Marburn Academy Statement of Educational Philosophy
Marburn Academy has been built on the belief that a school program could be designed which would enable bright students with learning differences such as dyslexia and ADHD to attain their full potential in academic, social, and affective development. The goals of Marburn's school programs are to develop the students' academic and cognitive skills, to build strong work habits, to teach the values of persistence and courage in overcoming challenges, to build effective social interaction and problem solving patterns, and to strengthen their self-image so they may successfully return to their local schools, prepare for college or other post-secondary schooling, and pursue rewarding careers.
Serving boys and girls from primary grades through high school, Marburn aims to provide a uniquely supportive, success-oriented academic environment for youngsters who experience difficulty with traditional teaching methods. With this goal in mind, we believe:
that student/teacher ratios must be low to afford students high levels of interaction with skillful, caring teachers;
that classes should be small and carefully structured;
that goals should be individualized;
that state-of-the-art diagnostic and standardized achievement testing should be used to establish baseline performance levels, to set goals, and to document progress;
that where testing indicates the possibility, remediation of skill deficits is to be preferred over accommodation;
that grading and progress reports should indicate degree of improvement as well as degree of mastery;
that the curriculum should incorporate elements designed to empower students with self-awareness, self-knowledge, and positive self-acceptance;
and that positive reinforcement should be plentiful.
We hold that instructional techniques should be scientifically validated and specifically tailored to the needs of nontraditional learners. In areas in which they are not intuitive learners, we believe students need direct, carefully sequenced, detailed instruction followed by systematic practice. We also think that multisensory teaching which incorporates kinesthetic, tactile, concrete, or experiential components along with auditory and visual modalities enhances the level of engagement, aids memory, and improves students' ability to absorb abstract, conceptual material.
In addition to remediating skill deficits and teaching coping strategies, Marburn believes its program must also be designed to provide youngsters with opportunities to discover talents, to cultivate strengths, and to earn respect for accomplishments in these areas. Thus, the arts, athletics, outdoor adventure education, and a wide array of extracurricular activities are seen as important elements of the curriculum in their own right, and they are periodically integrated with the classroom programs as well.
Learning to solve social and interpersonal problems and developing effective self management skills are critical steps toward success for youngsters who may have acquired problematic behavior patterns as they struggled to cope with learning difficulties. Therefore, Marburn believes in using a behavior management and discipline system that is educative rather than punitive. The system is designed to emphasize the resolution of conflict through dialogue, the truthful acceptance of responsibility, and the willing acceptance of the consequences of one's own behavior.
Marburn believes that, for children who experience difficulty in traditional educational programs, much is yet to be learned regarding the best ways to assist them in growing up to be strong, secure, and successful adults. Therefore, it is a basic expectation that, guided by sound research, teachers at Marburn will be experimental and innovative, will be actively engaged in seeking new and better ways to teach, and will always be open to testing promising new approaches. In keeping with this belief, Marburn maintains an institutional commitment to participating in thoughtfully selected research programs conducted by reputable scholars.
While the majority of its students are prepared to transition in two to four years, Marburn also is designed to provide a challenging curriculum to those who prefer to continue at the school. In either case, Marburn's goal remains the same: to help students acquire the skills, the self-knowledge, the intellectual growth, and the strength of character they must have to succeed when they transition from Marburn to further schooling or to employment.
Marburn also believes that a part of its mission is to conduct active training and outreach programs to assist parents and professional colleagues in other settings to implement effective strategies that have been evaluated, developed or successfully modeled at Marburn.
For additional information, please e-mail us.