Academy at SOAR | Academy FAQ
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ACADEMY AT SOAR FAQ

Click on a specific category in the Academy at SOAR FAQ to review questions.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY


Why is the Academy at SOAR different?

We are an accredited LD boarding school that goes beyond the classroom. Our student centered model actively engages students in the learning process through instruction in: Academics, Adventure, Self-Advocacy, Independent Living, Project Based Learning, Field Studies, Community and Empowerment. Students rotate between Field expeditions and Residential Campus Living.

Is the Academy at SOAR a treatment program? Is this a therapeutic program?

No, we are not a therapeutic treatment program, as we do not staff clinical psychologists or therapists. We do address the specific needs of students diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and provide tools and strategies to help build self-esteem and self-confidence.

Do you accept students mid-year?

Yes! In the event we are not at full capacity, we can accommodate students joining the program at any time. Depending on the time of enrollment, we may or may not be able to grant full academic credit for the current term.

Can my child just do one semester?

The Academy at SOAR is considered a full year program. But, we have enrolled students for just one Semester in the past. Please contact our Admission office to discuss this option.

How do I apply?

Please visit our Admissions page for complete information regarding the Admissions Process. If you are ready to apply, please complete the online application here.

What are your students like?

Our students have often been unsuccessful in traditional academic settings, and as a result may have lowered self-esteem and lack motivation for learning. They may struggle with social skills, impulsivity, inattention, and as such, may have had disruptive behaviors. However, we do not tolerate severe behavioral issues, violence, or substance abuse/addiction. Click here to view a student profile.

How are parents and professionals working with the students involved in the program?

We work to include parents, educational consultants, and therapists in the progress students are making. We will provide updates throughout the program and will send students home with a Transition plan and Achievement report. Students may also communicate with Therapists and Psychologists as the program allows.

What is the Parent Weekend / End of Course Celebration?

At the end of the school year, we invite parents to join us in celebrating the success of each student. This weekend will include seminars, conferences with staff and teachers, and student Journey presentations. The weekend will conclude with a banquet. This weekend is crucial to the success of your child’s transition home, and will help you develop an action plan for the future.

STAFF


Who are your staff? How many staff work with my student?

Our staff are trained to work with students diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. The Administration includes a mix of professionals with a wide range of experience working with this unique population. Campus and Field Instructions 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. Click here for our Staff Bios.

What is the staff / student ratio?

Staff to student ratio is 1:4. Groups of up to 8 students will have two primary staff with them throughout daily activities. The average class size is 8, with a student to teacher ratio of 4:1.

STUDENT LIFE


How do I communicate with my student?

Our goal is to help students develop independence, and while that can mean limited communication, it provides the students the opportunity to engage fully in their current experiences. Students will call home twice each campus phase. Parents are encouraged to write letters/emails to students, and students will have access to personal email accounts after the first two weeks of the program. See our Parent Handbook for complete information.

Does my child need Spending Money?

Students will learn fiscal responsibility by managing their own private debit account. Spending money will be used for laundry, to replace gear and toiletries, souvenirs, and additional purchases as necessary.

My child is on medication. How do you handle this?

A majority of our students are on medication. Medication administration is handled by our staff, and is tracked to ensure proper dosing. Parent will need to send medication in a timely manner as it is refilled by their pharmacy.

What does a typical day look like?

The school day begins at 8:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm, with one hour for lunch and one hour focused on life skills. Classes typically run for 50-55 minutes with a 5-10 minute break in between. Students will complete an exercise routine each day, which may include a jog, walk, or other physical activity. Expedition days will vary depending on location and activities planned.

What will my child be eating?

The Academy at SOAR promotes healthy food options for our students. In keeping with our philosophy of developing independence and life-skills, students plan menus for the group as well as purchase and prepare the team’s food while on expeditions. During campus phases, meals will be prepared and served on base by the school’s cook. We will accommodate vegetarian and non-orthodox kosher diets; however, students are ultimately responsible for their own food choices.

What if my child gets sick?

The Academy at SOAR staff will utilize local doctor offices for students with unexpected medical issues and will notify parents if their student needs medical attention.

What about hygiene?

Maintaining hygiene is an important life skill. Students will be taught how to maintain hygiene in both residential and remote settings, and will learn how to do their own laundry.

Do you have a dress code?

Clothing that depicts violence, drugs, alcohol, or sexualized references are unacceptable. Students are not permitted to wear: provocative clothing, pants exposing underwear, clothing with rips, short-shorts, tube tops, or clothing exposing cleavage or the midriff. Significant appearance changes while at SOAR are not permitted (drastic changes in hair style or color, piercings, and henna/tattoos).

Can I visit my child while on course?

For some students, seeing their family may increase the likelihood of homesickness and may be counterproductive to the growth process. Please contact the Academy at SOAR Director if you would like to visit.

Can my child bring electronics? (Cell phone, Ipod, etc)

We encourage students to bring cameras. The use of IPods/MP3 players (without internet capability)/hand held video games must be approved by a director. Students will not be able to use cell phones, pagers, or other communication devices.

ACADEMICS


What about the “quality” of your academics?

The Academy at SOAR is SACS-CASI accredited by AdvancED. Click here to learn more about this prestigious accreditation.

Will my child fall behind academically?

No, your student should not fall behind academically- provided they complete all the coursework. We work with parents and schools to determine the correct course load for each student, using the North Carolina Standard Course of study for each grade level.

What is differentiated instruction?

Differentiated instruction means we can adapt our curriculum to the individual learning style of your child. Click here to read more.

What courses do you offer?

We use the North Carolina Standard Course of Study to determine appropriate course offerings per grade level. Click here for our complete Course Catalog.

EXPEDITIONS


What if my child has never camped?

Most students, regardless of experience, can successfully complete every portion of our program, provide they are of average or above average physical aptitude.

What are the expeditions like?

Expeditions will provide students with opportunities to see incredible places and participate in exciting adventures. Students will learn wilderness skills, expedition planning, and get a chance to “unplug”. Most expeditions are in the backcountry, which means no access to electricity or bathroom facilities, yet students will find they can thrive without everyday “comforts”. Read a powerful account of Expedition life here. (link to a new Blog entry created from current page: http://www.academyatsoar.org/expediton-life.html)

Will my child need a passport?

Yes, passports are required for our international expeditions. This includes Peru, Costa Rica, and Belize.

What gear will I need to purchase?

Students will be required to bring personal items (clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag, etc) in addition to specific academic materials. Click here for a complete gear list. Wilderness equipment, such as climbing helmets and harnesses, life jackets, tents, etc will be provided.

FINANCIAL


What does my tuition include?

Tuition includes Room & Board, Academic Materials/ Curriculum Fees, Overhead and Program Costs.

Do you offer financial assistance?

We offer limited financial assistance to families in need. Contact our Admission office at 828-456-3435 for more information. Additional assistance may be available through education loans. Read more.

What if my child leaves early? Will I get a refund?

If your child is removed from the Academy due to behavioral issues, no refund will be provided. Please review our Financial Policy in detail prior to enrolling your child.

Is my tuition tax deductible?

Tuition may be tax deductible. Although we are not a therapeutic program, we do address special needs education, and as such may be considered a medical expense tax deduction.  Tax rules allow medical deductions for “diagnosis, cure, mitigation, or treatment…primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness” (IRS publication 502). Contact your health care provider and tax professional for more information on whether or not this deduction is appropriate for you.