At Compass Rose Academy, we are also regularly seeking new ways to meet the needs of our students. This is why we built our new, intentionally designed campus, and why we implemented Project Based Learning in The Academy, one of the factors which lead to our recent accreditation through the Association of Christian Schools International.
Many of the students we serve at CRA struggle with deficits in executive functioning. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, executive functioning can be defined as, “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously.” Students that struggle with executive functioning may have difficulty completing tasks, transitioning from one activity to another, managing time and following directions.
The Academy has a variety of built-in supports designed to help students that struggle with these specific issues. These supports include:
- A clear structured routine – The Academy follows the same schedule every day and has the daily schedule posted throughout the school.
- Tools to aid with organization – All students follow the same organization system to keep up with schoolwork which is set up for them during school orientation. In addition, all students are provided a weekly planner to write down important due dates or assignments.
- Frequent check-ins throughout project work – As a project-based learning school, students are often working on multi-step projects. Teachers intentionally check-in with students throughout the duration of the unit to make sure the students are understanding the expectations, as well as to provide guidance and direction.
- Breaks provided as needed – Students at The Academy are allowed to request breaks as needed. Brain breaks are a frequent occurrence in classrooms and provide opportunities for movement around the room. Students also utilize emotional regulation spaces within or outside of the classroom as needed.
- Repetition of information – Teachers reiterate important information to students through repeating directions or writing important information on the board. Teachers keep directions clear and concise.
- Rubrics and checklists – Teachers provide rubrics and checklists throughout project work to ensure students know what the expectations are. This helps students keep track of their progress.
- Weekly goal setting – Students set weekly academic, behavioral, spiritual and clinical goals. This helps to direct their attention to specific areas of focus.
By teaching these skills to our students, it is our goal that they will return home with the skills they need to be successful in future academic settings.
By Katherine Kelly, Academic Director at The Academy at Compass Rose
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