Empowering students with language-based learning differences grades 4-12
Siena Virtual Tutoring
Siena Tutors provides students in grades K-12 with a positive instructional experience focused on each individual's unique growth in core academic subjects including reading, writing, math, science, and Spanish. We additionally offer tutoring services with a focus on executive functioning. These individualized tutoring sessions equip students with a variety of skills applicable to both their virtual and traditional schooling.
Siena's virtual tutoring program employs the same teaching methods that are used in our school. Instruction is based upon each student's goals and focuses on developing their areas of growth while continuing to hone their strengths.
Tutors: Edie Schutz, Anna Savage, Anna VanderLugt, Erin Oakley
Executive functioning refers to the mental steps individuals take allowing them to plan, organize, and accomplish tasks. Students are provided with tools and strategies to help them acquire and refine these regulatory skills. Tutors will work with students to maintain strategies to help form routines within the new structure of online learning. Topics covered can include scheduling, prioritizing tasks, managing workloads, organization, and goal setting.
Tutors: Leslie Holst, Beth Augustine, Peni Critchell, Anna Savage
Reading is taught using multisensory methods, cementing sound to symbol relationships and building awareness of the morphological parts of words. Teaching literacy by providing individualized reading/language remediation through explicit, systematic instruction in the five essential skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Methodologies are used to strengthen decoding, spelling, comprehension and fluency.
Tutors: Edie Schutz
Tutors will work with students to help maintain a positive outlook on education through distance learning. Students will have guided instruction while completing work given by their teachers. Through individualized, multisensory instruction, students work to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and acquire the tools and strategies needed to become successful and independent learners building confidence and self-advocacy skills. Tutors will also give extra support and instruction in areas as needed.
Tutors: Anna Savage
Students will enhance their reading comprehension and written expression skills through creative, evidence based practices. Tutors will cover topics based on student need and can include grammar and sentence structure, essay writing, creative writing, poetry, and literature. Writing is honed through the Step-up-to-Writing program where students learn to not only compose expository and persuasive writing but peer review, revise, edit, and publish their work. Grammar is taught using multisensory techniques. Students practice with assistive technologies such as Read & Write (reading/writing) and Mindomo.
Tutor: Sam Kebede
Students will enrich their historical knowledge of the United States and the world through the use of critical thinking skills, discussion, and the utilization of both primary and secondary sources. They will gain a greater comprehension of past events, cultures, and trends.
Tutors: Anna VanderLugt, Joel Mercado, Erin Oakley
Tutors will help students grasp the mathematical concepts from their courses by allowing them to think through their thoughts aloud, using virtual whiteboards to show work and practicing with online manipulatives.
Tutors: David Bonner, Anna Vanderlugt
Tutors will help students with understanding content, vocabulary, and study strategies.
Tutors: Joel Mercado
Tutors will help students with understanding content, vocabulary, studying, speaking/pronunciation and listening strategies.
The tutors at The Siena School are educational leaders and professionals with extensive backgrounds in a variety of teaching methods. They are experienced educators extensively trained in multisensory instruction and accustomed to individualizing lessons to each student's needs. We at Siena celebrate the innate individuality of each student and their learning processes, collaborating with families to help each student reach their full potential.
Siena Tutors "About Me"
Elizabeth Augustine, Reading Tutor & Reading Department Chair, has been with Siena for 14 years. She was previously a reading teacher for students with language-based learning disabilities. Prior to teaching, she was a programmer with AT&T Corporation and an import/export coordinator for a Japanese trading company. Ms. Augustine holds a B.A. in English literature from Rutgers College and a certificate in computer programming from The Chubb Institute. Ms. Agustine is trained in Lindamood-Bell (LiPS®, Seeing Stars®, Visualizing and Verbalizing®), The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (Orton-Gillingham), ASDEC (Sounds in Syllables), Phono Graphix, Reading by Design (SPELL-Links), Structured Word Inquiry, William van Cleave (Morphology Matters), and Neuhaus Education Center (Scientific Spelling).
David Bonner, middle and high school science teacher, is in his 5th year at Siena. He holds a B.S. in Biology cum laude and a Master's Degree in Science Education, both from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. He has worked in a variety of public and private schools in Georgia, North Carolina, and the D.C. area for nearly twenty years, teaching and developing curricula for Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and International Baccalaureate Physics. Prior to joining The Siena School, he also served as Librarian, Director of Technology, and JV Tennis coach at The Field School in Northwest D.C., where he was actively engaged in multicultural work. Mr. Bonner was awarded the Presidential Award and a degree from the professional culinary program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg.
Peni Critchell, Reading Tutor & Reading Teacher, has been with Siena for six years. She earned a B.A. in American Studies from the University of North Carolina and a M.A.T. from George Washington University. She is certified as an LD tutor through the Lab School of Washington. Ms. Critchell has worked in education in the metropolitan area for over 30 years; she began her career as a classroom teacher at Georgetown Day School and has most recently worked as a learning specialist at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School and as a tutor at the Lab School of Washington Summer Camp.
Maya Furukawa, Tutoring Coordinator & Middle School English Teacher, has been at Siena since 2017. She holds a double-B.A. in Creative Writing and Literary Studies from Beloit College and an M.S. in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Furukawa spent two years teaching high school special education English in Baltimore before discovering Siena. In her free time, Ms. Furukawa enjoys writing short stories, baking, and spending time with her two dogs.
Leslie Holst, Reading Tutor & Reading Teacher, joined the Siena team in 2018. She is an ASDEC-trained Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) and IDA Certified Dyslexia Therapist (CDT). An experienced early childhood educator, Ms. Holst specializes in using the Orton-Gillingham approach to teach students with language-based learning differences from preschool to 8th grade. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Longwood University and her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. When not teaching, Ms. Holst enjoys reading mysteries, walking her dog, and volunteering at her kids' swim meets and baseball games.
Sam Kebede, Social Studies Tutor & After School Teacher, joined the Siena team in 2019. He has a passion for history and policy. He received his bachelor's degree from Hood College, in Frederick MD, where he won several honors for his work in the History, Political Science, African American Studies, and Ethics fields. Sam was involved with student and local activism. He worked to make Hood College students a vital component of Frederick politics and political activism and created a public debate format for students.
Joel Mercado, Math & Spanish Tutor & High School Math Teacher, has been with Siena since 2016. He joined us as a graduate of the local university in Takoma Park, Washington Adventist University. He received a B.S in Mathematics and worked as a professor for 2 years after graduating. Mr. Mercado enjoys staying active with cycling and soccer and assists Siena's soccer team as a coach.
Erin Oakley, Math & Executive Functioning Tutor, received her B.S. in Math from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her M.S. in Math from the University of Minnesota. Ms. Oakley taught at Siena from 2016-2018 before relocating back to her home in Minnesota. Currently, she teaches math at The Blake School. In her free time, she loves to jump for joy, eat delicious bread, and read interesting tales.
Anna Savage, Reading, English, & Executive Functioning Tutor (pronouns: she/her/hers), earned a B.A. from Amherst College in Psychology and Black Studies, cum laude, and an M.A. in Special Education from George Mason University. Anna has experience teaching all 5 core subject areas and reading to students with special needs. However, she is most passionate about reading interventions and the humanities. After 5 years of teaching, Anna returned to graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis to pursue her Master’s in Social Work. She currently works as a school-based therapist for high school students in Washington, DC. Anna loves reading, rugby, making slime with her therapy clients, and trying new arts and crafts.
Edie Schutz, Elementary & Executive Functioning Tutors & Elementary Teacher, has been with Siena for six years. She is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She is the assistant coach for the Varsity Girls Basketball Team at Siena. Before joining Siena, she was awarded The Master Teacher Award for a Project Discovery class she taught for an ESF camp. Outside of Siena, Ms. Schutz is a head coach for a Bethesda Lacrosse Select Team for 5th- and 6th-grade girls. This is her sixth year teaching at Siena.
Anna VanderLugt, Math, Science, and Executive Functioning Tutor, is in her 12th year as an educator. She earned her B.S. in biology with honors from Sonoma State University and her M.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has been teaching math and science to middle and high school students for over twelve years, including students with language-based learning differences. Mrs. VanderLugt earned certifications in multisensory math through ASDEC and classroom management training through Developmental Designs.