He came to FCA with reservations about school. He didn’t like it much. He felt like he couldn’t do what teachers were asking of him. Slowly, week by week, he started to realize that what he thought wasn’t really the case. He could do school. He was actually pretty good at it! The work was challenging sometimes, but he was excelling and his confidence started to grow. He entered class a bit reluctant, but now he knows he is smart and can do anything his teachers put in front of him, and he’s proud of himself.
Another student comes to FCA from a school where he wasn’t spending much time in the general education classroom, and when he was there, he wasn’t well-supported. He dares and he tries, and his teachers meet him where he is. They encourage him and his mother cheers him on and sits by him. Today, he is thriving in grade level classes, doing all the coursework his peers are doing, with great success and ever increasing independence.
At FCA our mission is, in part, to serve students with special needs in the full inclusion model. Inclusion means providing all reading, writing, math, study skills and behavior instruction within the general education class setting. That means full integration with scaffolded instruction.
There are many ways to do this. Our special education and general education teachers co-plan and co-teach courses and individual lessons. They work as a team to make learning accessible to all students within the general education setting.
We know that every student with a 504 or IEP is unique and has specific needs. Every child, for that matter, has learning needs that are unique to them. Our model seeks to meet those needs right in the classroom. We don’t schedule students for pull out sessions every week or separate classes with special education staff. They’re in the classroom with their peers, 100% of the time. It doesn't work for all, but that is why our school is a choice. If you choose FCA, you’re choosing inclusion.
There are many reasons to choose FCA for your child with special needs. At the Elementary level, it's the small class sizes and opportunities for project-based learning. At Middle School, it's the feeling of positive peer interactions and a safe place for academic risk-taking. At High School, it's a chance to apply learning, creating meaning and truly understand what it means to be a student and a citizen of the world. At each grade level, students’ creativity and independent thinking is encouraged. Choose FCA if you want your child challenged by high standards, inspired by open-ended learning opportunities, or if you want to witness and support your child’s learning firsthand.
We love our model, but we know that FCA is not the right fit for all. We have this one main model: Inclusion. That may or may not be what you really want for your child. It may or may not be what they really NEED. Inclusion is our philosophy.
Our philosophy in action is inspiring to observe. It looks like teachers giving students read-alouds of texts, extra time to do work, weekly emails and calls, accommodations like text-to-speech and speech-to-text. (I'm using speech to text to write this right now!) Planners and to-do lists, genuine positive feedback, and an understanding that students do well if they can and if they have the skills. Scaffolded instruction at FCA looks like teachers partnering with parents and guardians to hold students to high standards. It looks like encouraging ALL students to learn, and that taking the risk pays off. It looks like setting the bar high and providing the steps to get there.
Here, we deliver instruction differently than at many schools. Teachers collaborate regularly. Teachers learn from one another and encourage one another. Teachers share knowledge and creativity and are free to be creative with THEIR curriculum and instruction. It’s theirs, to the core. Pun intended. We do address common core standards, we just do it in a creative and unique-as-our-teachers way. We think it works really well. If you want a fully inclusive schooling experience for your child with special needs, we may be what you’re looking for!