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Armstrong School

 

 

 

How We Teach

Former students and their families may tell you that miracles happen at Armstrong. We appreciate the accolades, but what happens here isn’t magic. We succeed because of research-based teaching methods, highly trained staff, and a committed community of parents. Our 360° Learning approach ensures students never fall through the cracks because we know what we are doing and because we are passionate and committed to their success.

Armstrong Students are...

Surrounded by a Community that “Gets it”

The dyslexic student is at the center of everything we do at Armstrong. From the moment a family begins the application process, they are part of our community. Our team approach supports all families as they adjust to life at Armstrong. Every aspect of our student day is methodically planned. From the way we approach reading to the way we assign homework, to the way we support peer relationships.

Inspired by Enthusiastic, Expert Teachers

Armstrong hires only the best. Our educators have extensive experience working with children with dyslexia. Some of our faculty are dyslexic. They use their own academic struggles to empathize, connect, and inspire their students. They do whatever needs to be done to help your child thrive socially, emotionally, and academically. And with a staff to student ratio of one to six, teachers quickly learn to teach to student strengths and work around challenges. When warranted, the Armstrong staff will also consult with outside psychologists, speech therapists, and educational consultants.

Armstrong is not a school for children with trouble learning. It’s a school for dyslexics who never had proper teaching. Children with dyslexia need specialists in dyslexia. Each student is supported by two main teachers, a third teacher during small group instruction periods (math and language), an instructional coach who observes and models for the teachers on an ongoing basis and collaboration on best practices for each child, a music teacher, two P.E. teachers, two science teachers, two art teachers, two counselors who regularly interact with every student, and our Head of School. The list goes on from here, and each and every one of our faculty members is an expert in their subject matter and an expert in teaching dyslexics.

Stimulated by Multisensory Methodologies

Every child takes in information differently. Some children are kinesthetic learners, some auditory learners and others visual learners. We make sure material is presented to appeal to all kinds of minds. We recognize that teachable moments are just as likely to happen on the playground as they are in the classroom. Our teachers seize every learning opportunity available.

Children can stand or sit when they work. They can sit on a chair, or sit on rubber exercise ball, which allows them to fidget without interrupting others. Contrary to what many believe, fidgeting or chewing gum is not counter- productive to learning. It’s a self-soothing measure that helps sensory seeking children stay on task. So does chewing gum. So, yes, we encourage this as well.

Immersed in Smart Classrooms

Technology is a key way our students access the curriculum and mitigate their challenges. Teachers use FM systems to optimize auditory processing . Classrooms have special lighting, room temperature controls, high ceilings, unconventional seating, and unique paint colors (yes, it makes a difference). 

Interactive whiteboards are used all day. Beginning in the 4th grade every student is assigned a laptop. We take advantage of any and all assistive technology. There are programs that turn text into speech and speech into text. So if you’re having trouble reading the Sound and the Fury, you listen to it. If you have trouble writing about the Catcher in the Rye, you speak about it and we never settle for good enough. 

iPad are used everyday. Begining in the 6th grade, every student is assigned an iPad. There are Apps that turn text into speech and speech into text. The ipads are used in class to take notes and complete assignments in class and at home. We never settle for good enough. Our faculty is always testing out the latest and greatest software options and integrating them into the classroom.  

Guided by Optimized Lesson Plans

Dyslexics need organization and are more likely to thrive when there’s order. That’s what you’ll see the moment you step on campus. Instructions and schedules are written out clearly and repeated the same way each day. Repetition and patterns help dyslexics lower anxiety and prepare to learn. Stimulating brain breaks are taken throughout instructional periods. Frequent breaks do not impair learning, but rather increase productivity. Seating plans, project partners, homework schedules, experiential learning opportunities, are all designed around the dyslexic brain.

 

It might not work out a bunch of times, but I know it eventually will.

 I’m a little worried about the workload in Highschool, but with the skills I have learned at Charles Armstrong with confidence, self-advocacy and a good work ethic, I can be successful in high school and beyond.

Evan Bottarini
Excerpt from her 8th grade graduation from Charles Armstong School, 2015