Student Success

At PBDA, every student achieves more, regardless of learning differences.

Student Success Team (SST)

The mission of PBDA’s Student Success Team (SST) is to provide each child with the necessary academic, social, emotional, and physical support, as needed, to thrive here at PBDA.

The SST is made up of two learning specialists for Primary through Grade 3, and two learning specialists Grades 4-9. A school counselor and school nurse attend to both campuses to provide additional support. Moreover, the Head of Upper and Lower Campuses are actively involved in the organization and planning for student success. All members of the SST work closely with classroom teachers as well as parents to understand the students’ needs and create effective support plans. Please click here to learn more about our Accommodation Policy.

Primary through Grade 5

For students in Primary through Grade 5, foundational literacy skills are taught using the Wilson Reading System. Wilson Language is a structured, systematic, and multi-sensory approach to teaching reading, which is based on the Orton-Gillingham Methodology.

Grades 6 through 9

Beginning in Grade 6, the focus shifts to application, independence, and self-advocacy. A daily Learning Strategies class is offered at each grade level, which teaches organizational and study skills, as well as incorporates targeted instruction in reading comprehension and written expression.


PBDA Student Counselor

PBDA Deena Sobel School Counselor

The School Counselor, Deena Sobel, is a member of the Student Success Team and is a resource for teachers, parents, and students on both campuses. Students are often referred to the counselor by teachers, but due to her open-door policy, many Upper Campus students come on their own, as needed.

Mrs. Sobel communicates with parents after individual meetings and acts as a liaison between home and school during times of transition and with outside professionals. In addition to one-on-one conversation, Mrs. Sobel also meets with students in small groups, scheduled around academic classes or before school.

Grades 4-6

Sobel teaches weekly social-emotional classroom guidance lessons to Fourth Grade, and bi-weekly lessons to Fifth Grade. In Sixth Grade, Sobel leads single-gender discussions throughout the year to discuss friendship and conflict resolution. Students in Grades 4-6 are also invited to join in casual “lunch bunches” throughout the year.

Grade 9

Mrs. Sobel presents a three-week-long curriculum, Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP), to Ninth Grade students. The curriculum demystifies mental illness, identifies warning signs of depression in teenagers, and augments discussion about how to seek support for oneself or a friend who might be struggling.


PBDA Nurse

PBDA School Nurse Carrie Pateman

The registered school nurse, Ms. Carrie Pateman (’92), provides a student-centered approach to care for all students, from Pre-Primary to Ninth Grade. As an active participant on the Student Success Team, the nurse contributes essential medical information relative to student progress and success. In addition, she provides first aid and injury care to students; provides nursing assessments and counseling referrals, when appropriate; maintains student health records; administers medications to students prescribed by a medical doctor; counsels parents on child-specific health needs; develops and conducts group education sessions to address health topics that include sleep habits, healthy nutrition and exercise; and more.