Learning Support

At Archbishop Riordan High School, we appreciate and celebrate the diversity of learning styles.

Since 1994, the Resource Specialist Program (RSP) has served students with diagnosed mild to moderate learning disabilities, helping them succeed in Riordan's rigorous college-prep curriculum and prepare for academic careers beyond high school. For close to three decades, the program has been a national model for teenage boys with learning differences.

The core philosophy of RSP is that students can receive accommodations to support the way they learn without modifying the curriculum in any way.

In addition to developing individual strategies for academic success, the program uniquely teaches students to become advocates for themselves in the classroom, among their peers, and in the community. Receiving support from the RSP is just one aspect of a student's Riordan experience, which is also filled with athletics, activities, community service opportunities, and friendships.

More Information

For additional questions about the program, including possible educational tax benefits and financial aid specific to the RSP, please contact:

Mr. Nate Simon

Director of RSP
nsimon@riordanhs.org
415-586-8200 ext. 222

Program Overview

Riordan offers students in the RSP a tiered structure of support to meet their individual needs, with flexibility as the student moves through the college preparatory curriculum. A designated faculty coordinator for each Tier facilitates communication between students, faculty, and parents about accommodations, grades, and other aspects of academic life. 

Tier 1:

For students who primarily need testing support and homework help.

This college-style "drop in" support program is designed for students with strong advocacy skills. The goal is for all students, regardless of what tier they start in, to move to Tier 1 before graduation. 

Tier 2:

For students who need both academic and testing support.

This moderately structured program emphasizes executive function, reading, writing and testing support for students with language-based learning differences and/or attention issues. 

Tier 3:

For students who need intensive, individualized academic and testing support. 

This heavily structured support program has the same emphasis as Tier 2 but takes place in a smaller group format and with more oversight from an instructor. This includes 1:1 tutoring during the school day by certified staff and social skills support as needed. 

RSP Courses

In their first and second years, Tier 2 and 3 students take courses designed specifically for individuals in the RSP: two UC-accredited English courses with a 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio taught by instructors with extensive experience in special education. For students in need of math support, there is also an Algebra Booster course. Beyond these courses, students follow the regular academic curriculum. 

POD Classes

RSP also includes a structured study group called a POD that uses specific interventions to help students in their area of need (POD stands for Persistently Organized Dudes). The overall goal of the POD class is to not only provide students the time, space, and support to do the things that have always been difficult for them, but also give them the tools to effectively use the things that come easily to them in an academic setting. POD instructors help students get organized, create an academic plan, and follow through on that plan. This may be include homework help and test prep, developing study skills, or specific divisional needs such as SAT/ACT practice. Students in Tier 2 have a POD class every other day, while students in Tier 3 have a POD class every day. Tier 1 students have no RSP classes.

POD classes are flexible to allow students to get support as needs arise, and most importantly, are structured for students to cultivate relationships with other learners and derive strength and inspiration from their fellow classmates. 

Goals of PODs Include:

  • Students will be able to articulate their own academic strengths.
  • Students will be able to articulate their in-class and testing accommodations and explain how and why those accommodations support their specific learning difference.
  • Students will be able to identify and use specific planning and execution strategies to make a plan for completion that reflects their learning style.
  • Students will be able to articulate what it means to have a growth mindset and resources that work for them.

Meet The RSP Staff

The highly-trained educators who work in Riordan’s resource program are committed to the success, growth, and progress of all students throughout their high school careers. An RSP student has access to multiple qualified support staff members from the moment he walks in the doors until 4:00 pm every day. Also, the staff meets with all RSP families at least three times a year and are always available for email or phone questions.

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200
Bobbie Havens

Bobbie Havens

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 524
Richard Kim

Richard Kim

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200
Kim Loder

Kim Loder

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 315
Stephanie Lundin

Stephanie Lundin

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 373
David Major

David Major

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 530
Chanel Nijmeh

Chanel Nijmeh

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 378
Nate Simon

Nate Simon

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 222
Benny Willers

Benny Willers

Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 415-586-8200 ext. 360

Riordan's RSP is a lifeline to students with learning differences who want to succeed.

RSP Parent


Recent College Acceptances for Students in RSP

Catholic University
CSU Monterey Bay
Lewis & Clark
Morehouse College
San Diego Christian College
San Francisco State
San Jose State
Santa Clara University
St. Mary's College
UC Berkeley
University of Arizona
University of San Francisco
Washington State


How to Apply

In addition to Archbishop Riordan's regular online application, students interested in applying to the RSP must submit a recent (within three years) psycho-educational evaluation that shows a diagnosis of a mild to moderate learning disability, spectrum disorder, NVLD, ADD/ADHD, or any OHI. This overview provides general guidelines for finding an evaluator.

An interview is also required with RSP staff.

RSP Fees
Please see this document for fees for the 2020-21 school year

Self confidence. The importance of that is immeasurable and that is what the RSP program at Riordan has given my son.

RSP Parent

RSP Classroom

The Space

Students have access to the RSP Lab on campus where they can meet with staff, take tests, and receive help with research projects, term papers, and other coursework. These classrooms are designed with the needs of a student with learning differences in mind, and they are equipped with the latest technology to aid learning.


Partners & Resources

Children’s Health Council
Riordan partners with the Children’s Health Council (formerly PEN), a coalition of parents, educators, students, and community members, to empower and bring academic success to students with learning and attention difficulties.

UCSF Dyslexia Center
The UCSF Dyslexia Center is a world-renowned research institute located in San Francisco. Leaders here use an interdisciplinary approach to understand dyslexia and develop best practices to promote the strengths and potential of each individual.