Mrs. Jillian Tovarek-Welker

Resource Teacher/Curriculum Coordinator
Welcome to the Student Center! The Student Center exists primarily to enact NDV's mission to, "support a diverse group of learners". Here, students are given a variety of supports to help them be successful. These supports include explicit instruction in organizational, study, and test-taking skills, strategies for dealing with challenges, and extra help with classes and core subjects.

What's Happening in The Student Center

Great Resource for Any Student

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Dear NDV families,


I highly recommend the book Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley, Phd. and Terrence Sejnowski, Phd.  Barbara Oakley’s book A Mind For Numbers was a NYT best seller.  In Learning How to Learn, Barbara teams up with computational neuroscientist, Terrence Sejnowski to create a practical, neuroscience-based approach to learning.  A Coursera course based on this book has also become very popular.  The book and course are both excellent ways for middle or high school students to build their learning strategies toolbox in order help them succeed in their academic endeavors.  Here is a link to Learning How to Learn:

Have a nice weekend!

Mrs. Tovarek-Welker

Upcoming Chats With Experts on Learning Differences

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Dear NDV families, is an excellent resource for parents of children who have learning differences.   The link below provides several opportunities to join live chats with experts in a variety of fields.

A few upcoming chats are:

March 4th ADHD and Emotions

March 14th Dyscalculia vs. Math Anxiety: Comparing the Signs

March 21st Executive Functioning Issues and Learning: Ways to Help Your Child

March 25th Test-taking Strategies for Struggling Students

Thank you for all you do!  As always, please feel comfortable contacting me with any questions you may have.

~Mrs. Tovarek-Welker

Building Working Memory

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Hi NDV families,

A well functioning working memory is an essential tool in the learning process, especially in reading and math, and yet it is a common area of weakness for students.  Amanda Morin, teacher, author, and intervention specialist, has written two excellent articles on which help us better understand the role of working memory and how we can build working memory:

Please contact me if you are looking for additional strategies for helping your child build and use working memory or for specific reading or math working memory strategies.  I’m happy to help.

Thank you!

Mrs. Tovarek-Welker

Resource Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator


Higher Order Thinking Questions

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Dear NDV families,

NDV has avid and adept readers!  One way to nudge your child toward a deeper understanding of the texts they are reading at home is to ask higher order thinking questions.  Below are some great questions to ask your child after they complete their daily, at-home reading.

Reader Response Prompts for Fiction
reader response questions
1. Explain a character’s problem and then offer your character advice on how to solve his/her problem.

2. Explain how a character is acting and why you think the character is acting that way.

3. From what you’ve read so far, make predictions about what will happen next and explain what in the text makes you think it will happen.

4. Pick one character and explain why you would/would not like to have him/her as a friend.

5. Describe and explain why you would/would not like to have lived in the time or place of the story.

6. What real-life people or events are you reminded of by characters or events in the story? Explain why.

7. Write about what would happen if you brought one of your characters to school or home for a day.

8. Pick a scene in which you disagreed how a character handled a situation/person and rewrite it in the way you think it should have happened.

9. What quality of which character strikes you as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?

10. Who tells the story? Is this the best person to tell it? Why?

11. How would the story be different if told through another character’s eyes?

12. Why do you think the author wrote this story?

13. If you were the author, would you have ended the story in a different way? Why? How so?

14. How does the character’s actions affect other people in the story?

15. How does the author provide information or details to make the story seem realistic?

16. How does the author help you feel that you are really there (in both realistic stories and fantasy)?

17. Do you have any unanswered questions about the story? Explain.

18. Copy an interesting/confusing/important/enjoyable passage and explain why you chose it.

19. From what you’ve read so far, make predictions about what will happen next and explain what in the text makes you think it will happen.

Reader Response Prompts for Nonfiction
reader response questions
20. Copy a short passage that you found to be interesting. Explain what made it interesting for you.

21. Write a summary of what you read in your book today.

22. Explain some of the things that you have learned so far that you are not likely to forget in the near future.

23. Write to inform us about the author. What other articles and/or books has the author written? Is he/she one of your favorite authors, and if so, why?

24. What ideas might you have for turning this work of nonfiction into a work of fiction? Give a brief summary of what your story might be like.

25. Explain the basic information that is being presented in terms of the 5W’s: Who? What? When? Where? Why?


~Mrs. Tovarek-Welker, Resource Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator


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Dear NDV families,

I’ve loved getting to know our NDV students these past few weeks!  Thank you for the warm welcome to the NDV community!

A Little Bit About Me
My husband and I moved from Seattle to San Francisco in August, and I am thrilled to be a part of the NDV community! We have a lovely campus with a beautiful French tradition in a culturally vibrant area, but my favorite part of working at NDV is the students. I have loved getting to know them! I have been teaching since 2005, mostly in Catholic schools. My undergraduate degree is in secondary English (6th-12th), and I have a master’s degree in urban education (1st-8th) and learning disabilities. For the past 10 years, I have been a second grade classroom teacher. Prior to that, I taught high school English and worked with students who have learning differences. Teaching is one of my great passions in life, and I can’t imagine not being part of this great work. Watching students succeed, feel pride in their success, and recognize their growth, never gets old. Outside of school, I love spending time with my husband and our families and friends. I also love traveling, dance, kayaking, horseback riding, swimming, backpacking, and camping.

The Student Center
I am happy to announce that the Student Center will be open daily from 7:30-8:00 for all students from 4th to 8th grades.  Most days, I will be available to help students with challenging work.  In the event that I have a Student Support Team meeting, another NDV staff member will be present to assist in the Student Center or there will be a note on the door inviting students to use the library as the Student Center.  Although students are expected to complete their homework at home we understand that, occasionally, students need extra support or resources to be successful.  The Student Center has six Chrome books with printing capabilities;  these will be available on a first come, first serve, basis.   Students should come to the main doors, buzz, and let the office staff know that they will be using the Student Center.

In the Classrooms
One change to the resource/curriculum coordinator position this year is that I will be spending more time in classrooms offering support during classroom learning time.  I will still be working with many students in the Student Center, but will be able to work with additional students who need support under this new model.  I’ve introduced myself to all grade levels as a person who will be helping all students and hope to support in a way that makes me more accessible.

Thank you,

Mrs. Tovarek-Welker
Resource Teacher/Curriculum Coordinator


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