Life at Athena
Athena Academy serves students with dyslexia and visual-spatial strengths and twice exceptional students in grades 1 - 8. Many students with dyslexia also have diagnoses of ADHD, APD, and expressive or receptive language challenges. We are able to serve students with these concurrent diagnoses, but are unable to fully meet the needs of students with more severe or complicated profiles. All students in our program have dyslexia. We are able to help some families with Educational/Psychological testing for your child if you haven’t completed this yet.
Our curriculum and program strives to inspire the students to explore areas of interest to them and to take an active part in their education. We do this through allowing student choice as often as possible, from books they read, to topics they write about, to the way they present what they have learned. This creates a learning environment where the education and what each student is working on can be highly individualized.
Our teachers design learning experiences for the students that build not only fundamental academic skills, but also executive functioning, self-awareness, and self-advocacy skills. These are essential pieces to our program and are woven throughout all classes that the students take. You can find out more about our program approach by visiting our Academics page.
A TYPICAL DAY
What does a typical day look like at Athena Academy?
8:30 – 8:55
Homeroom Learning Community (HLC) Morning Meeting
8:55 – 10:15
Targeted Instruction Block – Math or Language Arts
10:15 – 10:35
10:35 – 11:55
Targeted Instruction Block – Math or Language Arts
11:55 – 12:40
12:40 – 3:25
Afternoons are divided into blocks rotating through; Art, Music, Technology, PE, Social Emotional Learning, Drama, and Integrated Science and Social Studies
Athena Academy uses a Project Based Learning approach which is all about engaging learners in authentic problem solving. For a final science project, students explored the question “How can we use renewable sources of energy to reduce the electricity the school uses from the power grid?” Students chose one of three “Energy Groups” to work in. Each group focused on building a different type of renewable energy source: solar panels, wind turbines, or a human powered bike generator. Along with their focus area, students also studied how circuits work, how electricity is generated, how batteries work, and the pros and cons of various energy sources. Ultimately, students were able to charge school iPads with power generated by the wind turbines they constructed, power a pencil sharpener with the solar panel circuit they put together, and were able to generate enough energy on the bike generator they built to power the classroom TV!
Students investigated the question, “Where is math in art?” In order to explore this question, students worked in groups to build a harmonograph, a mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to draw an artistic geometric image. Through building the harmonograph and experimenting with the height ratios of the pendulums, students practiced a variety of mathematical concepts.
PAM CRAIN, SCHOOL MANAGER
Pam is an extraordinary member of our staff who connects with everyone on campus. She not only takes care of front office responsibilities and communication with parents and families, but she also ensures teachers and students are thriving and successful every day, no matter the circumstances. Pam’s not-so-hidden talent is creating songs to make announcements (some classics include “Clorox wipes” and “Get your gum in the trash”).
Here’s what Pam says about Athena Academy.
- What makes Athena Academy special is 100%, the staff! I have never worked with such an incredible group of people. Our teachers are some of the most caring, compassionate, patient, and inclusive people on the planet, and it shows in the connections they create with our students. They really get to know each of our kids and create bonds that often continue long after they leave Athena.
- The most memorable moments I have from working at Athena Academy tend to come from the parents. I've heard so many stories about how Athena Academy has changed not only their child's, but their entire family's lives. I remember one parent mentioning how when they used to pick up their kid from school, and ask how their day was, they never wanted to talk about school and were lucky to get a "fine" out of them. But once they started at Athena Academy, they literally couldn't get them to stop talking about their day and the things they learned in class! There are also countless, heartbreaking, stories of these brilliant kids made to feel inadequate or thought of as "lazy," and eventually just completely shutting down and becoming sullen and withdrawn. But after coming to Athena Academy the kids feel like they finally have a teacher that "gets them," and peers that learn the way they do, so they don't feel like the "odd one out." So many parents have told me that they feel like they've "gotten their child back," since beginning at Athena Academy.
LINDA LAU, CLASSROOM TEACHER and TRANSITION COORDINATOR
Ms. Lau is a classroom teacher that has been teaching at Athena Academy since 2014. She is known for creating math games and songs. She also aids student families in creating a smooth transition as they prepare for the next step in their child’s academic career after attending Athena Academy.
Here’s what Linda says about Athena Academy:
What makes Athena Academy special is the community that is accepting of who you are - as a student, parent, or teacher. Our community recognizes you and celebrates how unique your child is. Students are able to relax and be who they are and have their own interests. Parents can come to us with what they have been through. As teachers, we are open to each having their own style and working together to support each other. THere is an allowance for everyone to be creative - students and teachers. We celebrate each individual and help each person be the best version of themselves. There is no one they have to be here.
About transitioning to the next academic setting:
To prepare graduating students for their next academic setting, we have a variety of activities for students and families. We provide a checklist of recommended tasks per month for our 8th graders, we organize a parent panel with some of our former families to discuss frequently asked questions, we provide support with all the needed documents, including a list of accommodations for each student, updated IEP plans, letters of recommendation and working with the district for transition plans as needed. Each family has different needs when it comes to transitioning schools and we are here to provide whatever level of support feels right.