LEARNING ENRICHMENT CENTER
The Learning Enrichment Center is a bright and open space providing students a place for individual study, collaborative work, tutoring, and research that fosters inquiry, critical thinking, and analysis.
The St. Thomas High School Library supports and participates in the educational mission of St. Thomas by providing access to information resources, teaching students to be independent users of information, and encouraging familiarity with academic library settings. The librarian provides information literacy instruction and database research assistance to individuals and classes. The library’s holdings of print books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as almost fifty online subscription databases, provide the St. Thomas community access to thousands of books, primary sources and newspaper articles on a wide range of subjects that support curricular needs and encourage leisure reading.
The St. Thomas High School Archives collect and preserve the rich history of St. Thomas to ensure its accessibility to future generations. Material in the Archives includes school publications, photographs, scrapbooks, annual records, memorabilia, architectural blueprints, audio-visual items, and collections donated by alumni. The archivist curates rotating exhibits of materials throughout the campus and provides reference services to members of the St. Thomas community.
For more information on the Archives please contact the LEC.
Caroline Becker McRoberts (B.A. English, Trinity University, M.A.T. Secondary Education, Trinity University) is the Director of the Learning Enrichment Center. She began her career in education in 2007, and has worked as an English teacher, English department chair, district curriculum specialist, and district instructional specialist. Caroline is passionate about collaborating with other educators to determine the most effective methods for supporting students.
Laura Speck (B.A. English with Special Honors, University of Texas-Austin; M.A.T. in Education, Rice University) began teaching at St. Thomas in 2012. In order to support STH students as they develop as writers, she draws on her experience as a writing consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center while attending the University of Texas at Austin. Her graduate education at Rice University focused on Reading and Writing methodology in the High School classroom.
Clint Matthews (B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University) has taught in public and private schools in the U.S. and for brief stints internationally. He lived 7 years at Still Creek Ranch, a ministry for youth from broken homes, and was involved with the start of its school. He taught at Houston ISD for several years, gaining certification in all levels of math, grades 6-12, then also acquiring certification to teach all high school science classes. He has travelled to at least 16 countries, teaching or speaking publically in many of them, and has enjoyed starting three successful businesses.
Beth Breuer (B.S., University of Texas at Austin) the math specialist in the Learning Enrichment Center, and she joined the faculty in 1997. She has also been a classroom teacher and the dean of the math department. Mrs. Breuer has done graduate hours at Rice through RUSMP, is a certified calculus teacher and has attended the NMSI and AP Calculus workshops.
Katherine Vasquez (BFA in Painting, Baylor University; MFA in Painting, Houston Baptist University) is the Testing Center Assistant. She began her career as a High School Art Teacher in HISD and took a few years away from education before working at St. Thomas. In her spare time, she enjoys making art, reading, gardening, and spending time with her adorable dog Hero.
Haley Chance (B.A. English, Lamar University, M.L.I.S., Louisiana State University) is the Librarian and LEC Administrator. She began her career in education in 2011, and has worked in both public and private schools as an English teacher, writing teacher, reading interventionist, literacy specialist, librarian, and dean of academics. With regards to literacy, Haley is particularly passionate about helping students uncover their individual reading identities and writing voices. Haley also enjoys developing students into stronger researchers and more responsible digital citizens. With a special love for serving others, Haley is willing to help you find whatever you need in the LEC or connect you with someone who can.
Staffany Rawls Bowman (B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Houston; M.S. in Professional Counseling, Grand Canyon University) is the Academic Coordinator. She began her career in education in 2005, and worked as an History Teacher, Varsity Assistant Basketball Coach, and College and Career Coordinator. She exhibits well-informed knowledge of current topics and trends regarding college admission, higher education, testing, and career opportunities to educate, counsel, and motivate students from diverse and underrepresented populations.
In keeping with the Basilian tradition, the highly trained specialists in the Learning Enrichment Center, or LEC, extend the work the teachers do in the classrooms so St. Thomas students become more proficient, versatile, and confident in their studies. Through collaboration with teachers and counselors, the LEC staff ensures academic support for students is aligned and applicable to their coursework. Students may meet with specialists before or after school, during their study halls, and during lunch. Through one-on-one consultations with students, the specialists provide support in the following areas:
- Academic support in all core content areas
- Time management
- Study skills
- Test-taking strategies
- Executive Functioning
The LEC staff also coordinates the Academic Intervention Mentors (AIM) program, which allows students to receive support from St. Thomas National Honor Society members once a week during study hall in all core content areas.
Additionally, the staff of the LEC facilitates the implementation of classroom accommodations and interventions outside of the classroom. The Director and Accommodations Coordinator work with school leaders and teachers to share instructional best practices to support students with learning differences.
Ms. Speck (Writing Specialist), and Ms. Becker (LEC Director) are available all day every day to assist students. Students may make an appointment or they may walk in for assistance.
St. Thomas High School provides students with documented learning differences five accommodations:
- Assisted note-taking
- Extended time
- Preferential seating
- Computer use for essay portions of tests
- Learning Ally use for audio books
For more information about accommodations, please contact Caroline Becker, Director of the LEC or Laura Speck, Writing Specialist.
The Math Lab provides one-on-one assistance for all levels of math, from Algebra to Calculus. By focusing on understanding rather than rote routines, students not only learn the material but also how to learn and that they can learn. Students help each other, and some come to do more math, since – who wouldn’t?
The Writing Lab provides support for student writers of all skill levels with one-on-one and small group conferences. No matter what the assignment or subject, the writing specialist neither writes nor merely edits the student’s work, but instead, through the Socratic Method, helps him internalize the writing process and strengthen his skills.
As the writing specialist at STH, Laura Speck (B.A. English with Special Honors, University of Texas-Austin; M.A. Rice University) assists students of all levels with writing assignments in any subject and at any stage of the writing process. In order to support STH students as they develop as writers, she draws on her experience as a writing consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center while attending the University of Texas at Austin. Her graduate education at Rice University focused on Reading and Writing methodology in the High School classroom. She began working at St. Thomas as a Freshman English teacher in 2012.
The Language Lab offers individualized tutoring in Spanish, focusing on the first- and second-year courses, which are especially challenging for many students. As he currently teaches two sections of Spanish I, the Spanish-language specialist is especially well placed to tailor his help to each student’s needs.