As part of her practice, educational consultant. Marylou Marcus, visits scores of boarding school campuses each year. This fall she made a tour of New England boarding schools that work specifically with students who have learning differences. These New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut schools each offer specialized programs that address specific student needs and diagnoses.
School fit. Finding the best boarding school for each student is about matching a particular school's best programs and approaches with the experiences and techniques that will help a student grow the most. As we always say, there is a boarding school for every student. The notion applies to traditional students as well as students with learning differences. While New England is home to America's greatest concentration of traditional boarding schools, it's also home to America's greatest concentration of learning differences boarding schools.
Like traditional boarding schools that come in a plethora of configurations and approaches, each is designed to work most effectively with a particular kind of students, learning differences boarding schools bring specialized clinical approaches designed to maximize the learning and growth of their students.
The differences and practices of learning differences schools tend not to be as nuanced as the differences of their traditional schools counterparts. Learning differences boarding schools, being clinical practitioners of teaching methods designed to work specific student learning diagnoses, communicate very clearly the kinds of students with whom their programs fit and work.
These schools know themselves, their practices and their students. Before a learning differences boarding school accepts a student, they work hard to ensure that they can address a student's situation and nurture his/her growth professionally and in the best ways possible.
Learning differences school work very hard to ensure the best fit possible between a student's learning profile and school practices.
A bad fit is unhealthy for the student.
Parents and families new to a learning differences diagnosis hit the Internet armed with information, searching for information, looking to learn about school options for their child.
Even with clear language from programs and an understanding of their child's needs parents can can find the process overwhelming and can benefit from professional insight into schools and their practices.
With these thoughts in mind, we offer some excerpts from Marylou's school visits with links to the full text of her thoughts after visiting these learning differences schools along with a map that plots each school's location.
The Greenwood School, Putney, Vermont
"The Greenwood School enrolls boys ages 9–14. Students have been diagnosed with: dyslexia, specific language-based learning disabilities/learning differences (LD); receptive language and/or expressive language deficits; executive functioning deficits; attention difficulties (ADD or ADHD); disorders of written expression; dysgraphia; or, speech and language needs. Greenwood partners with the family and child throughout each boy's learning and educational experience at school." (Read more >> An Educational Consultant's Notes on The Greenwood School)
Landmark School, Prides Crossing of Beverly, Massachusetts
"A co-educational boarding and day school with grades 9 -12, Landmark designs an individualized program for each high school student. Students meet and work closely with one tutor the entire year. Each student is challenged personally with the goal of becoming an independent learner. Students who attend Landmark School are bright and have language-based learning disabilities such as: dyslexia, executive functioning disorder, written and/or expressive language disorder. Landmark is not an environment for a non-verbal LD student. Landmark students earn privileges and increasing independence through the school's "Level System" which encourages students to rise progressively from one to six (the highest level). It rewards students as they grow and improve skills including time management, organization and social/communication. All students begin at level one and go forward or drop back throughout the year." (Read more >> An Educational Consultant's Notes on Landmark School)
Eagle Hill School, Hardwick, Massachusetts
"Eagle Hill School educates students with learning differences, including ADD, ADHD, in grades eight through twelve. Faculty are committed to providing an intimate and individualized course of study for each student within a traditional boarding school setting. Eagle Hill uses 4 week terms for their academic courses." (Read more >> A Return to Eagle Hill School)
The Forman School, Litchfield, Connecticut
"Forman is coeducational boarding and day school (172 students) for a clearly defined population- students with dyslexia and issues around executive functioning and ADD/ADHD. The school does not have programs for students with Autism, Aspergers or students with behavioral or emotional difficulties. Forman uses a variety of learning approaches: intensive one-on-one work to improve areas of weakness, small group cooperative learning settings (boat building), round-table discussions, and hands-on experiential education. Forman uses a unique academic schedule. For three weeks, students take four classes only. Then, they move onto four different classes for three weeks." (Read more >> An Educational Consultant's Notes on The Forman School)
Kildonan School, Amenia, New York
"Kildonan School is a coeducational day and boarding school serving students in grades 2–12 with dyslexia. Kildonan's ultimate goal is to help students learn to love school again.
Each student's Orton Gillingham (OG) tutorial provides the foundation for his/her Kildonan experience. Students work to develop the skills to succeed in academic endeavors- reading, writing, spelling, and self-advocacy." (Read more >> An Educational Consultant's Notes on Kildonan School)
The Glenholme School, Washington, Connecticut
"Glenholme is a 12-month, special education boarding school for students with exceptional learning needs. Glenholme's highly structured program program works well with students who have academic and social difficulties relative to Asperger's, ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, OCD, Tourettes Syndrome, or mild to moderate behavioral deficits. The school's goal is to prepare and equip each student with skills and strategies that move them toward independence." (Read more >> Visiting a Specialized Boarding School)
Maplebrook School, Amenia, New York
"Maplebrook School works with a clearly defined range of students between the ages of 11 and 18 in the academic program and between 18 and 21 in The Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Studies (C.A.P.S.) program. These students have learning differences and/or ADD and have low average abilities that make it difficult to thrive in traditional academic and social settings. Students must have a minimum IQ of 70 and be willing to make a commitment to their academic work in spite of learning differences. Maplebrook is not equipped to work with students who have primary emotional or social needs." (Read more >> An Educational Consultant's Note on Maplebrook School)
Franklin Academy, East Haddam, Connecticut
"Franklin Academy is a boarding and day college preparatory school for students with nonverbal learning differences and Asperger's Syndrome in grades 9 – 12.
The majority of Fanklin Academy students have an auditory learning style. Their typical strengths include advanced reading and decoding skills, a sophisticated vocabulary, enhanced verbal ability, superior rote memory, and expertise with computers. Auditory perception and alternative thinking skills are usually quite strong, and they often prefer interacting with adults and younger children." (Read more >> A Boarding School for Students with Nonverbal Learning Differences and Asperger's Syndrome)