Center for Academic Excellence

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The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), formerly The Learning Center/TLC, is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment, where students feel comfortable asking questions, seeking help, and learning to embrace challenges as opportunities for personal growth. The goal of the CAE is to ensure that every student at Shorecrest accesses its many resources and opportunities, in order to unlock each student's full potential. CAE serves all students of our school to ensure academic success at all levels including Alpha, JK, and K-12.

Shorecrest is home to students who are bright, kind, and ready to learn. Our focus is on the whole child, moving past labels to understand each child’s unique underlying story.

Our evidence-based curriculum and instructional methodologies have been proven to be effective in supporting students whose academic performance does not match their cognitive potential.

The secret of education lies in respecting the students.

CAE’s philosophy is simple: respect the student. Everything evolves from this premise. Respect that every student can learn, and that each student learns differently. From this shared respect grows a welcoming atmosphere, our staff’s nurturing disposition, and the personalized, specialized educational programs. We believe in a strong team approach to optimize student achievement.

The Center for Academic Excellence demonstrates its commitment to student respect by:

  • Teaching essential skills to mastery using specialized, research-based programs
  • Honoring each student’s unique learning style
  • Honoring each student’s interests and abilities

Who Uses CAE?

  • Students who have questions or want a place to study with the opportunity to ask questions from a specialist.
  • Students who want to enhance their academic skills and/or improve their grades.
  • Students who want to learn time management and organizational skills.
  • Students who want to have a deeper understanding of how they learn, their strengths, and more to reach their potential.
  • Students who want to meet regularly with a coach or specialist to increase their confidence.

We have success with many students who have a variety of mild to moderate learning differences and other disabilities. Since every student is unique, please contact us to discuss your child’s specific needs.

Services Included in Tuition

  • Consultation with parents regarding any academic concerns
  • Informal assessment of individual students highlighting their strengths and areas for growth
  • Assist teachers with supplemental instructional methods for individualizing and differentiating instruction
  • Screenings by speech/language and occupational therapists
  • Assistive technology (including text to speech, dictation, etc.) and related support
  • Liaison between parents, students, and faculty to provide guidance and expertise to help students reach their educational goals
  • Provide students with an extra line of academic support when necessary. Parents are encouraged to contact The Center for Academic Excellence for guidance with their student's educational needs.
  • Suggest strategies and provide information on how to help students become more independent, active learners
  • Provide a lending library for various topics such as parenting, learning differences, and study skills
  • Offer testing accommodations for qualified students (see academic accommodation policy)
  • Work collaboratively with faculty in and out of the classroom
  • Coordinate team meetings
  • CAE and Literacy Specialists may provide differentiated small group instruction in conjunction with classroom teachers
  • Coordinate the referral process for educational evaluations:

Families requesting teachers to complete any observation forms required by an evaluation center must send the forms directly to The The Center for Academic Excellence for distribution to your child’s current teachers. (See Family Handbook for more information.)

Additional Paid Services Available

Specialized Academic Tutoring

Specialists in The Center for Academic Excellence are committed to providing individualized tutoring for any student Kindergarten -12th grade who wants to enrich or add learning techniques, study skills, or organizational skills to make learning more productive and effective.

Specialists are credentialed in the subject areas they teach. Additionally CAE includes specialists with advanced training in the Wilson System, Barton System, and Orton-Gillingham which are multisensory, structured language approaches to teach reading and writing.

Tutoring for Middle and Upper School students happens either after school or during a free period during the school day. Tutoring for Lower School students happens either during the school day or after school.

English Language Learners (ELL)

Our specialized tutors provide support specific to the needs of English Language Learners. Students understand and learn the content in their classes as well as the direct English language instruction through direct teaching with their tutors and classroom teachers.

More information on how Shorecrest welcomes and supports our international families


Speech/Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists work with teachers, parents, and students to make sure students reach their potential. Many of our students receive speech and language therapy and/or occupational therapy during the school day. This allows the students to learn skills that will directly impact their academic and social learning in and out of the classroom.

Upper School Accommodations

A full list of accommodations provided may be found in the Upper School Family Handbook. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Extended time
  • Solitary testing
  • Use of computer for exams (text to speech capabilities)
  • Modified classroom seating when allowed by space
  • White noise machines
Testing Accommodations

Academic Support for students and families in the Upper School includes proctoring for school-based testing, ensures that psychological and medically approved accommodations are adhered to, and provides advocacy for students with accommodations and ESOL with both the College Board (PSAT, SAT and AP exams) and the ACT.


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students with a formally diagnosed learning disability may qualify for testing accommodations on school-based assessments and standardized tests

In order to qualify for testing accommodations in School, students must have a psychoeducational evaluation current within five years and an IEP or 504 Plan on file.

Please note: the external bodies, College Board and ACT, have their own rules about how old the evaluation may be, but generally a 5 year rule applies.

Students with proper documentation on file at School will be added to an internal Accommodations and Extra Time list, updated monthly. Accommodations will be granted following the recommendations of the psychoeducational evaluation, IEP, or 504 Plan.

Accommodations after a Medical Trauma

In the event of a medical incident, temporary accommodations will be considered based upon a physician’s instructions. In cases like these, written doctor recommendations should be sent to Donna Conroy, the School Nurse.

Standardized Test Accommodations

A student who qualifies for accommodations on internal school assessments does not always qualify for accommodations on tests administered by external agencies - such as the College Board or ACT. Many accommodations fall into the area of extended time. Both ACT and SAT offer accommodations for ESL/ELL students with proper documentation. These and other accommodations may be discussed with Mr. Heller. It is important to note that approval of accommodations on the ACT does not guarantee approval on the SAT, and vice versa.

PSAT / SAT / AP Tests

The College Board administers the PSAT, SAT and AP exams and is very particular that applications are thorough and complete. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales, Individual Achievement Tests, and/or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement should be included in a student evaluation. As the PSAT is given sophomore year, parents/guardians of Freshmen are encouraged to get all testing updated and start the process early in the academic year. Mr. Heller will review the requisite documentation and make an application to the College Board. The College Board can take upwards of 7 weeks to make their decision.

Any accommodations granted will be applied to all the exams the College Board administers. 

Families will be emailed when an application is filed and when a decision is received by the school. It is important that these emails are saved because they will contain information needed for the registration process.

In the possible event an application being denied, we may be able to assist with making an appeal.


ACT accommodations are separate from College Board (SAT/AP). Most students take the ACT for the first time in their Junior year. It is advisable that securing accommodations should be started in the 10th grade. A psychoeducational evaluation will be reviewed so we may help file the request. It is important that the evaluation be thorough to include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales, Individual Achievement Tests, and/or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement.

Generally the turnaround time for a decision is 2-3 weeks, so please keep this mind as you consider registering for an exam.

Additional Information on Policies

We understand that there may be circumstances in which a parent may request that Shorecrest provide an adjustment or accommodation for a student’s medical needs or physical, mental, or learning disability. As the range of requests has grown over the years, Shorecrest believes that it is appropriate at this time to outline Shorecrest’s policy and general guidelines for addressing such requests.

General Policy: 

In general it is Shorecrest’s policy to provide accommodations or adjustments for a student’s minor needs in circumstances in which the administration determines, in its sole discretion, that doing so is within the reasonable ability of Shorecrest and/or its staff and will not result in a significant disruption to the teacher’s ability to instruct other students, to classroom or school order and discipline, will not result in a threat of harm to the safety of other students or employees, will not require a fundamental change to our educational environment or mission, and will not impose responsibilities on school employees for which they are not trained or could not reasonably become trained. We also ask parents to realize that, given the size of our school and our available resources, we may not be able to provide all requested accommodations. To the extent we agree to provide accommodations, we may require a sharing of responsibility for the accommodation.

Interactive Process and Accommodation Plan:

Once a request for accommodation is received, Shorecrest will enter into the interactive process with the parent (and possibly student) to discuss the need and information that Shorecrest will need (discussed below). Once the documentation is provided, the appropriate personnel at Shorecrest will assess the accommodation requests and determine what accommodations can/should be provided at school, at home, and through third-party providers. After discussing these issues with the parent and coming to an agreement on the terms, Shorecrest will set forth the agreement in an Accommodation Plan, which will be signed by Shorecrest and the parent and will be distributed to those persons needing to implement the accommodations.

Release for Communications with Physician: 

Sometimes, the documentation received from the physician may raise questions or be unclear as to the recommendations. In that case, Shorecrest will request that the parent(s) sign a Release of Information form, permitting Shorecrest to contact the medical professional, when necessary. In addition, if there is any cost associated with the physician’s cooperation (i.e., to answer a set of questions submitted, etc.), the parent must agree to bear the cost of such process.

Assessment of Request: 

Once the parent’s request and medical documentation has been received by Shorecrest, appropriate persons within the administration will meet with the parents to clarify information and to discuss whether Shorecrest will be able to implement the accommodation requested. In some cases, the parent may be asked to provide (at the parent’s cost) any special or personal equipment needed, training for Shorecrest’s staff, or other associated matters. In addition, Shorecrest may advise the parent that Shorecrest will allow a particular accommodation, but the full responsibility for doing so will rest with the parent. For example, if the student needs to medical testing or have certain types of medicines administered during the day that Shorecrest believes are beyond the scope of Shorecrest’s responsibility, Shorecrest may allow the parent to make arrangements to visit the campus for the purpose of testing and administering.

Limitations on Requests:

Please understand that Shorecrest is not a medical facility and does not have the personnel, training, or equipment to handle certain types of medical procedures best left to the student, parent, or physician. Examples of accommodations made for students include appropriate classroom locations, extended time on tests, use of computers, and/or dispensing with medication through the Clinic.

CAE Staff

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