Academic Skills Program

Academic Skills

Gould’s Academic Skills Program supports students with various learning styles. Each student works with their assigned Learning Professional during a formal class period to improve upon self-identified skills. This helps to ensure that the student is effectively managing their workload while also developing the skills needed to become an independent learner.

Enrollment in the Academic Skills Program is based on, but not limited to, academic performance, advisor input, educational consultant or advisory council recommendation, and educational testing. In certain circumstances, participation in the Academic Skills Program may be a condition of acceptance or continued enrollment at Gould.

Upon enrollment into the Academic Skills Program a student learning plan is written for each student and shared with the student’s classroom teachers. This plan outlines the student’s learning style and accommodations and/or modifications that will be executed in the classroom setting.

Academic Skills Program Highlights

  • 2:1 student/teacher ratio
  • Integrated into the academic day and meeting times during a regularly scheduled class
  • Individualized assistance related to executive functioning and the completion of academic work.
  • Assigned Learning Professionals incorporate a wide variety of interventions, including study skills, ADHD coaching, reading comprehension, written expression instruction, and math remediation.
  • If approved for testing accommodations, students can use ASP classrooms for nonstandard assessments.
  • A Skill Development plan is created, and progress is reported to the parent, student, and advisor at the midterm and completion of each trimester. 
  • Academic Skills Center is open four nights a week for additional support in homework completion. This is a 2-hour session during study hall hours, staffed by our ASP professionals.

Skill Development Emphasis

  • Organizing for the day
  • Developing homework plans
  • Writing a paper
  • Planning for long-term projects
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Organizing notebooks/homework
  • Taking notes
  • Developing active reading strategies
  • Sustaining attention
  • Managing anxiety
  • Advocating appropriately

Standardized Assessments

The Academic Skills Program will facilitate the completion of registration and application materials needed by students who are eligible to receive accommodations on standardized testing.

In order to receive accommodations for standardized testing, students must register with the appropriate organization (College Board for the PSAT and SAT, or ACT for the ACT). The Academic Support Program will assist students and their families in this process. Note that all decisions regarding accommodations for standardized testing are made by the testing agency and require documentation.

For questions regarding this process please contact Mr. Laurin Parker.

Program Teachers

Laurin Parker ’94

Academic Skills Teacher
River Ecology Program Director
B.A. Elmira College


Laurin Parker teaches in the Academic Skills Program. He spent five years in public education in Northern and Western Maine as a high school English teacher and in work within alternative education. Currently, in addition to his role in Academic Skills, Laurin also runs the spring co-curricular River Ecology, that teaches students about environmental science through the lens of flyfishing. In the past, he has worked with the Farm & Forest Program, in the Marlon Family IDEAS Center, and coached boys’ lacrosse. Laurin grew up in Patten, ME. He plays saxophone, hikes, and is a passionate advocate of the outdoors. He rows a drift boat, guiding fly fishing clients on the Androscoggin River each summer. Laurin and his wife Erin, live on campus in Vogt House with their two daughters Elsa and Emily.

Betsy Riley

Academic Skills Teacher
B.A. University of Colorado
C.C. Connecticut Culinary School
Tennis JV Boys’ Coach


Mrs. Riley comes to Gould describing herself as an everyday adventurer and life-long learner. A graduate of the Ethel Walker School, the University of Colorado, Connecticut Culinary School and school of personal interest and pursuit, she enjoys finding herself in new places, exchanging information with others, supporting the greater good, and watching people learn about themselves as learners. Mrs. Riley entered her first teaching classroom on the ski slope at the age of 14 and continues to coach the Learn to Ski program at Gould. Stepping into her second classroom, she mixed concept, procedure, and good taste with eager culinary students over a hot griddle. Finding a true classroom with walls and spirit lured Mrs. Riley and for the last many, many years, that’s where she’s been. She currently works in the Academic Skills Department, supporting learning strategies and self-guiding concepts with young adults.  Additionally, she coaches JV Boys’ Tennis. Mrs. Riley avidly rides her bike, skis uphill and down, cooks with passion, and enjoys traveling with Mr. Riley, who also works at Gould. She is mom to Carly ‘13 and Tate ‘15.