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Student Support

At PBDA, every student achieves more, regardless of learning differences. The mission of our Student Success Team (SST) is to provide each child with the necessary academic, social, emotional, and physical support needed to thrive at PBDA.

The SST is made up of three learning specialists for Primary through Grade 3, and three learning specialists for Grades 4-8. A school counselor and school nurses attend to both campuses to provide additional support. The Head of Upper and Lower Schools are also 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. Learn more about of Accommodation Policy here.

Primary through Grade 5

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

Additional support services the SST offers include fine-tuning executive functioning skills, boosting writing fundamentals, and sharpening math facts and basic principles. The SST often reinforces taught skills through small group breakout sessions in the classroom.

Grades 6 through 8

Beginning in Grade 6, the focus shifts to application, independence, and self-advocacy. All sixth-grade students are enrolled in a weekly Study Skills class that teaches organizational skills and study strategies. This course is designed to sharpen executive functioning skills, note-taking, and preparation for assessments.

In Grades 6-8, a daily Guided Study class is offered for students eligible to waive a world language to provide academic support and facilitate the use of learning strategies.

Meet Our School Counselors

Deena Sobel, Upper School Counselor

The Upper School Counselor, Deena Sobel, is a resource for teachers, parents, and students on the Upper Campus. As a member of the Student Success Team (SST), Mrs. Sobel collaborates with SST members on the Lower Campus as well, to ensure there is a continuum of support when students transition from Third to Fourth Grade. Students are often referred to the counselor by teachers, but due to her open-door policy, many students come on their own.

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 check-ins, Mrs. Sobel also meets with students in small groups, scheduled around academic classes or before school.

Mrs. Sobel teaches social-emotional classroom guidance lessons and often leads grade-level discussions throughout the year to discuss friendship and conflict resolution. She is also a member of the Eighth Grade Team and guides students and families as they explore Secondary School options upon graduating from PBDA.


Kayleigh Winters, Lower School Counselor

Kayleigh is joining Palm Beach Day Academy after working for six years at Wooster School in Danbury, CT. Before working in an independent school, Kayleigh was a Licensed Clinician for the Family and Children's Aid IICAPS (Intensive In-home Children and Adolescent Psychiatric Services) Program. She enjoys bringing Child Centered Play Techniques into her individual sessions with students and facilitating peer groups and connections. She looks forward to working with students on navigating and regulating emotions and skill-building to support safe, effective, and fun learning each and every day.


Meet Our Learning Specialists

Allison Charnick

Director of Early Childhood

Rebecca Choron

Lower School Director of Student Learning

Courtney Ellender

Lower School Math Specialist

Joan Gangi

Upper School Learning Specialist

Patti Griffin

Upper School Nurse

Angela R. Hampton, BSN, RN

Lower School Nurse

Brandi Hobbs

Lower School Nurse

Lindsay Kosarek

Lower School Reading Specialist

Penny Parent

Upper School Director of Student Learning

Katie Segerdahl

Upper School Learning Specialist