- Student Profile & Strength-Based Approach
- Instructional Model
- Study Skills
- Written Expression
- Social Skills
Student Profile & Strength-Based Approach
Each student has an educational plan summarizing the neuro-developmental strengths, affinities and areas of challenge. We are committed to the principles developed in the All Kinds of Minds®program for guiding classroom instruction, creating accommodations and interventions, and leveraging strengths.
Teachers instruct at the level of students’ skill development with the goal of achieving mastery and automaticity of essential academic skills. Academic tasks and assignments are scaffolded, and each step is explicitly taught. Instruction at every level encompasses a variety of modalities and learning styles.
A variety of formative and summative assessment tools are used in each class to direct classroom instruction and track student progress. Students are given an annual reading-language assessment. Individual R.I.T. achievement scores, corresponding goals, and percentile rankings are obtained through the “Measures of Academic Progress” (Northwest Evaluation Association), which are administered biannually to all students.
Reading teachers receive ongoing and annual training in various research-based reading programs designed for intensive intervention. All students through the 8th grade are assessed annually in reading and language skills and placed in carefully grouped reading classes designed to address their needs. High school students are assessed when they enter the school and placed in reading classes as needed. Reading fluency is also addressed through the Read Naturally digital program.
Reading and study skills instruction is embedded in all content classes with an emphasis on organization, time management, comprehension and study strategies. Westmark has developed school-wide organization, note-taking, and test preparation systems. Teachers also utilize and receive ongoing and annual training in the University of Kansas’ Strategic Instruction Model: Content Enhancement Routines and Learning Strategies.
Students develop their writing skills in content and English classes using the Jane Schaffer Writing Program®. Teachers receive ongoing training via our professional development program. Students are also instructed in the University of Kansas’ Sentence Writing Strategy programs. Elementary teachers emphasize the six traits of writing.
Effective social skills are taught through modeling and the “social autopsy” approach developed by Rick Lavoie. Using the guidelines developed by Dr. Robert Brooks based on the principles of resilience and the charismatic adult, students are guided to build positive relationships, participate in problem solving, and practice effective self-discipline.