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Hale Learning Center

"Established in support of the Academy's belief that students learn in different ways" – Robert T. & Judith Bryant Hale '56 

Hale Learning Center Hours • Monday - Friday • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

THE HALE LEARNING CENTER (HLC) provides additional support to students who face academic challenges, often rooted to language skill deficits. To that end, Thayer Academy designs, implements, and coordinates approaches to learning and teaching that offer students the best chance of success in meeting the demands of a rigorous academic program. The Hale Center’s trained professional staff analyzes student learning profiles, works directly with students and their parents, recommends practical teaching approaches to faculty, assists in teacher training to meet student needs, supports the admission selection process, and – as appropriate – consults with the Academy’s educational psychologist to identify students requiring support.

Each Division, Middle and Upper School, has its own age-appropriate Hale Learning Center space and program under the direct supervision of an Academic Support Coordinator. The Hale Learning Center Director ensures the effectiveness of the program over the entire span of grades 6 to 12.

The specific responsibilities of the Hale Learning Center fall into three inter-related categories:

1. Direct Student Support

1. Direct Student Support

One-Week Summer Course in Study Skills

  • Day 1 – Time Management
  • Day 2 – Note Taking
  • Day 3 – Active Reading
  • Day 3, Evening – Workshop for Parents – How to Help at Home
  • Day 4 – Mock School Day  – How to navigate and benefit from resources at Thayer Academy

Hale Learning Center staff members...

  • Communicate with the school psychologist, parents, and faculty
  • Review neuro-psychological evaluations, if applicable
  • Create faculty-accessible summaries of evaluations
  • Develop an Individual Education Plan when warranted

Teachers in the Hale Learning Center...

  • Ensure a smooth transition from Middle to Upper School
  • Provide an alternative testing environment, and space for students to finish extended- time tests, to print papers, to access the Internet, and assist students in completing work in many ways.


The Hale Learning Center offera weekly after-school study skills instruction. Topics include:

  • Meta-cognition
  • Learning styles and preferences
  • Active reading of textbooks
  • Memory skills
  • Time management
  • Combining class notes with reading notes

The Hale Learning Center Staff also...

  • Provides 1:1 and small group instruction in these areas:
    • Reading Comprehension Strategies
    • Study Skills
    • Planning
    • Organization
    • Moral Support
  • Offers frequent check-ins
  • Applies assistive technologies (i.e., Kurzweil software, books on CD, digital voice recorders, speech-to-text technology)

The Hale Learning Staff can...

  • Utilize and coordinate, as appropriate, peer tutoring program, Thayer’s Special Education Intern, and off-campus tutors.
  • Support students with disabilities (SSD) or who are applying for extended time on SAT tests.

2. Partnership with Parents

The staff in the HLC coordinates and maintains dialogue with parents about psycho-educational evaluations and recommendations, existing IEPs, and the academic status of students. They also offer a parent education program and information sessions related to learning styles, attention difficulties, dyslexia, and other language-based challenges.

Members of the HLC staff can create a Student/Parent Tool-kit, an online resource of supports for students and their parents.

3. Faculty Support & Professional Development

HLC staff members keep in touch with the most up-to-date methodologies and research through course work and attendance at workshops and seminars. The also dentify opportunities for other faculty members to enrich their understanding of various learning differences and enhance their teaching approaches.

Additional Resources for Hale Learning Center

Thayer Academy Special Education Intern 
This internship is designed to provide a beginning educator who is pursu­ing a master’s degree in special education the opportunity to gain additional experience from classroom and specialist teachers. The intern works with experienced teachers, observes classes, assists with individual and group projects. She also provides direct student support on a 1:1 basis and in small groups. 

Additional Support Staff & Structures 
Both the Middle and Upper Schools retain staff to specifically support students as they develop strong study skills. In both divisions, the Deans ar responsible for identifying and tracking students who require academic support. In addition, the Hale Center staff members consult with outside tutors, and, when needed, work with parents to find tutors. The Upper School also has a specially designed English program for students requiring extra support as a result of language deficits.

Hale Learning Center Hours
Monday to Friday 
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Kindly direct your questions to:
Hale Learning Center Director
Erica Archabal (earchabal@thayer.org)

Erica Archabal – Director of the Hale Learning Center
Erica Archabal received her master's degree in Educational Policy and Management from Harvard University. She also has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas. She completed the rigorous requirements for Special Education certification in California and has accumulated additional credits at the graduate level in Special Education from Simmons College. Ms. Archabal has taught in a variety of educational settings: an inclusion classroom in the Wellesley public schools; The New England Center for Children; Rancho Encinitas Academy in California; and Thayer Academy.

Molly Wheeler
 Assistant Director of the Hale Learning Center
Molly has been a Learning Specialist at Thayer since 2013.  She now serves as the Assistant Director of the Hale Learning Center at the Upper School and co-teaches the freshman English Workshop class. Prior to arriving at Thayer, Molly taught at the Carroll School in Lincoln, MA, the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA, and she served as Assistant Director of Admissions at Ursuline Academy in Dedham, MA. Molly earned her M.Ed. at Lesley University and her B.S. at the University of Vermont.

Elizabeth Keenan Director of the Middle School Hale Learning Center
Elizabeth Keenan received her master's degree in Special Education from Boston University, and holds a certification in Special Education for students in grades 5-12 with mild to moderate disabilities. She also received a B.A. in psychology from Fairfield University. Prior to her arrival at Thayer, Ms. Keenan was a lead teacher at Germaine Lawrence School in Arlington, Massachusetts, where she also served as administrator of educational services for the Jane Addams Program. Before that, she was a classroom teacher at Reginald S. Lourie Center School in Rockville, Maryland.

Richard Dana, Ed.D – Educational Psychologist Dr. Richard Dana received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. A specialist in the behavioral sciences, Dr. Dana’s work has focused on individuals, groups, learning styles, and communication. Drawing on his clinical experience and his consulting work with several schools, Dr. Dana brings a deep understanding of how cognitive and personality styles affect learning, and how they provide a solid conceptual foundation for successful interventions. Dr. Dana is founder and president of Richard Dana Associates (RDA).

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