Enrichment » Support for Students with Learning Differences

Support for Students with Learning Differences

In the fall of 2011, La Salle established a flexible and responsive academic track for students with moderate diagnosed learning differences.
Since the launch of our inclusive academic support model, our graduates have gone on to post-secondary education in both two and four year colleges as well as directly into the workforce.  

La Salle supports a diverse group of learners who benefit from additional academic support due to learning differences, health concerns, or diagnosed needs. This educational pathway is designed to serve students who desire a faith-based education but who require support to attain their educational goals. With options for individualized curriculum and instruction, small student/teacher ratios, regular on-going learning assessments, and research-based literacy interventions, La Salle’s inclusive philosophy embraces each child’s unique strengths and gifts and also provides a flexible, mobile, and dynamic high school experience.

Students with learning differences are fully immersed in La Salle's diverse community and also participate in a more sheltered and structured experience in core academic classes. The curriculum, pace, and scope in these core classes may be modified to provide for the diverse learning needs of the students in the class. Sheltered core class include English, math, social studies, and science.

La Salle also offers students a designated support class, which focuses on the development of organization and study skills. Support class provides students opportunities for supplemental instruction as well as working on homework assignments and long term projects. In addition to support class, we also offer students the opportunity to work with peer educator assistants in a variety of core or elective classes.

Learning Specialist and Instructional Coach Tiffany Arnold maintains academic accommodations for students who qualify for a plan. She also works with students to help them improve study skills and self-advocacy skills. Ms. Arnold is the primary contact for parents regarding academic accommodations. La Salle also works with North Clackamas School District to provide referrals for services, testing, eligibility, and learning plans.

Students who would benefit from a variety of academic supports are identified during our admissions process. The admissions committee reviews information and documentation from parents, teachers, learning specialists, health professionals, and more. Families meet with our academic support team so that we are able to learn more about each child's academic and personal goals.

Questions? Please contact Brian Devine, Vice Principal of Student Life, at

Features of Academic Support
  • Specialized instruction
  • Small student/teacher ratios in core classes
  • Regular on-going learning assessment
  • Research-based literacy interventions
  • Support class focused on organization and study skills
  • Ongoing collaboration with our Learning Specialist
  • Coordination with North Clackamas School District for referral of services.
  • Access to in-class academic support from Peer Educational Assistants

Student Profile

Students have a variety of abilities and learning challenges. We look at each student’s skills and abilities to determine if La Salle can meet his or her needs.

Students’ learning differences include, but are not limited to: 

  • Autism (mild)
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyslexia
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Visual Processing Disorder
  • Communication Disorders
  • Executive Functioning Disorder
  • Other Health Impairments

We are not able to support the needs of students with emotional or behavioral disturbances.

Matthew Shedlock is the Lead Teacher and Assessment Coordinator for the program. Matt earned his Master of Education in School Counseling and Education Specialist in School Psychology degrees at Seattle University. Matt has strong experience as a teacher, counselor, and in the development and implementation of responsive intervention series, test coordination, accommodations coordination, and assessment analysis for learning differences. Matt teaches English as well as Economics and Government.
Tiffany Arnold earned her degree in Psychology from Michigan State and was a registered social worker. She later graduated with a Master’s degree in Special Education from Lewis and Clark College. Tiffany has been a high school teacher and taught several subjects and also has worked as an autism specialist in New Zealand. Tiffany provides academic support for students with diagnosed learning differences and she also serves as the Instructional Coach for La Salle's educators.
Renee Giesemann earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola University in New Orleans, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver, and a Specialist in School Psychology degree from Winthrop University. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and has been working with students who benefit from academic support since 2012. 
Shawn Kelly ‘05 graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a B.A. in psychology. He worked for Cascadia Behavioral Health as a mental health and behavioral counselor, where he assisted in coordinating and implementing treatment plans in a residential setting, and worked as a behavior and social skills trainer. He also has volunteered as a middle school instructional assistant.