Society places tremendous value on the academic achievement of students; in some ways, the pressure has never seemed greater. Public schools, independent schools, and even private boarding schools are all addressing this expectation in various ways. The reality is that, invariably, there are many students for whom learning is a formidable challenge. Ideally, any learning disabilities that are recognized early in the child’s life can allow educators to better facilitate the learning of a struggling student.
One of the more formal ways this is accomplished is by creating an individualized education plan (IEP) for any student whose academic success is impeded for any number of reasons. An IEP is developed in consultation with teachers, parents, and other experts. It essentially outlines different ways in which a student might best realize success, and sets goals for that success to happen. While there is a range in how an IEP is carried out, it often includes the kinds of interventions, special services, remediation and support needed in order for a student to achieve.
Parents of children or teens who need particularly intense intervention may do well to consider a more specialized school environment such as a private boarding school. Here’s why: On paper, IEPs may articulately outline services needed and learning goals to be accomplished, but practically speaking, many standard school environments are often not equipped to offer the kind of attention, intervention and services to the extent they are needed. Factors such as diverse and growing student populations, budget restraints, or even restructured academic mandates have often spread human and financial resources too thin to adequately address individual challenges. Private boarding schools, however, are generally more poised to be able to offer individualized attention. Many of them, aware of the challenges in regular day school classrooms, build their academic reputation specifically on providing a learning environment that is highly structured, disciplined, and even tailored to exceptional learning needs.
For many parents, it is not news that the presence of a disability doesn't automatically guarantee their child will receive services in mainstream school systems; there are often strict parameters requiring a diagnosed disability or challenge to have direct impact on classroom success before help will be approved. Additionally, services offered can often be unspecific, inconsistent, or simply inadequate, fueling the fires of frustration all around. Learning disabilities, emotional and behavioural disorders, (Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD), Asperger Syndrome, and Autism are all diagnoses or challenges often willingly met head-on in a private boarding school environment. Low student-teacher ratios, more individualized attention, as well as skilled and specialized instruction and programs that support learning differences are often the norm of many private boarding schools. They simply have the flexibility to put the focus and expertise exactly where it’s most needed to evidence both emotional health and academic success.
Reaffirmed potential, clear guidance, direction, and intentional instruction are ways a private boarding school can be part of the solution in giving students a fair chance to achieve success to their fullest ability.