Constellation Schools: Outreach Academy for Students with Disabilities is a unique program among traditional schools through the programming we offer for students with low incidence disabilities. For over 10 years, Outreach Academy has served students with severe cognitive and physical disabilities and children who are medically fragile.
Outreach Academy allows for a holistic and accommodating approach to the education of exceptional children. Students are offered the highest degree of individual attention and flexibility to adjust to personal needs. The Outreach Academy program was designed to provide an educational choice for parents and students. We welcome our parents as partners and invite them to be actively involved in their child's education.
Presented as part of the Outreach Academy curriculum, students are offered flexible 9-month or 12-month schedules, technology instruction, occupation/physical/speech therapies as well as related services; such as, Adaptive Physical Education (APE), art, music, multi-sensory integration and hydrotherapy. In addition, the curriculum incorporates content, concepts, and activities that foster cognitive, language, physical, and social/emotional development through the integration of multiple disciplines. Each student's educational outcomes and responses to curriculum are detailed in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These plans reflect the Ohio Learning Standards-Extended to provide access to all curriculum area through modifications of grade-level content standards.
Students who are preparing to graduate receive training to participate in school, community and vocational settings to prepare for the life after high school. During the transition into adult programs, students ages 14-22 explore relevant in-house vocational activities and community settings with the support of staff members.
Outreach Academy also focuses on the use of technology to enhance independence. Students connect with the curriculum through a variety of therapeutic and technological interventions. Integrated learning environments incorporated specialist from different disciplines within the classroom. Since many students require specialized medical care or specialized intervention, they benefit from instruction in a variety of locations (i.e. mat table, pool, or utilizing therapy equipment.) Consequently, interdisciplinary teams provide educational service wherever the students learns best. It is this emphasis in the unique needs of our students, the extensive use of adapted technology, and an integrated team approach that makes are program unique.
What is Active Learning?
Active Learning revolves around the learner being active. Because learners with disabilities take so long to respond, most people feel compelled to supply the active quality to their interactions. That is, initiate, guide their hands, or help them. This, however, is the crucial element. Any action by a teacher that
supplies the active element for the learner robs the learner of the vital essence of learning to do something independently.
When sharing something new, the first reaction of a typical child is to play with the item himself. Adults naturally recognize learning requires the learner to actually try it and do it himself. Learners with disabilities are not always given these opportunities. Generally, a "hand over hand" approach for children with disabilities produces both a negative reaction and increased passivity.
Virtually every form of therapy and education is implemented with a low threshold of tolerance for inaction.
While typical children can easily engage in an activity independently, learners with disabilities are seldom left to their own devices for any significant amount of time. Or, they are left in non-learning places (literally left in a
corner) with materials they cannot productively engage in. Active Learning is based on creating optimal environments for learners to actively learn on their own.
The essential active learning principal is to create an environment that gives feedback and support to the learner so that he can take action on his own to initiate learning. It may take a lot of trust to allow a learner with
a disability to be on his own and apparently not be accomplishing anything. However, allowing time for self-exploration is crucial to learning.
The basic principles involved in designing the Active Learning environments are:
- Feedback - The environment must supply strong responses in multiple modes (auditory, tactile, visual,
- Support - The child must be supported so to be comfortable.
- Richness - Related to feedback, the environment must be thick with objects so that minor actions are rewarded with feedback.
- Variety - However rich and responsive the environment is, it must be changed periodically.
**Active Learning information obtained from Dr. Lilli Nielsen, PhD.
See LilliWorks.com for more information**
All Constellation Schools are public schools with no tuition. They are privately run, proud leaders of Ohio’s charter schools, offering a choice in education for thousands of Ohio’s families.