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Joy Wood on the Roberts Academy Mission

The mission for the new Roberts Academy is to prepare students with dyslexia to achieve academic success through dynamic educational programs. Academic programming is indeed important, but it is also important that we create a dynamic and healthy culture where our students develop the confidence in themselves to reach their full potential. My vision for the new Roberts Academy is to have a huge “smile quotient.” This term comes from an article written by a high school principal, Tom Hoerr. Mr. Hoerr states, “a smile not only expresses a positive and happy emotion, but it also influences a positive emotional experience. When a smile quotient in a school is high, it means that people generally enjoy being there; they are confident in their role and anticipate success; and they encounter others with a warm and welcoming attitude.” As cliché as it may sound, Roberts Academy will be a happy place where kindness, grace and gratitude are modeled by teachers and students having an unconditional regard for all. Please understand a high smile quotient does not mean that school is easy for either students or staff. It does mean that people are engaging in meaningful and relevant activities, that they trust others around them to look out for their interests, and that learning is taking place.

At Roberts Academy:

  • Students will be the focus and center as we create a safe, innovative and positive learning environment where we encourage risk taking and where it is OK to make mistakes. Mistakes lead to a better understanding and is where true learning occurs.
  • Students will feel confident and empowered by their learning and knowledge as they truly understand and embrace their dyslexia, realizing it is a gift and a true superpower! At school we will celebrate and encourage the strengths of their superpowers.
  • Self- advocacy, independent learning skills and encouragement of each other will be at the forefront as our students develop true respect for their classmates.

Roberts Academy will seek a professional community of faculty and staff who possess and exhibit the following traits:

  • They are positive and have a true passion for the school’s mission
  • They are open and honest communicators who respect shared leadership
  • They value innovation and collegiality
  • They trust each other and genuinely value the opinions of others
  • They have a growth mindset and are always willing to learn more
  • They naturally model the optimistic and supportive behaviors they will expect from our students
  • They truly understand the complexities of the dyslexic child and continually seek new ways to teach using multi-sensory resources
  • They are committed to inspire joy in learning

The faculty will become trained and certified in the Orton-Gillingham approaches of teaching.

Together, as an entire school, we will begin each day with a positive morning message of gratitude and morning exercise. A positive start to the day with exercise is essential and extremely beneficial giving the brain fuel and energizing the students for the day’s instruction and learning. Reading will be the first academic class of each day using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Our students will enjoy the systematic and diagnostic teaching as they grow more and more confident in their ability to understand the structures of morphemes and phonemes while mastering their reading skills.

After reading instruction, the students will be ready for a short exercise break before moving on to math, language arts, science and social studies instruction.
Ideally all core academics will be taught prior to lunch, while having recess and exercise breaks throughout the day.

The Roberts Academy will utilize the fine arts/enrichment resources of Mercer University. We know fine arts are important in the daily life of any child and especially a child with dyslexia.

We will end the school day together as we recognize and celebrate the brain explosions, “aha!” moments, and thinking outside the box moments that took place during class on that day.  It is true joy to witness the dyslexic student discovering their own capabilities and potential for success. It is very important that our students finish/complete their school day on a positive note and hopefully a huge smile on their face.