The RAD Program (Reinventing Achievement & Development)

Assumption-St. Bridget School has developed a model that includes strategic, systematic, tiered levels of support programming for students spanning their educational experience from prekindergarten through 8th grade. The Reinventing Achievement and Development Program – also known as RAD – serves as our primary Tier 2 intervention for middle school students who require an additional level of support. In this support program, students are enrolled in RAD as a means to provide systematic academic, executive functioning, and social/emotional support in a small group setting. Through RAD, students learn to successfully navigate the increasing demands of middle school education, and prepare for their upcoming transition to high school.

As is true in our general education courses, the RAD Program is progressive in nature, intentionally building foundational skills in 6th grade, spending more time on the application of skills to general education studies in 7th grade, and finally, understanding the purpose and making use of more advanced skill sets in 8th grades. Over the course of the multi-year RAD program, students who participate in RAD will be coached to:

  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses as learners, including any documented disabilities;
  • Work to improve upon all areas of executive functioning;
  • Develop “toolbox” of best practice strategies that can be used in any academic setting;
  • Communicate, in both speaking and writing, in a more effective way;
  • Cope with stress and challenge in productive ways;
  • Navigate partner and group work successfully;
  • Identify and access resource and support when necessary;
  • Self-advocate with teachers, peers, and parents;
  • Become confident learners who demonstrate leadership in the classroom and school community; and
  • Believe in themselves as capable individuals who have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to have successful high school experiences.

Students enrolled in RAD commit to participation in RAD class, which meets three times per week, in addition to twice-daily participation in our Check-In/Check Out Program. This level of support allows students to receive the consistent support needed to facilitate new skill development and habit formation, ultimately leading to student independence and confidence in themselves as learners and community members.

The activities that students do with their time in RAD class are tailored to the strengths and needs of each particular group of students and their corresponding academic demands, but may include the following:

Examples of Explicit Lesson Topics: Examples of Learning Activities:

Executive functioning skills

Study strategies

Long-term planning

Communicating with teachers

Learning styles

Organizational strategies

Social skills for working in groups

Presentation skills

Test-taking strategies

Face-to-face self-advocacy

Grade checks

Test review sessions

Monthly responsibility/event calendars

Mock presentations with peer feedback

Collaborative problem-solving tasks

Reteaching of academic concept

Additional practice problem sets

Creativity challenges

Binder/locker/planner checks

Mindfulness and stress-reduction

How many students participate in the RAD Program?

The RAD Program was developed in 2016 by Kathleen Conklin, who then served as Assumption-St. Bridget School Director of Student Success. The program was created in response to an increasing number of students demonstrating that they would benefit from additional support in academics, executive functioning, and social/emotional skills during the difficult transition to middle school. At this time, approximately16 students have graduated from the program, while there are 25 students who currently participate in grades 6-8. The program is designed to deliver services in small-group format, with a maximum of 6 students being served in each section of RAD class.

How are students selected to be in the RAD Program?

During a grade-level cohort’s 5th grade year, teachers work together with members of the Student Success Team to determine the group’s strengths and needs as a whole, and the levels of tiered support that each individual in the grade will need upon making the transition to middle school. The team uses student assessment data, report cards, work samples, classroom observations, and Student Support Plans to determine which students would benefit from inclusion in the RAD program. Based on each particular group, there is an option to create one or two sections of RAD class, serving a maximum of 12 new students per year into the program.

Although students typically are selected to be in the RAD program in 5th grade, this is not always the case. Students may enter the program anytime during their 6-8th grade years as long as they demonstrate a need for additional support and the team determines that the student would be best served by inclusion in this comprehensive support program.

Can I request for my child to be in the RAD Program?

At Assumption-St. Bridget School, we pride ourselves on offering an array of support opportunities that can meet the needs of a broad range of student abilities and disabilities. Although our tiered levels of support provide us with ample opportunities to work to support students, the ultimate goal of our programming is to facilitate student independence and success in a general education setting. Our staff collaboratively and continuously assess and monitor skill and knowledge development in our students to inform a data-driven gradual release of supports over time. By providing “just right” supports, we hope to build the skills, knowledge, character traits, and strategies needed to show our students that they are capable individuals who can achieve success through the independent use of their strengths and skills. 

Students who are recommended for RAD actively demonstrate a need within the school environment for support across a range of academic, executive functioning, and social/emotional areas. If a student does not demonstrate this need in the school environment, they will not be asked to join the RAD program. For this reason, students with documented disabilities may not be automatically recommended to participate in this program. Although this program is teacher-recommended, it is ultimately family-selected, which means that the student and his or her family has the ultimate say on their participation in the program. 

If you are interested in your child being included in the program, start by contacting your child’s homeroom teacher. This person will be very capable of informing you as to your child’s demonstration of knowledge, skills, and strategies within the school environment, and their fit in the RAD program. If it seems like RAD may be a good fit for your child, the homeroom teacher will support you in connecting with Elee McCarthy, Director of Student Success, regarding your child’s placement in RAD.

Will my child feel different because he/she is in the RAD Program?

At Assumption-St. Bridget School, we feel strongly about facilitating the development of students who understand themselves as learners, see value in tackling challenges with a growth mindset and hard work, are excited by accomplishing new things, and are confident in their abilities to contribute positively to their local and global communities. These characteristics are something we strive to facilitate in all of our students, who come to us with a range of abilities and learning needs. At Assumption-St. Bridget School, we believe strongly that it is an open, honest, and collaborative partnership with students that allows us to transmit these attributes to them over the course of their education. Students who are recommended to participate in the RAD program strongly benefit from this type of communication with our staff prior to entry into the RAD program. Staff will share with your child why they are being recommended to participate in RAD, how their current strengths will support their RAD experience, and how RAD is a tool to help them reach their individual goals. When students recognize that RAD can support them in earning better grades, participating confidently in class discussions, turning in model work, and being accepted into their high schools of choice, they quickly see the program not as a punishment, but as an incredibly valuable resource to be used on their path to success.

If you have concerns about how to explain and discuss RAD with your child, please contact Elee McCarthy, Director of Student Success, at, or Jennifer Riggle, School Counselor and Psychologist, at We would be happy to help you!

When do students have RAD class in their schedule?

The RAD program occurs as an elective that is opposite of Spanish Class, which means that all students either take RAD or Spanish for their entire middle school experience. Spanish/RAD occurs three times per week for students in grades 6-8, with class periods set at 45 minutes per class. The particular days that your child has RAD will be different each school year depending on that grade level’s master schedule. RAD class is meant as a small-group support, with each section of RAD class having a maximum of 6 students.

What about Spanish; I thought my child needed a foreign language?

At Assumption-St. Bridget School, we are excited to offer such an extensive and high-quality Spanish program for our students. Our commitment to foreign language during 5th-8th grades supports our students in transitioning to foreign language requirements in the high school of their choosing. However, foreign language in middle school is an elective program selected by the administration of Assumption-St. Bridget School. There is no requirement for students to take a foreign language in middle school, and the vast majority of our students still test into Spanish I in high school. Although our students who take Spanish will be well prepared for high school Spanish, your child who enrolls in RAD may take Spanish I in high school right alongside their peers. In addition, many of our students elect to take a different foreign language in high school, including French, German, Russian, Chinese, or Sign Language, and in this case, their enrollment in RAD over a foreign language is inconsequential.

Why does my child in RAD also have to participate in the Check-In/Check-Out Program?

Check-In/Check-Out (CICO) is another Assumption-St. Bridget School support program that is highly popular among students, families, and staff. This program is aimed to improve executive functioning skill development, but also supports academics and social/emotional functioning. We have found CICO to be a vital support for many of our students, including those who participate in the RAD program. The one-on-one, twice-daily connection with a supportive adult provided by CICO provides students with highly individualized coaching on their strengths and needs, and is a perfect compliment to the instruction and learning activities that occur in RAD. For more information on our Check-In/Check-Out (CICO) Program, please click here.


For more information on the RAD Program, click here or contact the Director of Student Success and RAD Teacher, Elee McCarthy, at

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