies instruction. She then moved to Ledford Middle School and spent her time “working with students who had varying learning differences and needs.” After ten years of working at Ledford, she began to teach summer school at the Piedmont School, where she eventually joined the full-time staff. For the past six years, she has also worked as a private tutor for a large variety of ages. As she begins her fifth year at New Garden, Marci continues to enjoy being part of a community that she is passionate about.
Marci has a number of diverse interests. She loves old movies and reading, and she has an eclectic taste in music. She has a passion for nutrition and enjoys cooking, baking, and experimenting in the kitchen. She once even worked at a local farm to learn about where food is produced. Marci also enjoys exercising and spending time with her husband, Chris, and her three children: Gentry, Landry, and Lilly Belle, who all attend NGFS.
Years at NGFS: 19
Education: UNCG BA in Political Science Elon--Elementary Education
Susan previously taught 4th grade at Sedgefield Elementary before coming to NGFS and has been a classroom teacher in Rainbow, Horizon, and Sunrise over the years.
Susan has enjoyed being a part of New Garden Friends School because, "I love working with friends and colleagues who are dedicated to our mission. I also love getting to know my students and their families, and working together to emphasize each person's strengths while also working to strengthen each person's areas of challenge. I also love watching former students grow up at NGFS. I often feel like I have many many many nieces and nephews!"
Outside of school, Susan loves to travel, watch the Carolina Panthers and soccer, and take on sewing projects. She says, "I enjoy the process of envisioning a garment I want to wear in exactly the right fabric and I love the challenge of making the idea come to life."
Susan is married to Daren, they have two sons, Matthew and Stuart, who are both NGFS alumni, and currently in graduate school.
Years at NGFS: 10
Education: B.S. in Education (Certification in Special Education and Elementary Education and a Minor in Human Development), State University of New York at Geneseo; M.Ed. in Special Education (Certification as an Educational Diagnostician)
In the words of Maurice Sendak: “There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.” Christine has embodied this philosophy during her years as an educator by inspiring her students to value learning. After her time in Morocco with the Peace Corps, Christine was a Special Education Teacher and an Educational Diagnostician with Lewisville City Schools in Texas. After coming to North Carolina, she became a Sunrise teacher at NGFS.
Now in her role as the Lower School Reading Specialist she has received training in the Fundations Reading Program, the Wilson Reading System and Associate Level Training in the Orton-Gillingham approach.