- Center School teachers are trained to understand the various components of learning needs and implement quality instruction to address those needs effectively.
- Team teaching enables teachers to engage in personal interactions with students, creates more time for individualized attention and provides greater opportunity for observing and managing student learning and socialization.
- Reading is the cornerstone of the curriculum at Center School, and much of the day is dedicated to building literacy skills. The reading curriculum is language-based, multi-sensory, sequential, and structured to be cumulative. Direct instruction and explicit modeling are used to provide students with the tools necessary to develop sound comprehension skills. Material is chosen at the child’s instructional reading level.
- Students come with a variety of needs; there is no single commercial program that is appropriate for all learners. Rather, Center School relies on ongoing diagnosis by the learning specialists in each class to determine how best to meet each child’s needs. Instruction revolves around five areas crucial to reading success: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development and comprehension. Various frameworks are used for reading instruction which include the Directed Reading Thinking Activity and components of the Reading Workshop and Balanced Literacy Approach.
- Reading teachers are certified in Orton-Gillingham, a diagnostic and prescriptive approach to reading instruction for students who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing often associated with dyslexia; or Wilson Reading System, a multi-sensory, structured curricula based upon phonological-coding research and Orton-Gillingham principles. Phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and writing are the dominant focus of these methods. Some reading teachers are dual-certified in both Orton-Gillingham and Wilson.
The writing curriculum in Center School focuses on a direct approach to teaching writing. In all grade levels, Step Up to Writing by Maureen Auman, a research-based explicit, systematic approach to writing instruction, is used as a resource to guide teachers in creating curriculum. Skills are sequenced, clearly instructed with examples, then modeled with guided practice. A common writing language is developed among all grade levels. In each grade, students learn and understand the importance of the steps of the writing process, and independence in applying them is taught.
A language-based curriculum places emphasis on skills relating to understanding spoken and written language. Center School’s curriculum is language-based, recognizing the role that language plays in academic success. Full curriculum instruction is offered through a structured, multi-sensory approach, based on the students’ needs, and designed to address each child’s learning needs through small group instruction.
In addition to reading and language arts instruction, Center School students experience the full range of typical school subjects including Science, Social Studies, Math, Art, Physical Education, Team Sports and the Arts.
Because of their varying learning needs, it would be misleading to provide an average student stay at Center School. Our goal is for students to transition successfully to a new school – the rate at which this occurs depends on each child’s progress.
As students develop academic skills, they learn how to apply them with independence in order to be successful in high school. Through direct instruction, students learn about their own unique learning styles and how to manage their learning differences successfully. The skill of self-advocacy is emphasized, and as self-awareness grows, students can better manage the learning demands expected in high school.
Students attend a variety of schools after leaving Center School. Parents and students are encouraged to consider factors like class size, and the level of support needed to be successful when exploring new placements.