Every person is capable of different levels of academic achievement at different times. In a traditional system, students are assigned to grade-level work and are, at times, held back or pushed forward with the group when a different pace may better suit their abilities and needs at their present levels. Bright Avenues supports each student at their individual academic level, regardless of their chronological age. Students who are able and desirous of moving at a faster pace in a subject are able to do so, and likewise if they are struggling in a subject, we are able to help identify ways to provide practical support and encouragement to strengthen those areas.
Bright Avenues’ unique, fully integrative educational model allows for each and every student to have a team of adult champions in their corner. This team is comprised of the student’s parents and the academic (lead, assistant, and paraprofessional teachers), artistic, therapeutic, and administrative staff. The function of teaming the parents with the various staff who work with their child each day, allows for the creation of a Personal Empowerment Plan (PEP). Through this plan, we identify areas of relative strength and weakness, then create personal goals for academic, artistic, social, emotional, physical, and executive function (organizational) education. We are excited to provide the ability to create a strategy for each individual student’s development in all areas of education provided by Bright Avenues.
The arts are a meaningful component of human learning and interaction with the world and others. It is widely known and accepted that music education fosters in students mathematical reasoning, perseverance, attention, confidence and enjoyment of learning. Likewise, the visual, dramatic, and movement-based arts are phenomenal methods for teaching and most importantly learning. This learning is not exclusive to academic subjects, but spans social and emotional aptitude, organizational skills, and creative expression and thought. The careers of today, let alone of the future, require creative thought and expression.
Bright Avenues employs a full complement of artistic specialist teachers in music, art, dance/movement, and drama. Our integrated approach to the arts in education is one that few schools are able to accommodate. Not only do students have the opportunity to learn from these artistic specialists during time spent in those teachers separate classrooms, but the artistic specialists work in conjunction with the classroom teachers in presenting academic topics. This collaborative teaching also affords the students the opportunity to assimilate knowledge, and present their learning, in a variety of ways.
“Social and Emotional Learning is a process through which people learn to recognize and manage emotions, care about others, make good decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, and develop positive relationships.” (Elias, 2007)
Skills developed through a formal SEL curricular program increase students’ empathy and resiliency, and produce an overall positive school environment.
Interpersonal and group social skills are a vital part of learning throughout our lives. It is especially important to develop a consciousness about social and emotional intelligence during our years as children. These skills affect all that we do, whether in professional or personal life, and the foundations of these skills are built in the years of childhood and adolescence.
Social and emotional learning is actively taught, modeled and nurtured in every aspect of Bright Avenues education.
For more information on Social and Emotional Learning, please see the SEL Overview Page at the Institute for SEL site.
Executive Functioning describes the brain’s process for understanding, processing and organizing information in our environment. Student’s who struggle with executive functioning difficulties often struggle with initiating tasks such as work in the classroom, following multi-step directions needed to complete an assignment, breaking down larger tasks such as reports and projects into smaller more manageable parts and completing assignments and turning them in.
Executive functioning also carries over into motor learning which often requires a student to observe and/or hear the steps of motor tasks (independently break each step down) then organize and remember the steps in sequence to perform them. When students struggle with executive functioning in gross motor learning, they often cannot keep up with their same age peers on the playground at recess or in PE which has a negative impact on their social standing within the class.
If executive functioning impacts their fine motor skills, they will often struggle with handwriting, shoe-tying, getting materials into and out of their backpacks and tend to self limit their artistic abilities. As recent changes in education have come about, our children experience a heavier academic workload and are required to be organized and manage their time for academics and other activities. Some students find this to be simple task and others struggle greatly with such requirements.
All students can benefit from being directly taught and supported in learning and utilizing methods for organizing their thoughts, time, materials, and duties. In later years, having a strong ability to prioritize, organize, and stay on task is immensely beneficial to success in all aspects of career and personal life.
Executive functioning is interwoven into the daily tasks and curriculum at Bright Avenues School. The academic teachers and therapeutic specialists work together to help students learn how to organize and manage their time and resources. The artistic specialist teachers are able to help students find enjoyable and creative ways to implement organizational strategies.
Every child has areas of learning, whether academic or otherwise, that are easier or more difficult for them than other areas. Through our Learning Support we help develop every student’s individual strengths and teach them how to utilize those strengths to build their capabilities in areas of difficulty. At Bright Avenues, our specialists work in all areas of the school and are enabled to train the academic and artistic teachers in the functional implementation of the modalities specific to their area of expertise. This full integration of techniques benefits not only students who have challenges, but also serves to enhance learning for every student and helps to nurture the essential development of understanding and compassion which is characteristic of the Bright Avenues culture.
Here is how the Learning Support therapeutic specialists contribute to the individual success of each Bright Avenues student:
Occupational Therapy is the art and science of using purposeful activity to maximize a person’s independence, function, and overall health. A student’s occupation is to participate to their maximum potential in school. OT practices and techniques can help ALL students maximize their learning! OT can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Occupational therapists evaluate children’s abilities, recommend and provide therapies, modify classroom equipment & tasks to best meet each child’s sensory, motor, behavioral, and functional needs. This helps children participate as fully as possible in school programs and activities!
Speech Language Pathology
There are many benefits to having a speech-language pathologist as a partner in classroom education. For those students identified with a communication disability, the SLP would provide inclusive therapy in the natural setting of the child’s class and model intervention techniques and modifications for teachers and staff. This would enable greater carry-over of the skills being taught and the child would miss less instruction time with peers due to pull-out therapy. Those students not identified with a communication disability would benefit from the SLP’s expertise in literacy and language skills.
Physical Therapy is a modality which serves to increase students range of motion, balance, coordination, ball skills, agility and strength to literally allow them to move more easily through their lives. Research shows a strong correlation between a students ability to keep up with their same age peers during play activities and their social standing in the classroom and between their body coordination and their academic skills such as reading, math and handwriting. Physical therapists have the unique ability to break down each motor task, identify the areas of deficits, and create a treatment plan that is specific to their individual needs thus allowing them the opportunity to catch up to their peers on the playground of life as well as in the classroom.