Certain well-researched guidelines lead as we teach: most specifically, the Orton-Gillingham Method. This approach is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. Multisensory learning involves the simultaneous use of visual, auditory, and tactile pathways to enhance memory and learning of written language. The Orton-Gillingham approach is effective for students at all grade levels and accommodates the strengths and weaknesses of individual learning differences.
Additionally, small classes afford teachers the time and freedom from distraction to ensure that each child is taught and evaluated appropriately on a regular basis. Each student at New Vistas School is provided with an Individualized Instructional Plan (IIP), which includes a present level of performance, goals to address weaknesses, and classroom accommodations necessary to overcome the identified weaknesses. The IIP is developed by the student’s advisor and teachers. Assessment of progress for each student is made every nine weeks and more frequently if necessary. Each class schedules daily homework and regular quizzes, tests, and progress reviews to determine learning and continued learning needs. Further testing, in the form of standardized tests, are administered annually to each child, providing additional objective measurement of gains.
Young people with ADHD often have not learned the strategies to enable them to progress through education successfully and independently. Focus, organization, critical thinking, and problem solving are directly taught during the structured school day. Students learn to work collaboratively with peers – a life skill invaluable in the world they will confront after formal education.
All young people benefit from adult guidance regarding social skills, civic responsibilities, and service to the wider community. These are all included in the NVS program. New Vistas School’s curricula in all grades is grounded in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) with an emphasis on developmentally appropriate skill levels.