What does a VISTAS class “look like” and when is it scheduled?

Lower School - The Lower School program, established in 1998, offers individualized instruction for SDS students in 3-year-old kindergarten through fourth grade. Improved academic skills and enhanced self-esteem are the hallmarks of this program. Students attend the VISTAS program during the school day for instruction in reading, mathematics, writing skills and general curriculum support, as needed. They are fully integrated into the activities of their classrooms, and we make every effort to keep students with their homeroom as much as possible. Our certified teaching professionals customize instruction to meet the learning needs of each student. Lower School teachers and the VISTAS staff work closely together to assure that each student is successful in the classroom.

Middle School - The Middle School VISTAS Program is designed to provide both general support and specific skill remediation. The classes are designed with the needs of the learner first and foremost. Students are grouped based on grade and need of instruction. There are two classes offered in the Middle School VISTAS program which occur during the school day. Students attend all core academic subjects and attend VISTAS in lieu of an elective or a study hall.

  • Math support is designed to reinforce the work and expectations for math classes through small group instruction. The purpose is to assist the students with remediation of specific skills needed for regular class work as well as to reinforce the math skills taught at each grade level.
  • General classroom support is designed to provide study and organizational support for students for any subject area. This support includes, but is not limited to, specific instruction in note-taking skills, study strategies and organizational frameworks. Teachers also make sure that students understand their current assignments and support the students as they learn how to advocate for themselves. Class size is limited to three students.

Upper School - Our certified professionals teach the students organizational skills and study strategies using the work from their classes. Our teachers assist in preparation for daily assignments, long-term assignments, quizzes and tests. They also facilitate accommodation arrangements with the College Board, ACT and colleges. Class size in the Upper School VISTAS program is limited to three students, and classes occur during the school day.

Study Hall - Enrollment in the VISTAS program in all three division includes a study hall Monday through Thursday at no additional cost. It is proctored by the full-time VISTAS teacher in that division and allows students an opportunity to double-check their planners and packed book bags. They may use the time to schedule tutorials with classroom teachers, work with peers on projects, and begin homework completion under the supervision of a VISTAS teacher.

Who is the teacher/instructor?

The number of students enrolled and the schedule determine which VISTAS teacher teaches which classes.

Will my child receive instruction with other students? If so, how many?

In the Lower School Program, we cap our classes at two students per teacher. In the Middle School and Upper School Programs, we cap our classes at three students per teacher. In all three divisions, parents may request one-on-one instruction for their child, however a one-on-one premium will be charged in addition to the VISTAS tuition.

Will my child do his or her homework with the instructor or just receiving tutoring?

The focus in the Lower School program is on remediation of academic weaknesses. Our teachers use a variety of methods and materials that are different than but support the mainstream curriculum. Homework is supported for students who attend the VISTAS study hall but is not completed during VISTAS class time.

In the Middle School and Upper School programs, there are days when pieces of homework are completed as part of a study skills lesson, test taking lesson or just to check for content mastery among the students. While nightly written homework is not completed specifically, we do a lot in our classes that better prepares students for their homework and for studying.

Will we be able to receive updates from the instructor like we do with our child’s regular teachers?

In every division, parents receive a narrative report with each quarterly report card. The Middle School program report also includes a checklist indicating progress and performance on a variety of study, organization and test-taking strategies. VISTAS teachers hold conferences twice a year and our teachers contact parents when they have concerns or celebrations, and they are always willing to answer emails or chat on the phone.

How much does the VISTAS Program cost?

All fees for the VISTAS Program are in addition to the school's tuition and vary by division. For specific information regarding fees, please contact VISTAS Director Tara Greer at 864-582-8380, ext 2418, or tara.greer@sdsgriffin.org.