Notre Dame High School Empowering Young Women since 1851

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Admissions to EFS

Knowing that students applying to the Empowered for Success (EFS) program are more than just their transcripts, the Admissions Committee looks at a much broader range of data to determine whether or not a student will be accepted into the EFS program. A careful examination of the student's documentation of disability, record of past academic performance, HSPT scores, extracurricular activities, prior teachers' recommendations, and the family interview, are all taken into consideration when making an EFS admissions decision. After a comprehensive application review, the Admissions Committee then selects the top ranked students for acceptance into the NDB Freshman Class. Please note that, regardless of having a disability, students must meet Notre Dame's baseline academic criteria as published in our admissions brochure to be considered for acceptance. Students applying to the EFS program must provide documentation of her condition performed by a qualified professional (CA licensed and/or credentialed) within the past 3 years. This documentation must contain all of the following items:

  • The diagnosis of a disability that necessitates accommodations 
  • The provision of relevant educational, developmental and medical history 
  • Description of the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis (including evaluation date(s) and test results with subtest scores from measures of cognitive ability, current academic achievement, and information processing. 
  • Description of the student’s functional limitations, supported by the test results. 
  • Description of accommodations necessitated by the disability 
  • Establishment of professional credentials of the evaluator(s), including information about license, credential, and area(s) of specialization.

Our documentation requirements are established foremost to ensure that we have sufficient information about how a student’s disabilities impact her academic performance to enable us to prescribe appropriate academic accommodations. Our intention is to provide for students the opportunity to perform at their full potential by reducing the negative impact of their disabilities. Specific Learning Disorders (reading, writing, math): Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to administer only one test in making a diagnosis. Minimally, the domains to be addressed must include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Aptitude: The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—(WISC-V) subtest scores and/or the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Test Battery— (WJ-III) Test of Cognitive Ability are the preferred instruments.

  • Achievement: The student’s current levels in reading, mathematics and written language must be assessed. Acceptable instruments include 1) the WIAT-Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests or 2) specific achievement tests like the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests- and the Nelson-Denny Reading test. (The Wide-Range Achievement Test—(WRAT) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable by itself). Additional formal and informal tests, such as timed and un-timed administrations and a writing sample are recommended to corroborate underachievement in specific areas.

  • Information Processing: Specific areas (for instance short and long-term memory, reasoning, listening, sequential memory, auditory and visual processing, processing speed) must be assessed. Use of subtests from the WISC-V and/or the cognitive portion of the WJ-III is acceptable. Additional testing designed to corroborate the existence of processing disorders identified by the WISC and the WJ are recommended. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (with or without hyperactivity): The diagnosis must be provided by a qualified professional—a clinical psychologist or physician with appropriate education, training, and experience with ADHD. Documentation must include a psycho-educational evaluation which outlines the ways in which the student’s condition impacts her ability to perform academically, and must describe the hallmarks of her condition per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Other Disabilities (visual, auditory, or physical impairments, psychological /emotional disabilities): Diagnosis from a qualified professional (ophthalmologist, audiologist, psychologist, etc.) must be provided which indicates any restrictions placed on the student’s participation in school-related activities. The documentation should specify the type of disability (in other words, the “diagnosis”), date of onset, and prognosis.