How Do You Give Each Child What He or She Most Needs? Ice Cream Is the Answer!

  • Curriculum
Amy Dempster

Excerpted from our newsletter: Carroll Connection, Winter 2017. In this edition, we highlighted 4 key belief statements that came from our all-staff meeting held prior to the 2016-17 school year. Read the full edition.

BELIEF STATEMENT #4: We believe that our diagnostic, prescriptive, multisensory, student-centered teaching guides our decisions about how to give each child what she or he most needs, including capitalizing on students’ strengths and addressing learning struggles. Read our belief statements.

We like ice cream here at Carroll School. Even more than that, we love metaphors. What better way to illuminate how we approach curriculum and programs than compare it to a favorite treat.

Carroll’s Triple Scoop Approach, according to Steve Wilkins, starts with a scoop of structured language and math, followed by a scoop of cognitive, and topped with a huge helping of dyslexic advantage. Holding our favorite flavors together is the cone which, in our metaphor, represents our student’s social-emotional well-being.

So how exactly do we structure a program that works for 415 students with unique learning profiles and prevents our ice cream from melting into a proverbial mess? Let’s refer back to a few words in our belief statement: diagnostic, prescriptive, student-centered.

Diagnostic and Prescriptive Education

What do these words bring immediately to your mind? An illness or medical condition? Technology perhaps? For many of you, it’s not what you would immediately envision as a way to educate children.

When you put these two things together using the Orton-Gillingham approach, however, the result is individualized objectives and differentiated instruction. Basically, the more teachers know about each individual student’s strengths and weaknesses, the better they are able to teach that child the way he or she learns best.

Carroll School teachers are constantly assessing student’s work and adjusting instruction that inspires learning. The way the school is organized - low student:teacher ratio, flexible schedules, focus areas, etc. - allows for this individualized approach.

Student-Centered Teaching

When a school claims that their educational approach is student-centered, you may immediately think, “Well, I should hope so.” But what does being student-centered mean in practice? We can’t answer for other schools but we think we have a good handle on this at Carroll.

Our mantra - “give each child what she or he most needs” – is exactly how our educators teach. From math and language to cognitive and the arts, our curriculum is designed to address weaknesses, accentuate strengths, build social and emotional skills, and provide a happy and fulfilling school experience.

That there is the cherry on top of our ice cream - happy, confident learners.

  • Assessment
  • Curriculum
  • Give Each Child

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