Back to school is an exciting time of year for every family, but some parents have an added concern: Wondering what challenges might pop up.
Some kids don’t fit into a traditional school setting and the results – like suspensions or expulsions – can cause a lot of stress.
Applewood Academy for Progressive Learning, a leader among alternative schools, was created ten years ago because we understand that some students need extra support to succeed. We have the same academic goals as the public school system, but we fit those goals around the needs of each student.
“I try to get perspective on each child, find out what their interests are, and create a therapeutic program that will give them meaningful incentives to help get them interested,” explained Angela Cross, who leads the elementary program.
A therapeutic program isn’t necessarily on the minds of most teachers as they get ready for September, but it’s central to that work that we do.
Individualized approach to education
“Most of the kids that come to Applewood are here because they can’t settle into a traditional school setting,” Cross noted. “That’s not always the case; we also have students who are just in in transition between schools. Students that are here longer-term stay for a variety of reasons, including behavioural issues or social problems.”
Each student has a treatment plan based on an assessment that’s completed by their parents or caregivers at the beginning of the school year; this helps shape individual goals which our staff syncs with the academic information they need to learn.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is getting past behaviour in the classroom so we can work on the academics.” Cross explained. “We look at different ways we can get each student involved. We look at managing the environment, like working one-on-one. We’ll consider modifying a student’s day when they’re feeling any kind of emotional distress – maybe less academics and more talking. And we get really creative when it comes to finding the right incentives to motivate them.”
Staff support is available
Applewood combines professional expertise with peer support through high school co-op and college placement students. That means there’s a lot of help available in addition to the permanent staff.
“At one time, there are probably four or five adults for seven students,” Cross said. “The high school students have less staff, maybe two for the same number of students. A lot of the academic work is done one-on-one.”
In our next article, we’ll look at what parents can do to support their child at Applewood Academy‘s alternative schools. If you would like to register your child for the upcoming school year, please contact us.