Lodi's Only Private School Geared for Students with Learning Disabilities!
Have you struggled to find a good fit for your special needs child? Does your child dread going to school and complain about mistreatment? Has your child failed to make progress in special education classes?
You aren't alone!
Most of our students at the Harp Academy come to us with IEP's. Most have failed in a traditional system that doesn't understand what they need to succeed. Dylsexia, autism, and other learning disabilities are common. What isn't common is providing a nurturing environment where students can thrive.
At the Harp Academy, we understand the tired learner. We understand children who are overwhelmed and failing with traditional measures that don't work with non-traditional learners.
Our private school provides a unique setting for students who have learning disabilities that interfere with academic success. Your child with learning, behavior, or social differences has a safe place to learn where we focus on reading, writing, spelling, and math. We also ensure that your child receives the same sensory exercises, multi-sensory academics, and brain integration activities that are critical to overcoming learning challenges.
We do the heavy lifting for you and your exhausted learner. Students attend for three days a week (four days starting in the 2020-2021 school year). This allows for some "down" time for the tired learner to recoup, revitalize, and enjoy being a child or teen.
Our students learn best by "doing" and we offer hands-on learning as often as possible. In addition, guided practice is an important part of our curriculum. We ensure the student has time to practice the skill before being asked to do it independently. Having problems? No big deal. We just keep practicing until the skill is mastered. And of course, with our one teacher to eight student ratio, students get lots of help and attention!
Every other week, students engage in hands-on science experiments. Come in on a Wednesday, and you might find our kids making crystals, volcanoes, or speeding rockets into the sky. We don't have our students read science books and then attempt to pass a test that might be beyond their readability level or bore them to tears. That isn't science! Science is a way of thinking and a way of doing, not a reading comprehension test!
Yes, we address reading comprehension, but during our scheduled reading time. Even then, we make reading fun. Students work with partners and use phonemic units with movement, colors, pictures, rhythm, and patterns. They read one-on-one with their teacher, not in front of the class. Our students read high-interest books and make story maps to firm up their knowledge. And, our reading program is Orton-Gillingham-based, so kids with learning differences are sure to benefit from sound research. If you come in during one of our warm-up sessions, you'll see the kids clapping out syllables.
Many of our students have high functioning autism, and they crave structure and routine! We provide this along with freedom of movement when not in a learning session. If our students need to get up and stretch their legs, they're free to do it. They can eat a snack whenever they like. They don't have to ask to use the restroom.
The result? Happy, well-functioning students.
At any given time, you might see our kids working in small groups, sitting on big balls or wiggle seats to get their "ya-yas" out or even crouched in a corner getting some alone time. They are free to use kinetic sand while listening to the teacher so they can pay attention.
We listen to our kids!
Most of our students come to us with social skills issues of varying degrees. It's so rewarding to watch them overcome these hurdles and make lasting friendships. It's common for our students to get together for events outside of school just to enjoy each other's company.
Once a week, our students enjoy participating in board games. This gives us an opportunity to guide them in sharing, taking turns, and becoming good sports. Even better...they love it!
Our library of board games stimulate thinking processes, math facts, life skills, reading, and spelling.
In addition, we provide structured Social Skills classes to our students. They revel in this part of their curriculum and enjoy the discussions and awareness it brings.
At the Harp Academy, we differentiate learning. This means that if a student is at a fourth grade level, then that's where she'll work. From there, we work to help the student make strides. Students also receive a lot of individual attention, which is crucial for kids with learning issues.
Every morning, students engage in pull-out reading where we focus on comprehension and fluency. This is where magic happens, because it's hard to make reading strides in a large group. We provide a variety of reading curriculum as well as our own Orton-Gillingham based program.
We don't make kids read out loud in front of the class! We strive to help our students gain confidence, not intimidate them.
Every morning, our students engage in our own life skills warm-up. Each student has an individual cash register and counts out change. They each have an analog clock and practice telling time. Older students work on check writing and banking skills. All students participate in our own copyrighted Feeling Frames where they capture and handle emotions through writing and drawing. Vocabulary words are made into fun games where students actually remember meanings of words. You won't find our kids writing out endless definitions, because that has no meaning for them!
We also work out one math word problem a day so students can become familiar with different processes of working out word problems, something that is frustrating and difficult for most kids who struggle to learn. Students each have a ruler and measure specified objects, and we increase the demand as they gain this important skill.
Each morning, one student gets the opportunity to share in front of the class. This bolsters self-esteem and confidence, however, we don't force shier students to do this.
We use Developmental Math and Singapore Math to ensure student needs are met. We also supplement with Math 4 Today and Harp's own Multiplication Tiles to ensure students know math facts with ease so higher-level math skills can be performed. Students struggling with addition and subtraction facts use Touch Math.
We don't believe that students who struggle to learn do well with Common Core Math. It is too cumbersome for our learners. We also believe that students can learn important, higher-level math skills one step at a time and we focus on building a strong math foundation for all of our learners. If a student has a gap in her math foundation, we take her back and fill in that gap step-by-step.
Often students with learning challenges are very strong in math skills, and we let them run with it! It's not uncommon for a set of students to be working on algebra while another group is working on basic math skills like fractions or long division.
Our students write at least one organized paragraph every day! We make sure they learn to write using a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a concluding sentence. They also enjoy participating in Create and Write projects where they make art projects and write about what they made. Our kids love designing robots, space cars, billboards of the future, and many creative projects that keep them interested and focused on writing.
In addition, we teach the students to write essays and reports using their personal Chrome books. They love researching topics and bringing their creations to life. This prepares them for higher education an keeps them focused.
Students also engage in dictation activities. This is where the teacher calls out sentences for the students to write. As the teacher reads the sentences aloud, the students write what they hear. We start them with simple consonant, vowel, consonant words and build up to multi-syllable words.
This process takes the pressure off reluctant writers. By taking the words away, kids are left with the mechanics of writing. From there, we can help the students build their writing, grammar, and editing skills so that writing can be an easy process.
We tie our spelling directly into our reading and writing. We start with our basic consonant, vowel, consonant pattern then build up to multi-syllable words. We help students learn patterns through our own phonetic lists that coincide with reading and writing. This combination helps students gain strategies to spell words and sound them out instead of guessing at them.
Of course, we work on crucial visual and auditory memory skills to help your child gain a strong spelling foundation.
Most of our students struggle to read in different capacities. We shine when it comes to helping your child overcome reading issues! We perform assessments and find out exactly where your child's reading breakdown occurs. If we need to take your child back to learning letter sounds and building on that, then that's what we do.
"Too often educators take a student at the child's reading level and try to build on that when important foundational skills are missing. In order to really help a child read, you have to go to where the breakdown occurs and build on that," Lisa explains.
We use our copyrighted TouchTile Reading System (available for purchase here) where your child uses color, pictures, movement, visual and auditory components, as well as an Orton-Gillingham foundation. We focus on phonemic awareness, because that's the best way for students with reading issues, especially dyslexia, to learn. They need patterns to understand the complex nature of our language, and once they internalize these patterns, then there's a predictability to their ability to read and they stop guessing at words.
In addition, we use our copyrighted Free to Read Decoding System. (available for purchase here) All too often, poor readers have bad habits and the longer they read incorrectly, the more the bad habits set in. It's so hard to correct bad reading habits in the large reading group setting of traditional schools.
Also, poor readers, especially those with dyslexia, end up guessing at words because they lack or have weak decoding strategies. It's too laborious to sound out words, so they simply guess at them. Sometimes, due to context and picture clues, they are correct in their guessing. This only makes it worse, because they received some positive reinforcement for a pure lack of strategy. Unfortunately, trial and error isn't an efficient method of read
We also use other reading series, such as Read Naturally and All About Reading to help set in these important reading skills. Focusing on visual and auditory skills along with the cloze comprehension method helps students comprehend what's read.
Our typical reading jump is five grade levels by the completion of our program. Unheard of!
A Safe Space to Learn!
Students don't learn when they're stressed out or lacking in trust. Most students with learning differences come to us tired, stressed out, and afraid. It's a proven fact that people don't learn when they're in fight-or-flight, yet the bulk of our learning-disabled population live in that crippling fear every day. They fear failing, bullies, social interactions, displeasing teachers or parents, an upcoming test, report cards, and a host of other things.
This doesn't lead to learning success!
Structure, safety, a nurturing environment, a curriculum that makes sense, the Harp Learning System, plenty of individual attention, acceptance, social skills training, and plenty of movement options are the secret ingredients that make the Harp Academy a perfect fit for your non-traditional learner.
Students who struggle to learn love working with thematic units. It helps them tie information together so it makes sense. We weave together art, science, social studies, and health with units such as dinosaurs, ocean animals, states, land forms, and volcanoes. The kids work on hands-on activities within each unit, and the best part of all is that they enjoy it...because learning should be fun!
Low Student/Teacher Ratios
At the Harp Academy, we limit class sizes to one teacher to eight students. This ensures that students receive the help they desperately need and deserve! We're able to repeat directions, and offer unique learning and practice situations to meet your non-traditional learner's needs.
We also institute the use of teacher aides to institute reading, writing, and math support when applicable.
At the Harp Academy, each student has a laptop and a tablet for use. Most kids with learning issues do better with technology, but in traditional settings, students have to share computers and tablets or wait until computer lab time. All too often, the strongest personalities win out and receive the bulk of the computer time.
Not at Harp! Every child uses his personal laptop or tablet for appropriate assignments because every child deserves the chance to grow and thrive. We're happy and proud to help our students bridge the technology gap and meet their academic needs in a way that will carry them into the futur
Call (209)365-0950 to enroll your child!
Call (209)544-5414 to place your child on our waiting list.
Tuition: $595.00 per month
Visions in Education
We partner with Visions in Education, a home school program that contributes approximately $220.00 toward tuition if you choose to go that route. For more information on Visions in Education, give them a call. (833)883-1601. We're happy to look into becoming vendors with similar programs or schools should you find one, but we can't promise that every one will work.