Due to the small class sizes, we are able to provide accommodations or modifications that allow our students to experience success. Excelsior Academy teachers are flexible in their teaching approach and are able to personalize and individualize the curriculum to meet the students’ learning needs. Our teachers create an atmosphere of success, taking into account the personal challenges of a child’s life so they can have a positive school experience. In order to meet the student’s academic needs, emotional and social needs have to first be met. In the lower school, there is a big emphasis on their personal growth and social/emotional needs that the students become self-aware and are able to learn to be a student, advocate for themselves and to be the best citizen that they possibly can be. Each class is highly structured with high expectations for each student, regardless of where they are academically. Though we have high expectations, we meet the student where they are and build them up academically and emotionally. Each student is treated as an individual and is taught how to be responsible, respectful of others individuality and how to self-regulate. By the time these students reach high school, they are able to grow academically because of the self-understanding they have achieved in lower school.
Understanding the diversity of learning styles within our classes is the key to student success. Through the use of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, students with learning differences are allowed to learn through a variety of modalities, such as visual, verbal, kinesthetic, and logical to name a few. Students are taught academic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics with their preferred learning style(s) and strengths. Our multi-sensory approach allows each student to become problem solvers and independent learners. Because of our small class sizes, teachers get to know each child individually and design a curriculum ideally suited to each student’s needs. The curriculum is designed to help each student progress and experience success. Our curriculum includes language arts, math, social studies, science, writing and physical education, and provides many opportunities for our students to flourish.
The Lower School offers several special programs for students to prosper and grow in different areas. Our social skills class allows students to engage daily in a character education program that teaches them to make healthy decisions, create positive social relationships, and learn useful problem-solving skills. Our current Enrichment Program includes an art class as well as a meditation class. Through art, students are allowed alternative ways to communicate and express their ideas. Creating art helps children discover the unexpected possibilities of their creativity. Our meditation class focuses on visualization, deep breathing, walking meditation and mindfulness. Research has revealed that meditation has many positive effects on children including enhancing learning, improving self-esteem, and reducing anxiety. Many young people carry heavy burdens on their shoulders and learning how to calm and quiet their minds can help them.
Taking the whole child approach, we believe each child can achieve and experience academic and emotional success. Our staff serves as role models and encourages students to learn and grow, recognizing that they are here for more than just academics. We believe that every child has an opportunity to succeed in school if provided the correct tools. It is our job to provide these tools, such as rules and procedures, a warm, caring and organized environment, and the ability to make each and every child feel like they belong in the classroom. We are committed to helping children reach their highest potential.