About Athena Academy

Athena Academy is a non-profit educational institution established in 2010, devoted to educating dyslexic and twice exceptional children, grades 1 - 8. The school is located on a spacious campus in Palo Alto, near Stanford University.

Athena uses a blend of teaching methods, based on the latest neuroscience and educational research, which builds on the dyslexic student's natural, picture-oriented learning style. The individualized, project based education program teaches to each child's strengths and gifts, accelerating learning for the widest range of dyslexic students.

  • 1 to 6 ratio of teachers to students in the elementary school and 1 to 8 in the middle school.
  • Small, calm classrooms with an average of 6 students (elementary) or 8 students (middle) in the room with one teacher.
  • A unique blend of teaching methods: advanced Visual-Spatial methods combined with traditional sequential and phonics-based methods to address the areas of weakness.
  • Challenging classes in Advanced Science, Social Studies, History, Art, Technology, and Performing Arts to develop the students strengths and gifts.
  • Teachers with excellent backgrounds and talent who receive in-depth training and ongoing professional development to enable them to provide outstanding education for dyslexic learners.

What's Different About Athena Academy

We are stretching the boundaries of dyslexia education in order to do the best job possible to teach children with dyslexia to know and use their brain’s strengths to overcome their difficulties in learning, and to excel.

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We Offer More

We provide powerful Visual-Spatial teaching methods which the latest research shows are the way dyslexics learn best [1],[2]. These methods include Kinetic Modeling in clay, Symbol Mastery, Trigger Word Mastery, Structured Word Inquiry, Woodin Math and Visual Math. Most Dyslexia schools only offer phonics-based methods for reading (Slingerland, Orton Gillingham, Wilson Fundations, Lindamood Bell, Barton), while we merge these different approaches in a method that accelerates learning for the widest range of dyslexic learners.

Our school is academically rigorous and stimulating.  Dyslexic children are capable of great academic success when taught the way they are meant to learn. We track our students according to grade level equivalencies.  We focus on bringing our students up to and above their grade level in all core subjects.

Twice-Exceptional

Many students have very high IQs and also struggle with different aspects of learning.  These students are often referred to as 'twice-exceptional.'  Our program, built with an understanding of students with a high IQ and processing or language-based challenges, is able to support student's strengths and areas of need.
Project Based Learning
By offering our students the opportunity to engage in project-based learning, driven by engaging unique questions, they are able to delve into complex topics that challenge the gifted learner's curiosity, creativity, and diverse interests.
Social Emotional Learning
Our focus on social emotional learning supports the specialized needs of the gifted student.  Many gifted people can be highly sensitive, deeply empathic, or have a strong sense of justice. Our twice-exceptional students can also experience large emotions when their challenges get in the way of them doing the level of work they know they can.  Working with them to understand the neuroscience of emotions, build communication and advocacy skills, and support perspective taking allows them to learn to navigate the social and academic world.
Flexible Grouping
With multi-age classes based on student readiness, we are able to group students in math and language arts classes based on data rather than age.  This allows us to meet the, often asynchronous, academic needs of the twice-exceptional student.
Electives
All students have the opportunity to participate in arts electives on a regular basis.  Elementary students regularly have drama, general music, makerspace, and art.  Middle school students choose their arts elective - middle school play, speech and debate, photography, tech, art, band, digital music, and makerspace.

Social Emotional Learning

Social emotional learning is an important part of our program at Athena Academy.  Our SEL program is developed specifically for dyslexic children.  Instead of just teaching one class in it, we also integrate the lessons into classes throughout the day. Group projects involve active integration of social skills; Art projects may include internal reflection and emotional awareness; our Performing Arts class facillitates social and emotional expression.  PE and Recess time are prime opportunities for our Social Emotional Learning instruction. By integrating this piece throughout our school, we build a strong community for our children.

This is the Athena program, unique to our school.

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A Laboratory School for Dyslexia

Athena Academy is a laboratory school, committed to identifying, developing, validating, and sharing the most effective methods to enable dyslexic learners, grades 1-8 to realize their potential. At Athena Academy we employ advanced teaching techniques indicated by the latest brain research.

Our Curriculum

While the primary emphasis is mastery of reading and math, there is full coverage of all other subjects.   We provide Science, Social Studies, and History based on California school standards.  Athena Academy also offers an advanced science program taught by a physicist from SLAC since dyslexic children are generally very good at science. We have no homework through 5th grade, because the teachers do the work with the children during our extended class day, which goes until 3:25 daily.

Great Campus

Athena Academy is located on a spacious  campus on San Antonio Avenue near Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, with plenty of playground space for P.E. and recess.  We have a beautiful auditorium and stage for Music, Art, Drama, and assemblies, as well as a second full auditorium which is utilized as a Maker-space and Music room. It is an ideal environment to foster the learning of these bright children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] Linda Silverman, PhD, “Upside Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner”.

[2] Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., PhD, Associate Prof of Psychiatry, UCSF, and Visiting Professor, Stanford. Pub in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010.