Instructional Support Programs

Better Learners and Self-Advocates

Learn how you learn best. Learn how to be a better self-advocate. Those are the underlying objectives we have for all of our students as they gain critical skills and make progress in their academic development. Toward that aim, Brimmer creates an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and where they can conveniently seek extra help or guidance from teachers and advisors. For those who need a more structured approach to addressing academic challenges and strengthening their overall academic foundation, Brimmer offers a number of formal instructional support programs. Featuring individualized solutions and close communication between teachers and staff members, these programs help students meet their goals and become more confident learners.

Academic Services & Instructional Support Programs

List of 9 items.

  • Accommodation Plans for Learning Differences

    The School implements an individualized Brimmer Accommodation Plan for all students who submit an IEP, 504 plan, or a psychoeducational evaluation to the Directors of Academic Services.
    The Accommodation Plan outlines the student’s strengths, areas of need, instructional methods, and accommodations that Brimmer can offer based on the student’s learning profile. Accommodations can include, but are not limited to, time and a half on tests, regular check-ins with teachers, and support with breaking down long-term projects and developing other planning and organizational strategies.
  • Tutoring Program for K-12

    The Brimmer and May Tutoring Program is designed to meet the academic needs of students seeking development and individualized practice of academic skills in an array of subject areas extending beyond the supports already built into the classroom.
    For more information about our Tutoring Program for Lower School students, please contact Lower School Director of Academic Services Kimberly Tolpa. For more information about our Tutoring Program for Middle and Upper School students, please contact MS/US Director of Academic Services Karen Bernanke.

    Financial aid is available if a student receives tuition assistance, up to 50% of the total aid package received by the student. If you have questions regarding financial assistance for tutoring, please contact Brian Beale prior to beginning the registration process.

  • English Language Support for Grades 6-12

    For Brimmer’s international students and those whose first language is not English, we offer an English Language Support (ELS) program that provides individualized assistance.
    The ELS program provides students in Grades 6-12 with a strong foundation for success in a mainstream classroom setting: writing, reading, speaking, and listening. The ELS teacher works closely with humanities teachers in particular to provide students with the support to best understand, organize, and follow through on assignments in the subject areas that are most difficult for nonnative speakers of English—history and English classes. As students become acclimated to approaching and successfully completing projects, the ELS classroom becomes a place for enrichment—where students read short stories and novels, usually with a cultural focus, and where regular writing practice, vocabulary skill-building, and grammar are stressed alongside active participation in discussions and the development of presentation skills. 

    In the Upper School international students may be enrolled in Foundations of English for Non-native Speakers or Academic English for Non-native Speakers. These courses are focused on preparing students for the rigors of high school and college writing and help prepare international students for success.
  • Student Support Team

    All divisions have a Student Support Team (SST) that meets weekly to assess the academic, social, and emotional progress and well-being of students. SST is designed to support students both by anticipating and preventing issues before they occur and by providing interventions and/or resources when issues do arise.
    Each team consists of the Division Head, the Director of Academic Services, the School nurse, the School psychologist or counselor, the Director of Teaching and Learning (for LS) and the Dean of Students (for MS and US). This collaborative team is organized to address concerns affecting a student’s school performance. Such concerns may be academic or related to physical or emotional health.
    Brimmer appreciates that all students learn differently and supports students in reaching their academic, social, and emotional potential.
  • Lower School Support

    The Lower School Director of Academic Services works in collaboration with the Student Support Team and the Learning Specialists to assess student needs and support classroom teachers with instruction.

    All students are assessed at the beginning ​and end of the school year using a formal benchmarking system. The students are also reassessed regularly during the school year in various ways to monitor their progress and ensure they are making steady gains. A flexible and dynamic small-group system is used to meet children where they are in their learning and help them build their skills in order to ensure students’ needs are being met. Individual tutoring is also available at an added cost.
    When classroom observations and assessments indicate a need for a more extensive evaluation, the Lower School Director of Academic Services and/or the Head of Lower School will be in touch with the student's family. The information provided by such evaluations is often instrumental in creating a plan for the child with supports that best match the student's strengths and challenges, allowing for maximum success.
  • The Middle School Learning Center

    The Middle School Learning Center, located in the Almy Wing, is a place where all students in Grades 6-8 can go to receive extra help when they hit a plateau in their learning. It is staffed by Brimmer faculty in the humanities, mathematics, sciences, and languages. This space helps to empowers students to develop skills and strategies that foster academic success.
    In addition to academic support, the Center can help students with organization and other study skills. The Center is open during most study halls, reading periods, and after school.
  • Peer Tutoring

    Peer tutoring is a student-led initiative available to Middle and Upper School students. Peer tutors are carefully selected through an application process that includes teacher recommendations.
    Interested students may reach out to a peer tutor with a similar free period to set up a meeting time. Peer tutors offer support in the content areas of math, writing, science, and world languages.
  • The Upper School Writing Center

    What if a student doesn’t know where to begin on a writing assignment? Or a teacher realizes a student needs extra coaching on the writing process? What if a disappointing essay grade reveals a student’s weakness in grammar and usage? For all of these circumstances and more, Brimmer’s Writing Center can help.
    Students in grades 9-12 may sign up for one-to-one writing support at the center during one of their study halls. The staff—comprised of Brimmer humanities teachers—knows the curriculum and the scope and sequence of writing skills taught at each grade level. Their aim is to identify where the student is struggling and offer the kind ofinstruction that addresses the immediate problem, keeps the student from falling behind, and helps him or her to become a better and more confident writer overall.
  • The Math Lab

    The Math Lab is a resource used by students from Algebra I to AP Calculus. Whether a student is rusty on a topic learned previously, would like more practice in preparation for a test, or would benefit from having a concept explained in another way, he or she can visit the Math Lab during the school day to quickly and conveniently tackle the problem.
    Working with students individually and in small groups, the Math Lab’s instructors help students to stay on track in class, to develop stronger mathematical foundations, and to feel prepared for challenging work that may lie ahead.

Meet Our Staff

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Kim Tolpa

    Kim Tolpa 

    Lower School Director of Academic Services
  • Photo of Karen Bernanke

    Karen Bernanke 

    Middle & Upper School Director of Academic Services
  • Photo of Stan Szwartz

    Stan Szwartz 

    Part-time Math Lab Instructor
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.