COUNSELING SERVICES

The primary goal of our school counseling services is to promote and enhance student learning through the three broad, interrelated areas of student development: academic, personal, and social.

The counselors at RIS provide a variety of services, including whole-class, small-group, and individual support. During individual sessions, a counselor and student work together one-on-one on a program or topic of interest. A face-to-face meeting with a counselor builds trust and allows a student to freely explore his or her ideas, feelings, and behaviors. School counselors always respect the rights, integrity, and welfare of our students.

School counselors provide consulting services and welcome meetings with parents, teachers, and administrators to discuss and advise on any matter concerning a student’s personal and academic welfare.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES

Julia Jones, Director of Pupil Services

I’m excited to join RIS for the 2018–2019 school year! After spending the past 11 years in Chicago, USA, I am honored to embark on my first international education experience at RIS. I earned my master’s and Educational Specialist degrees in school psychology in Ohio, where I began my career as a school psychologist. After earning an additional MA in school leadership, I most recently worked in two suburban school districts, serving as Director of Student Services and as Student Services Administrator. I’ve also enjoyed being a running coach for 7 years and am proud to have been a mentor for inner city high school students for the past 6 years.

Hussein Edelen, School Psychologist

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and studied psychology at Albany University (SUNY) as an undergraduate. I completed my Master in Education at DePaul University, in Chicago, IL, and worked on a PhD in School Psychology at Howard University in Washington, DC. I began my career as an elementary school teacher, which I enjoyed for 5 years before transitioning into teaching psychology at the university level. I’ve been a school psychologist in NYC for the past 15 years. Working with students and their families as a professional in education for the past 20 years has been extremely rewarding. I’m looking forward to the next 20 years! I’ve been very fortunate to have lived and worked in some incredible locations, such as Puerto Rico, England, and Japan. I have two awesome sons, ages 9 and 11. We enjoy traveling the world as a family and immersing ourselves in many diverse cultures. I’m extremely humbled and excited to be a School Psychologist for a top international school like RIS!

At RIS, we spend time getting to know each of our children and how they learn best through our Student Study teams, comprising teachers, administrators, counselors, and the school psychologist. When a student with issues related to academic achievement and/or behavior is referred by a Student Study team, our school psychologists carry out psychological and educational evaluations in collaboration with the student and his/her teachers and parents. An evaluation provides information about a student’s academic, cognitive, and social-emotional development. These details then inform the development of an individual plan to support the student in any identified areas of need.

School psychologists also provide counseling and consultation services for teachers, administrators, parents, and students on matters concerning children and young people, family, and education. Our school psychologists work in collaboration with external mental health professionals from the wider community.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

The English Language Development Program (ELDP) recognizes that one of the top priorities in a quality international education is the attainment of an academic-level of English fluency. English language learners are designated by their level of proficiency, from beginner to advanced, and each level requires matched instructional strategies to facilitate rapid skill development. At RIS, ELD students are immersed in a rich English-speaking environment and selectively enrolled in core mainstream subjects to give them frequent opportunities to interact with classmates and teachers. ELD students also get individualized help in study support classes to accelerate their academic success.

Small-group pull-out and language support classes provide specialized learning time where content instruction and the development of English skills are closely integrated. Push-in support gives English language learners help within mainstream classes.

RIS uses MAP NWEA and WIDA MODEL testing to track progress in English skills development. Students who progress to higher proficiency levels receive adapted curriculum and assessment accommodations based on their individual needs throughout the year.

Click here to learn how the ELD program at RIS is further tailored to each section—ES, MS, and HS—to meet the specific needs of students at different ages and developmental stages.

LEARNING SUPPORT PROGRAM

Wit Pilunthanakul, Head of Learning Support and Alternative Day Class Program

I have been teaching in the Learning Support Department at RIS for the past 6 years. I’m part of the RIS alumni family, having graduated with the Class of 2002. I returned to RIS to teach after receiving a Bachelor in Neuropsychology from the University of Westminster (UK) and a Master in Teaching, specializing in gifted education and learning disabilities, from the University of Melbourne (Australia). As Head of Department, I manage the Learning Support team at RIS and was integral to the initiation and development of our new Alternative Day Classroom program this year. I have a calm disposition and the ability to relate culturally and linguistically to parents and staff at RIS. Every day is a joy working at RIS, and the Learning Support team is like a well-rounded family.

The Learning Support program, from PreK to grade 12, is designed to help students develop skills, access the general school curriculum, reach their potential, and realize their ambitions. The program is based on the belief that students vary in their level of ability, achievement, motivation, and interest, and that individuals learn best with programs that provide challenges in a supportive and stimulating environment.

Students who find it difficult to achieve success at school need support. They may develop negative attitudes about themselves and not feel as capable as their classmates or siblings. The Learning Support program helps students to be confident and to build on their successes, despite having an identified learning difficulty in key academic areas such as reading, writing and mathematics.

When teachers raise concerns about a student’s progress, students are brought into the program through a team approach that involves parents, teachers, the counselor, and the school psychologist. Upon referral, a full psychological and educational evaluation of academic, cognitive, and social-emotional strengths and needs is completed and discussed with parents and teachers prior to being enrolled in Learning Support. Exiting from the program also requires a similar assessment.

Our Learning Support program is focused on a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), which has been developed collaboratively with the student, parents, teachers, counselors, psychologists, learning support teachers, and speech therapist. Each student has a Learning Support teacher to keep track of their progress. Students’ needs are met in the mainstream classroom with Learning Support and core content teachers working together.

The Alternative Day Classroom (ADC) program was added to the Learning Support offerings at the beginning of the 2017–2018 school year. The ADC program is uniquely crafted in that it addresses both academic and life skills. The program is designed for children and young people with different abilities who are better served by learning within the framework of a mostly individualized program. Students are scheduled into a combination of mainstream classes and one-on-one learning time. Individualized studies are conducted in the ADC classroom, which is designed as a contemporary, open-plan learning space that provides for individual and small-group learning.

SPEECH SERVICES

Halie Peveto, Speech-Language Pathologist

I completed my Master of Speech-Language Pathology at Lamar University. Since graduation, I have worked with many children with diverse needs in school districts in both Texas and Pennsylvania, in private clinics, and in home environments. I enjoy working internationally as it allows me to take my passion for speech therapy across the globe. I also enjoy traveling, reading, and trying new foods.

The Speech-Language Therapy program serves PreK through grade 12 students at RIS who need specialized intervention in order to communicate effectively. Our certified Speech-Language Pathologist (Speech Therapist) provides evaluation and interventions for students in the program. Students receiving these services may have difficulties in one or more of the following areas: the pronunciation of specific sounds, understanding or expressing spoken language, and speaking smoothly.

Another component of the Speech-Language Therapy program involves supporting the language development of all our RIS students. The speech-language therapist provides consultation and classroom-based support for teachers who see a need to develop specific communication skills in their classrooms. In these instances, the speech-language therapist will provide small-group or whole-class language lessons to address certain language skills. This model is used most frequently with our younger students as a way to stimulate early language development and assist in quickly identifying students who have speech-language needs.