Due to the overwhelming success of our remote learning program during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years we are making the online academy a permanent part of our academic offerings. Athena Online Academy is open to students throughout the United States. Online school hours will be Pacific Time.
Athena’s commitment to providing an exceptional education for dyslexic students continues with our online educational program.
The individual attention each student needs is addressed in a virtual world where classes, teacher collaboration, and staff communication converge to continue the mission of the school. The low teacher to student ratio and the commitment of the teachers are key factors in the success of our online program.
The full-time online program maintains the successful Athena Academy core features of:
- Small class sizes, 6-10 students, that enable on-demand individualized attention.
- Teachers that are trained, experienced, and successful in dyslexic education.
- A multi-sensory teaching approach with a focus on mastering broad concepts.
- Focusing on teaching to dyslexic student strengths to build on success.
- Project-based learning incorporated across all disciplines allowing for students to build executive functioning skills through practical application.
- A comprehensive and coordinated academic approach to dyslexia across subject areas.
- Teachers working to determine each student’s learning style, progress, and areas where additional support might be necessary.
- Frequent communication with parents to relay progress, identify issues, and provide a very high level of support.
- Students learn the use of appropriate accommodations and learning strategies, and how to advocate for their needs.
- Live classes meet regularly on specific days and times.
- Additional practice and exploration assignments are created and delivered to the students to work independently on subjects, skills, and provide continuity of instruction.
- Advanced use of online video conferencing and technology tools to fully support student achievement in class and at home.
- Breakout rooms and regularly scheduled weekly 1:1 meetings support students having individualized targeted support. They also support collaboration among students during project work.
- Additional tools used (i.e. document cameras) to allow teachers real-time observation of each student’s work.
Teacher Support & Training
The teaching faculty at Athena are experienced professionals with specific knowledge in the education of dyslexic students. Teachers go through required training for teaching online and learn best practices specific to Athena’s approach. Regular sessions are scheduled throughout the academic calendar specifically for teachers to share lessons learned, best practices, and offer a forum to introduce new approaches. The faculty is encouraged to collaborate as each of them is forging new trails in the world of online learning for dyslexic students.
Every student is given tools for developing a robust social and emotional foundation. SEL is embedded in all instruction on campus. Students are actively engaged in topics related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. From morning meetings to daily check ins and throughout all content areas, students are encouraged to engage authentically and to advocate for what they need to help create their best learning environment.
Our SEL specialist works weekly with each group supporting their growth with mindfulness practices, recognition and communication of academic and personal needs, and the skills for building positive relationships. At the middle school level the groups engage in conversations that address problem-solving strategies, stereotypes, body image, social media, and other relevant topics. These classes are co-taught with the homeroom teachers in order to ensure a common language and understanding of the development of the students.
Our project-based learning approach helps students to build their executive functioning skills of flexible thinking, working memory strategies, and self-control. Working through the project cycle requires students to think through a plan, by breaking down the project into smaller chunks, putting together a plan and adjusting the plan along the way to overcome any challenges that arise. This approach also requires the students to reflect on their work and progress regularly and to build the needed skills to adjust and adapt.
Students are able to select from different electives throughout the year in order to foster their creativity. Elective options include general music, introduction to theatre, digital music, 2d art, drama, speech and debate, 3d art, computer programming, photography, and game design.
Online Classroom Tools
The online classroom is enabled by technology specific to the educational environment. The school uses the Google Apps for Education platform to enable the distance learning paradigm. This environment eases the integration of facilities needed for students to attend classes, submit work, get special help, communicate with teachers, collaborate with classmates, receive lesson plans, and a host of other functions required for school success. The Google Apps integrate seamlessly together so that students are able to navigate the online learning environment.
This application is used by teachers to make assignments, share information, distribute class content, and track progress. Students use Google Classroom to work on material, submit assignments, track progress, and manage their workload.
This is the video conferencing utility for live classrooms. The tool supports live classrooms for all students, breakout rooms for 1:1 or small group interaction. It can also be used to record support videos for teachers to explain special topics or add clarity to lesson plans or even help instruction for students and parents.
Each student has a personal google calendar which is populated with links to every class they attend. It is also used for planning assignments, setting due dates, and noting tasks assigned to them.
Students are introduced to a variety of additional apps and extensions that support their learning.
The use of Mote for voice notes - both from the student and the teacher - allows for feedback, questions, and suggestions to be given on assignments.
Read and Write supports the students with text to speech aiding their ability to edit their work and consume content written above their reading level.
The use of FlipGrid allows students to create video recordings of their work enabling them to verbally share their knowledge.
"Our son, an 8th grader at Athena Academy, has been really enjoying Athena Academy Online. He feels that no school has been able to teach to him in a way that Athena Academy does. The teachers are all wonderful and he constantly talks about how nice they all are. His confidence in school and advocating for himself has grown tremendously in the time he has attended Athena Academy. So when we moved out of the Bay Area, we were sad to have to take him out of the school. Much to our delight he was able to transition to the online academy. We are eternally grateful for how well Athena Academy staff and teachers adapted our son’s education to online school. He is able to access the full program, even enjoying being in the school play on zoom this past fall. Athena Online Academy has impressed us with their organization, tools, and ability to individualized his education to meet both learning needs and at home educational needs. If you are looking for an online school for children with special learning needs and that meets the needs of today’s children, look no further! " - middle school parent
"To say I’m amazed at how well the transition to online classes has gone would be an understatement. As each week passes I’m watching my child continue to learn and grow academically. I appreciate the hands-on approach the teachers have been able to create from a distance learning environment. It speaks volumes about the time and love that is going into Athena’s online program. THANK YOU!" - elementary school parent