Students are at their best when learning differences are understood and accepted, when appropriate accommodations are made available and, most importantly, when their strengths as learners are defined, affirmed, and cultivated.
At Lawrence School, this is our way of life—built on the foundation that school is a “safe place” for students with learning differences to engage in their own unique way. And, within this encouraging environment, Lawrence provides a comprehensive Lower School program, as well as an Upper School program serving students in grades 7-12, that features specialized and personalized attention, organizational strategies and aids, mutual accountability, encouraged self-advocacy, and an engaged faculty of learners. Lawrence School is widely considered to be among the best schools in the United States for students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences.
A number of specific, consistent strategies are used across all grade levels in all classrooms to help ensure success and productivity, including:
Students receive the personal attention they need to be confident learners. Complex concepts are broken into manageable steps, and students have many opportunities to practice each skill before they apply it to new situations. Learning strengths and challenges are continually reviewed throughout the year, and teaching approaches are modified and adapted to match each student's changing needs.
A multisensory approach to instruction is critical for students with language-based learning differences. Hands-on activities are the rule rather than the exception, and students take advantage of the approach that best suits their individual learning style. Material is presented using visual, tactile, auditory, and kinesthetic formats, making it easier to process and retain information. Teachers also change activities frequently to help students stay focused on the topic at hand.
In the classroom, academic material is taught to mastery. Students must achieve 80% comprehension to move onto new concepts. Teaching techniques include an Orton-Gillingham-based approach to reading instruction, the Wilson Reading System, Framing Your Thoughts, Keys to Literacy, Visualizing & Verbalizing, and more. These specialized techniques are interwoven to help students reach the 80% comprehension goal.
At Lawrence School, small class sizes (an average of only 8-10 learners in a classroom) allow teachers to present appropriately challenging curriculum within functional and flexible groupings. Every classroom lesson incorporates organizational strategies to help students with learning differences manage and retain information. Consistent routines, including frequent feedback and check-ins, facilitate success. Highlighting the development of these skills helps students manage their work and develop good structural and organizational habits for the future.
A carefully-crafted, uniform plan for behavioral expectations provides a calm, predictable learning climate. Students are encouraged to embrace and celebrate learning differences and take risks without the fear of being ridiculed if they fail. Positive, consistent classroom management techniques allow students to meet goals and achieve success, which reduces anxiety and allows for growth. Students learn at their own pace throughout the day in various small student groupings, avoiding the stigma that may occur when individuals are "pulled out" of class for resource room support.
Orton-Gillingham. What is it?
Our commitment to multisensory learning is rooted in decades of research on how the dyslexic mind retains new information.
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