Admissions FAQs

What is the student profile of the kids who learn best at Sand Hill School?

The Sand Hill program is designed for bright students, grades 2-8, with language-based learning differences (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia). A majority of our students are struggling with learning to read and traditional methods of reading instruction do not work for them. Sand Hill uses direct and explicit instruction set up in a structured and systematic way that is proven to benefit these students. Read more about The Sand Hill Approach. Many of our students also have ADHD or school-based anxiety and we treat these conditions simultaneously. Teachers and clinicians work collaboratively through embedded support as well as a consultative model to provide a supportive environment for the whole child so students are able to re-discover their inner superpowers. 

Is Sand Hill the right school for a child with ADHD?

We do take students with ADHD without a secondary learning diagnosis, although the ADHD must present as an interference to their academic performance. Not all students who have a diagnosis of ADHD without a learning diagnosis will be best served at SHS. Please consult with the admissions team for further clarification. 

Do you take kids on the autism spectrum?

Students with a primary autism diagnosis who rely heavily on adult prompting, intensive individualized services (or 1-to-1 support), or whose behaviors are still impeding their learning are not well-served at Sand Hill.

Do you take students with impaired cognition?

No—students with impaired cognition are not well served at Sand Hill. They require a different type of program than we can provide.

What assessments do you require?

As part of the admissions process, we require a full psychological-educational evaluation that is current within the last two years. In some cases, especially for our younger students who are just beginning the process of receiving an official diagnosis, the admissions team will work with individual families. Please reach out to our Admissions team for more details.

Is there any diagnosis you won’t take?

Students who have an emotional disorder or conduct disorder are not well served at Sand Hill.

Do you take kids with LD-NOS?

LD-NOS usually means that a child has disorders in reading, written expression and math plus issues with working memory and processing speed. With our small group instruction in reading and math, we are able to effectively target those students’ learning needs.

What if my child has challenging behaviors?

If your child has challenging behaviors, they would not be well-served at Sand Hill.

Sand Hill is a school for students with language-based learning differences (such as dyslexia). Our teachers are learning specialists, not behavior specialists.

What if my child has a math disorder, but not a reading disorder?

Students at Sand Hill have diagnosed language-based learning differences such as dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing) or dyscalculia (math). They may also have a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) with impairment in reading, writing or math.

What qualifies as a language-based learning disorder?

Language-based learning disorder refers to a whole spectrum of conditions related to understanding and use of spoken and written language. Language-based learning disorder is a common cause of students’ academic struggles because weak language skills impede comprehension and communication, which are the basis for most school activity.

Read more at LD Online.

What makes Sand Hill unique compared to other LD schools in the area?

At Sand Hill School, children who learn differently experience the evidence-based The Sand Hill Approach. They connect with expert teachers and specialists who team up to deliver effective and personalized teaching methods for language-based learning differences such as dyslexia and the attention and social changes that can accompany them. As a result, students build confidence and acquire the skills and resiliency they need for home, school and life.

There is a lot of talk about technology, executive functioning and social emotional learning that is important for kids with learning differences. What does Sand Hill do in these areas?

Social emotional learning (SEL) and executive functioning are strong components of the Sand Hill School program. We directly and explicitly teach students strategies and tools in each of these areas. We support students toward becoming independent in the use of these strategies and tools throughout the day.

We use technology both to support student learning and as a strategy/tool for learning. Students in our lower school program (2nd-5th grade) have access to Chromebooks at the teacher’s discretion to support the academic learning. Middle school students (6th-8th grade) have 1-to-1 access to Chromebooks to support their learning in all academic content areas.

How does Sand Hill ensure that teaching is personalized to my child?

At Sand Hill School, our teachers take the time to really get to know each child and their learning profile. They read through the child’s file including the most recent psych-ed evaluation, they complete brief informal assessments and they observe each child in their classroom.

As a result of all the above, they develop a Personalized Plan for each student in their class that includes Focus Areas that will be addressed during the school year. They use these Focus Areas to target instruction and monitor progress for each student to ensure that each one is making expected progress.

Does Sand Hill prepare my child to transition back to their community school?

Sand Hill School does prepare children for transition back to a community school if that is an appropriate learning environment for the child and if the child is ready to transition. It is important to note that the community school may or may not be the best placement for your child.

At Sand Hill School, we have a transition program that starts about one year before the agreed upon transition date. As a part of the transition program we will talk with you about our assessment of your child’s readiness to transition that includes identifying a school placement that would be a good fit for your child.

Please read our Sand Hill Transition Guidebook to learn more.

At Sand Hill School, we also know that some students with learning differences will need longer-term support and may not be ready to transition to another school. Those students can remain at Sand Hill through 8th grade.