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Roxbury Academic Support Program

Cheshire Academy has a long and proud history of assisting students with their individual learning needs, helping them to better meet the rigors of a college preparatory program. The Roxbury Academic Support Program, founded over 20 years ago, is a unique and effective approach to supporting students and has grown to meet the demands of secondary education and the evolving needs of today’s students. The academic coaching model of Roxbury utilizes a robust theoretical framework and research-based practices tailored to the Cheshire Academy mission, approach to learning, and range of students at each grade level.

The Roxbury Program director and a dedicated staff of masters-level instructors have professional experience in education at the secondary and post-secondary levels and are skilled in meeting a range of learning needs.

The goal of the Roxbury Program is to develop proactive, knowledgeable, and independent learners who take responsibility for their education and academic success.

To achieve this goal, we utilize our signature academic coaching model. The model includes five core components, detailed below, designed to empower students to discover, master, and utilize effective tools and strategies. Students will learn how to capitalize on their strengths, support areas of challenge, and become more productive learners. It is a transformational experience, and upon graduating, Roxbury alumni feel confident and are fully prepared for the demands of college.

Executive Functioning Skill Building

Executive functioning skills are the neuropsychological processes that allow students to organize, integrate, and manage their behaviors to reach goals. They include skills such as planning and organization, problem solving, and initiating, completing, and monitoring progress on tasks.

Skill building is supported by:

  • Teaching students to develop and utilize planning and time management systems for homework and assignments
  • Establishing routines for monitoring performance across classes and balancing school and extra-curricular obligations
  • Developing systems for organizing paper and digital class materials
  • Uncovering barriers to getting started in order to avoid procrastination
  • Working with students to break down long-term assignments into manageable chunks and checking work-in-progress

Learning Strategy Instruction

Learning strategies are specific actions and operations that can be explicitly taught and implemented. Roxbury instructors are learning specialists with experience in strategies that support learning across content areas. Within coaching sessions, instructors work to match a student’s needs and learning profile to specific strategies.

Examples of learning strategies are:

  • Using mind maps and graphic organizers
  • Employing active reading strategies such as predicting, summarizing, and visualizing
  • Utilizing notetaking and test-taking strategies
  • Understanding how and when to use different memory strategies such as rehearsal, mnemonics, linking, and chunking
  • Exploring assistive technology such as speech-to-text, word prediction, digital calendars, and task lists

One-on-One Student-Instructor Sessions

A key component of the Roxbury coaching model is the supportive relationship between student and instructor, built on a foundation of mutual trust and understanding. The student-instructor relationship is fostered through one-on-one coaching sessions. Sessions help students think more critically and flexibly to solve problems and to manage the daily academic stresses and pressures that might interfere with motivation and persistence.

During one-on-one sessions, instructors develop supportive relationships by:

  • Helping students understand themselves as learners, including how they can grow from their strengths and overcome barriers to learning
  • Modeling communication and encouraging positive interpersonal behaviors with teachers
  • Supporting self-advocacy by encouraging students to seek out extra help, clarification, and information from classroom teachers
  • Assisting students in taking advantage of opportunities to improve their grade, such as paper and test corrections and extra credit

Goal Setting, Assessment, and Progress Monitoring

When students begin in Roxbury—and at the start of each academic year—instructors review educational records and utilize screening measures to understand each student’s strengths and unique learning needs. Results of screening measures, educational history, and student, parent, and teacher input inform goal setting. Instructors keep records on the student’s progress toward their goals and reassess student skills on a regular basis.

Progress monitoring facilitates student growth by:

  • Prioritizing collaborative goal setting, including specific and achievable goals, actions steps to achieve those goals, and ways to measure progress
  • Providing the opportunity for instructors to individualize support within sessions and proactively adjust strategies as needed
  • Helping students develop a model for being a well-rounded and successful student, including specific and observable behaviors that they could engage in
  • Encouraging students to chart their own progress and growth, thereby supporting motivation

Ongoing, Two-Way Communication Among All Stakeholders

Research shows that family involvement is an essential factor in overall school performance at all ages. Communication is necessary for involvement and effective communication is early, often, and two-way. Roxbury instructors help students understand feedback from their teachers, and weekly reports on student performance, strategy use, and progress toward goals are emailed to families.

Establishing and maintaining an ongoing conversation in service of student success involves:

  • Collaborating with teachers to share effective strategies and understand students’ profiles
  • Discussing preferred methods of communication for all stakeholders
  • Scheduling opportunities for in person, virtual, or phone meetings with families and teachers as needed
  • Co-creating mutually agreed upon student-instructor expectations for engagement in sessions

Roxbury Levels

To provide each student with the most appropriate guidance, systems, and attention, Cheshire Academy offers several levels of Roxbury support, differentiated by the number of sessions per week. Every student receives all the components of the Roxbury academic coaching model at every level of service with respective programs individualized based on student needs. Sessions, which typically last 50 minutes, are scheduled as part of the student’s regular academic day.

Placement in one of the levels is determined on a case-by-case basis and involves a team of adults led by the Roxbury staff and includes Admission as well as Health Center staff. Consideration of placement is also given based on the requests of parents, teachers, and administrators. With parent and staff permission, students may enroll in Roxbury at any time during the school year. Any student can benefit from the Roxbury Program and no disability or diagnosis is required for participation. Roxbury is not a special education program and does not implement Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

The Roxbury Academic Support Program is a supplemental, variable fee-based program and costs are not included in tuition.

Elisa Laudati ’05

Director of the Roxbury Academic Support Program

email: Elisa Laudati ’05 MORE

Marissa Balogh

Roxbury Instructor

email: Marissa Balogh MORE

Caroline Brasa

Roxbury Academic Support Instructor; History & Social Sciences Teacher; Varsity Girls' Basketball Head Coach; Varsity Girls' Volleyball Head Coach

email: Caroline Brasa MORE

Alex Conaway

Roxbury Academic Support Instructor

email: Alex Conaway MORE

Sara Kelleher

Roxbury Academic Support Instructor

email: Sara Kelleher MORE

Amy Kolman

Associate Dean of Academics; Roxbury Academic Support Instructor

email: Amy Kolman MORE

Sam Fowler

Math Teacher; Roxbury Academic Support Instructor

email: Sam Fowler MORE
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