Student Support

The Middle School years are a time of growth and transition for our students. To prepare them to become confident and independent learners, we work to address their individual needs in a variety of ways.

Learning Resource Support

Learning Resource support helps students conquer obstacles to their academic success. For some students, this help is in the form of workshops and coaching to improve study skills, note-taking and time management. Other students may require more specific support due to learning differences.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

Whether students are gifted or they need help with specific learning challenges, our learning resource support program helps all learners reach their full potential.

Individual Education Plans are usually developed when students have undergone a psycho-educational assessment, and are based on recommendations from the psychologist. Learning Resource specialists offer many different kinds of support, which includes accommodations for testing, assistance with note-taking, providing access to assistive technology, and having regularly scheduled meetings to discuss issues and review progress.

Learning Resources at Middle School

The learning resource teacher collaborates with subject teachers to help students achieve their personal potential. Levels of support vary by need. Some students benefit from help with organization, time management, study skills, and specific subject support, while others require special support or enrichment. Learning resource teachers also implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for some students.

SMUS school counsellors provide confidential counselling to our students – individually or in small groups. The primary focus of our counsellors is to help our students develop skills and strategies to deal effectively with life challenges that can sometimes interfere with their success. Counselling staff work with students on issues such as life balance, wellbeing, conflict resolution and stress management.

When a situation requires it, counsellors will extend the counselling process to include faculty, boarding parents, medical staff and parents. If more extensive therapeutic intervention is required, our counsellors will make referrals to certified professionals in the community.

At the Middle School, our counsellor plays an important role in our students' lives and provides invaluable support for their growth and learning. The counsellor:

  • provides individual and group support for students in order to enhance their growth, development, social and emotional skills;
  • works with teachers to help students learn specific skills such as communication, problem-solving and building friendships; and
  • is available to provide educational opportunities and support for parents.

The Middle School counsellor is available during most school hours. Students can set up an appointment if they have anything they’d like to discuss in a private setting.

At the Middle School, a student's academic day starts to resemble that of the Senior School. Students move between classrooms for their subjects, which are taught by subject specialists, and spend just a brief time each morning in their Teacher Advisor Groups. Teacher advisors play an important role in monitoring each student's progress and ensuring that each student is receiving the support they need. We support our teacher advisors in this important duty with faculty grade meetings.

Middle School teaching staff meet once every 10-day cycle to discuss student performance in a particular grade. Subject teachers share their observations of their students and raise any concerns so that staff can collaborate on a plan of support that is tailored to each student's unique needs.

If a student attends St. Michaels University School from an early age, they will experience three very different parts of SMUS as they move from Junior to Middle, then from Middle to Senior schools. It's important that our students make a smooth and happy transition from one school to another, which is why we run yearly orientation programs with our Grade 5 and 8 classes.

Middle to Senior School

Middle School students share a campus with Senior School, so their physical transition is less dramatic than the one from Junior to Middle. The academic transition, however, can be overwhelming. That's why each spring, Grade 8 students meet with the Grade 9 advisor to go over the Senior School courses and timetable, to ask questions, and to make their course selections for the following year.

Students who are new to Senior School have a dedicated orientation assembly on the first day of classes, and there is an information evening in September where new Senior School parents have the opportunity to find out more about life and learning at the secondary level.

The WEB and Link Orientation Programs

WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) and Link Crew are Middle School and Senior School transition programs built on the belief that students are the best people to help other students succeed in a new environment.

Both programs recruit older students to act as role models, motivators, leaders and teachers who guide their new schoolmates to discover what it takes to be successful in their new school. WEB leaders and Link Crew kick off with the school year with a fun and energetic orientation day that makes students excited and proud to be attending their new school and allows them to begin developing relationships and strategies that will contribute to their success.

Academic and social follow-up activities continue throughout the year, providing student with a structure that helps them make real and lasting connections with one another.