The Academy at SOAR: Considering an ADHD School for your Child
This time of year rolls around, and it’s crunch time. Project due dates are coming up, final exams are approaching, and teachers are reaching out to parents to let them know exactly where their child stands before the semester ends. If you weren’t happy with the update you received, the Academy at SOAR could be the solution you have been looking for. Many of our students have experienced difficulty in a traditional academic setting, stemming from a variety of factors including, but not limited to, LD/ADHD, negative feedback from peers and teachers, inability to self-advocate, peer influences, and poor academic performance. At SOAR, we are able to see the same possibilities in your child that you do. We know that a unique learning environment that focuses on your child’s strengths and individual learning style can make all the difference. The Academy at SOAR is an ADHD school designed for students whose primary learning style is outside the traditional classroom teaching methods. That is why we offer a unique combination of academic instruction and experiential adventures that build self-esteem and self-confidence that translate into all walks of life.
Differentiated Instruction It is extremely common for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities to fall behind in a classroom setting where all students are expected to learn in the same way. Utilizing differentiated instruction allows the Academy at SOAR to address the variety of learning styles, interests, and abilities of each student in the classroom. Rather than teaching in one way, differentiated instruction requires that teachers match tasks, activities, and assessments with their students’ interests, abilities, and learning preferences. This does not necessarily mean that there is a different lesson plan for each student in the classroom, but it does mean that there are several learning options that help students take in information in a way that makes sense to them. So students who are auditory learners are presented with information verbally, and students who are visual learners are provided with more written components.
The Wheel of Success With the goal of success in mind, the Academy at SOAR promotes the gifts and strengths of every student and provides challenges that build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-reliance. One success, however small it may seem, build upon another as students begin to realize their own worth. The Wheel of Success features 8 ways in which students are challenged—many of which are not available in a traditional school setting.
Academics Academics is of course one of the main components of any educational setting. We strive to provide an alternative, experiential environment that nurtures self-discover and independent acquisition. We are a SACS accredited boarding school. The academic credit that students receive at SOAR can be applied to graduation just like any other school. While the curriculum is standardized for each course, we differentiate instruction based on the individual needs of each student. Emphasis is placed on providing multi-sensory and experiential methods whenever possible and accommodations when needed. The Academy at SOAR operates on a two-week cycle; two weeks on campus and two weeks on expeditions. While on campus, students receive classroom instruction in our school building. Expedition curriculum is adapted from the Common Core Standards and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, as well as drawn from outside sources to ensure relevance to each expedition locale.
Adventures Students are challenged in a variety of academic and adventure activities. During these activities, students are pushed beyond their perceived limits with the necessary support and encouragement to make such a move. The expeditions that students complete during their time at the Academy at SOAR, allow them to strengthen their inner selves and discover their innate creativity and resourcefulness in the absence of everyday luxuries like cell phones, computers, video games, and television.
Community The Academy at SOAR community is comprised of committed instructors and experienced staff. Our staff is trained to work with students diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. Campus and field instructors work with students on a day to day basis, helping to implement student achievement plans, and facilitating the expedition planning, independent living skills instruction, and daily hygiene and community living. The community of students also provides motivation, accountability, and encouragement for one another. The community at SOAR creates a culture of accountability, where students’ actions and unfulfilled responsibilities have logical and natural consequences.
Project-based Learning Project-based learning allows students to be hands on in their education. Project-based learning can be a major improvement factor for students who typically struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Students are also given the opportunity to become involved in the local community through project-based service learning. This allows them to practice some of the life skills they are developing and give back to others.
Field Studies The academy and adventure components are closely linked at the Academy at SOAR. Field studies allow us to take learning beyond the classroom and incorporate academics into adventures. For example, while students are backpacking the Appalachian Trail, they will also read Cherokee folklores about the region, learn about Civil War battle sites nearby, calculate average daily miles hiked per hour, plot their course on a grid, study deciduous trees commonly encountered in the area, and document their experiences through journal writing and letters to friends and family. By relating adventures to academics, students are not only more likely to enjoy the learning process, but they are also more likely to remember what they have learned!
Life Skills One of the major differences between the Academy at SOAR and a traditional education environment is the opportunity to develop real life skills. Students are challenged and encouraged to take responsibility for all aspects of their life and develop life skills through involvement in food planning and preparation, hygiene, budgeting and financial accountability, and daily exercise.
Self-Advocacy At the Academy at SOAR, we also encourage students to take responsibility for all aspects of their lives through self-advocacy. Each student learns to advocate for themselves by utilizing the proposal system. Courses begin with all distractions removed including iPods, video games, internet access, cell phones, etc. Once students and their house are moving forward on goals and responsibilities, they can advocate for these additional needs by developing proposals. Students with thoughtful, reasonable proposals are often granted their requests.
Empowerment We encourage all Academy at SOAR students to complete at least one full school year at SOAR (Fall and Spring Terms) with the hope that each student will stay to complete graduation. When it is time to move on to their next stage in life, we are confident that students will feel empowered by the person they have become and the skills they have obtained at SOAR. We believe that this empowerment truly makes a difference in the success of our students’ futures.
Now, We Challenge YOU! Just like we challenge and encourage our students, we challenge and encourage you to take the next step and explore enrolling your child in an ADHD school! Don’t let another school year go by without seeing your child’s full potential. We are now enrolling for the Spring and Fall 2015 terms and would be honored to have the opportunity to change your child’s life. Please contact our Admissions Director, Lynne Neaves at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-456-3435. Not quite ready to make the switch? Read a little more about the Academy at SOAR and our staff!