Tailor-Made for Middle School Boys with ADHD
The Cherokee Creek Boys School learning community is designed to bring balance to a boy’s life socially, emotionally, spiritually and academically. We create an academic environment that optimizes learning for most students. Regardless of diagnosis, all of our students benefit from a classroom environment tailor-made for adolescent boys.
ADHD Boarding School: The Learning Environment
Research has shown common ground between accommodations for students with Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and learning environments that honor the ways in which boys learn.
These strategies foster the ability to pay attention and focus, and therefore are particularly helpful to ADHD students. They include: small student / teacher ratios, classrooms free of irrelevant stimuli, activity centers and pet habitats placed outside of students’ typical visual fields.
Positive Reinforcement and Mentorship
Genuine praise and encouragement are our most effective and powerful reinforcers! Small class size allows our teachers to give close supervision and immediate feedback to students to keep students on track. Multi-age classes give us ample opportunity to encourage our older students to act as mentors and peer tutors.
Teachers Who Care
One of the greatest predictors of student success is a teacher who cares. You will have to meet our wonderful staff in person to know the true warmth and talent of our teachers.
- Distractions are minimized in the classroom, with peaceful and quiet animal displays placed behind student desks.
- Our desks are not in rows, but are in circles to facilitate discussion. These seats are easily moved to create new environments appropriate for subject and work assignment.
- Our campus in the woods provides a natural and meditative setting. It is the ideal location for an ADHD boarding school.
- When a student needs a silent environment, they always have the option of working outside the classroom.
Staff Trained to Work with Individual Education Plans [IEPs]
Our Academic Dean has years of experience evaluating curriculum for students with exceptionalities. Additionally, the local School District of Oconee County provides staff to work one-on-one with students who come to CCBS with IEPs.
Preparing the Learner to Learn
We’ve listened to the experts and adapted our structured routine with the knowledge that:
- The ability to stay focused and on task for students with ADHD progressively declines over the course of the day.
- Placing physical education first in the schedule offers benefits throughout our population.
- Frequent movement keeps boys brains more active.
We hold 1-hour classes, five days a week, year-round, giving our students more contact hours than required by public education. This allows us to supplement our indoor class time with more experiential activities, field trips, outdoor classroom work and practices that all benefit ADHD learners.
Start with Exercise
John Ratey’s bestselling book, SPARK, extols the virtues of offering physical education to improve learning and to assist ADHD learners as well as those who are diagnosed with anxiety and depressive disorders. At CCBS, we begin the day with Physical Education before heading into Academic Classes for the remainder of the morning. Afternoons included therapeutic sessions, sports, time for hobbies, free time and non-academic activities.
Keep Them Moving
The movement between classes allows the boys time to stretch, move and give their brains a break. There are also classroom pets and plants which require feeding and attention. Teachers are sensitive to the boys’ needs to move and allow more alternative seating arrangements like standing, leaning, a counter versus a desk, etc.
Provide Extra Space
“Taking space” at desks outside the classroom, or sending boys off on tasks when they are feeling restless helps them return to class calmer and ready to work.
Instruction Methods to Enhance Learning
Each teacher at CCBS utilizes a variety of instructional methods to capture the attention of learners and keep class interesting. These methods include: collaborative projects; working in small groups; independent research, often inquiry-guided; writing, including plays and poetry; hands-on labs; critical thinking and discussion; games; problem-based and service learning.
- Language Arts and Social Studies employ relevant, topic-driven texts with a wide spectrum of “independent research” oriented assignments to meet the needs of the vast range of reading and writing skills in our population.
- Mathematics makes use of one-on-one instruction, setting an appropriate pace for each student by combining the Teaching Textbooks math curriculum with traditional assignments.
- Environmental Studies and Science are hands-on and project-driven. Students often work in small groups to complete labs either indoors or out. Instruction includes Socratic discussion for respectful, collaborative communication and note-taking skills for organization.
Breaking Down Tasks
Our teachers excel at breaking long-term projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. This is frequently the first accommodation written into IEPs and is simply a “best practice” for middle-school boys.
We engage boys outside in our “natural classroom” as often as possible, with lessons designed around our beautiful setting deep in the woods. The flora, fauna and creeks provide incredible opportunities for hands-on lab work — particularly in the Environmental Studies class.
Graphic organizers are used to help the boys organize their thoughts and notes, especially in Language Arts and Social Studies writing assignments.
Relevance, Interest, Novelty
We teach values, balance, making good choices using the “Lessons of the Medicine Wheel”, a foundational teaching tool of the CCBS Program. These lessons are integrated into all areas of the school… starting with the mission statement… and woven throughout the academic, clinical and counseling departments.
With this as a guiding principle, all classroom material is selected and screened for how it is relevant to students’ lives, interests and supports their journey of self-discovery.