The Noble Academy Way
As a leading and specialized Greensboro private school, the following are critical components of the Noble Academy Program.
Accommodations are changes in the way a student receives instruction or produces work that takes into account the student’s areas of disability. Accommodations maximize student learning and performance by utilizing areas of student strength. Accommodations include such things as extended time on tests, use of the computer for written work, use of charts and diagrams in addition to lecture, utilizing a student’s strength to redefine how an assignment needs to be completed, and special assistance such as a reader or scribe.
Each student is assigned an advisor at Noble Academy in Greensboro, NC. A strong advisor-advisee relationship is one of the keys to student success. The advisor is the primary teacher responsible for teaching advisees about the general Noble Academy routines, strategies, and expectations as well as serving as the student’s advocate and academic coach. The advisor coordinates the Academic Profile process for students and serves as the point person for parent contact with the school.
Assistive technology can improve the quality of performance for many students. At Noble Academy we have three computer labs to support student research and each classroom has a computer for student use. Additionally, Noble Academy utilizes a bring your own devise initiative that allows students to bring in their own computers in order to maximize the students’ computer access. Each classroom has its own Smart Board that affords students an interactive experience while learning new skills and concepts. We also use audiobooks, enlarged print, and audio enhancement to support the students’ academic experience.
Behavior and Character Education
The Noble Academy policy for behavior stems directly from our belief that respect is key to a safe, supportive, productive, and positive environment. All students, parents, faculty, and staff are responsible for supporting and encouraging respect for self, others, and property. Our Greensboro private school has rules and behavioral expectations that are taught, practiced, and monitored. Our behavior monitoring system includes understanding of behaviors associated with ADHD and learning differences, implementation of appropriate behavior modifications, documentation of such implementation, documentation of infractions, and a daily reporting system for parents as part of the student planner for students in grades K – 9 and for students with such needs in grades 10 – 12.
A short time at the end of each day is designated to checkpoint. Checkpoint involves teaching students a routine for organizing. Assignment books, notebooks, book bags, and lockers are checked and organized. Most importantly, homework assignments are matched with materials needed.
Our community programs provide educational and enrichment programs to the Noble Academy community as well as the Triad community at large. As a specialized Greensboro private school, Noble Academy uses Systematic Multi-sensory Instruction Language Experience (SMILE), which is an intensive, structured, and individualized summer program that uses research based instruction to improve students’ reading and writing skills. High school online learning options for credit are offered during the summer for students who need to make up for lost credits or to get ahead in coursework. Complete diagnostic testing is available throughout the school year for all area students throughout the year. The Knight Club is our after school program for students in K – 9. Academic Coaching is a personalized one-to-one tutoring program for students ages 5 through adult. Multi-Sensory Structured Reading (MSSR) consists of remediation techniques and specialized instruction that is researched based and multi-sensory. Noble Academy Community Programs also includes workshops and speakers for parents and professionals in the community who work with students with learning differences and AD/HD.
A course organizer is developed for each class taught at Noble Academy. This routine serves as a concrete device for communicating course-planning decisions to students. We describe it as a road map for students as they travel through the course.
Our students need to know themselves clearly. What strengths do they possess? What are their weaknesses? How do strengths and weaknesses work together at school and in planning for the future? Demystification is part of knowing that “you are more than just a label.” Demystification is part of empowering our students by helping them understand themselves.
Research tells us that our students respond best to direct instruction when learning skills and concepts that are difficult. Direct instruction in writing, reading, mathematics, study skills, and strategies offer students the careful, systematic instruction they need. Such instruction increases the likelihood of student success.
Organization and Routine
A part of readiness to learn in each class is being prepared. At the beginning of every class, all students are expected to come to class prepared with materials such as pencils/pens, notebook, assignment book/planner, a book to read, textbook, and/or other materials required by individual instructors.
Every student at Noble Academy has an individualized written document called an Academic Profile. The general purpose of the AP is to provide the student’s current performance and readiness in reading, English. and math and to provide the specific accommodations and study skills/strategies needed to maximize the student’s performance. Each student’s Academic Profile is discussed in formal parent conferences in the fall and spring.
Accommodations and Modifications
Grades K – 6 are provided with standard Noble Academy accommodations as needed. Grades 7 – 12 begin to work toward using only those accommodations that the student’s psychologist and academic team have determined are needed based on the student’s specific testing and diagnosed disabilities. As students progress into high school, through high school and to college, they will be required to provide documentation of needed accommodations for testing such PSAT, SAT and ACT. Colleges only provide those accommodations that are documented. Educating the student on their specific diagnosis and teaching them to self-advocate for their accommodations is an important piece of the program.
Low Teacher-Student Ratio
A low teacher-student ratio gives us the opportunity to have greater time on task, to help each student meet his or her goals, to provide appropriate accommodations for our students, and to teach study skills, strategies, and routines that will help ensure success. Class size at Noble Academy ranges from one-to-two to one-to-ten, with the average class size being one-to-eight. The size of the class depends on the course content and the level of the students.
Multi-Sensory Structured Reading Program
Students who have more severe reading disabilities may be placed into the MSSR program. This program is based on Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, Hill Center, and Lindamood-Bell philosophy and principles and phonological coding research. It directly teaches the structure of words in the English language so that students master the coding system of reading and spelling. The program also includes sight word instruction, vocabulary, oral expressive language development and comprehension. MSSR classes are kept at two to three students.
The Perfect Notebook
Each academic team establishes rules for setting up and keeping notebooks organized. Students maintain one Perfect Notebook that includes a zipper pouch for school supplies, the Noble Academy student planner, sections for each subject, notebook paper, and other materials specific to his or her academic team.
We have devoted time and resources to professional training that is based on research supported principles and practices that effective teachers use in the classroom and in working with LD/ADD students. We are also committed to current ongoing information regarding the characteristics and development of students who have LD/ADD. Based on school improvement goals, training has focused in the following areas during the past six years:
- Strategic Instruction (Instruction focuses on how to learn and how to effectively use what has been learned – Developed by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.)
- COMP: Creating Condition for Learning (COMP identifies principles and techniques used to create more smoothly running classrooms with higher student engagement, lower incidents of misbehavior, and higher academic achievement – Developed by Vanderbilt University.)
- Wilson Reading Systems (The core system used to drive our Multi-Sensory Structured Language Reading Program- Developed by Barbara Wilson.)
Skill Building Program
An effective skill building program is vital to student development. Here at our private school in Greensboro, NC, a student-centered skill building program focuses on the development of a student’s skills in self-confidence, self-determination, social competency, disability awareness, independence, and study skills/learning strategies. Students in grades 7 through 12 participate in Skill Building activities on a daily basis. Curriculum and activities vary developmentally based on students’ ages and needs.
Utilizing and building upon strengths are important to our work with students. Likewise, affinities are very important because these are areas of interest toward which a student is drawn. While most IQ testing evaluates verbal and mathematical abilities, we know that our students possess many strengths in non-academic areas. At Noble Academy, students’ strengths are cultivated and celebrated through such activities as hands-on learning, project and problem based learning, leadership opportunities, art, drama, music, technology, community service, and physical education/sports.
Student Planner/Homework Organizer
Every student at Noble Academy is issued a student planner. The planner varies for each academic team and is tailored to the level and needs of those students. As a part of this routine students are taught how to record assignments, match assignment to materials needed, and monitor assignment completion. In the upper division, students use the planner along with Haiku (see below) to plan for long term assignments, manage time, and monitor grades in all courses. At the lower and junior high levels the student planner serves as a daily communication tool between home and school where parents see assignments as well as get the answer to the question “How was your day?”
Online Course Management System and Google Apps
Junior and Senior High students at our Greensboro private school have access to a web based venue for checking homework assignments, due dates, accessing links and valuable class resources. This resource works in conjunction with the student planner and creates a way for students and teachers to communicate outside of school in order to enrich the learning experience and prepare students for college. All students K-12 are given an account on the schools Google Apps account, which allows them access to online document storage, as well as other age appropriate services.