Recently a grandfather of a student who attended Groves Academy for six years sent a note thanking the school for its supportive classroom instruction that he felt greatly contributed to his grandson’s successful transition to a public school. He mentioned in his note that Groves’ teaching process seemed to re-wire a part of his grandson’s brain, positively impacting his ability to learn, understand and enjoy classroom instruction.
Science confirms what this grandfather observed. With evidence-based, best practice instruction the brain’s neural pathways can be re-wired to influence a person’s ability to learn. This is called brain plasticity. Research also strongly supports the positive influence of brain plasticity on those with a learning disability or attention issues. Groves Academy meets its mission of providing transformative learning experiences to children with dyslexia, ADHD or other executive functioning challenges through its consistent use of evidence-based research, including what we know of the brain’s plasticity.
We recognize that children with learning disabilities are equipped and capable of reaching their full potential both in and out of the classroom. We extend this belief beyond our school through our Learning Center which provides diagnostic services to Groves’ students and to children throughout the Twin Cities community.
In 2016, Groves launched a new initiative to bring our proven literacy instruction to K-3 classrooms across the Twin Cities Metro area. With the success of training and coaching an increasing numbers of teachers to deliver evidence-based literacy instruction came the realization that the academic needs of children with a learning disability were not being met. This is a reality that Groves cannot walk away from, but we also know that creating a solution will take commitment and collaboration from both us and our partner schools.
As a start, we now provide our diagnostic services to the low-income children identified by our partner schools as needing additional support. We are grateful to the Johnson Scholarship Foundation for supporting this much needed service. Groves holds as its vision to redefine the way our nation is taught, one student, one teacher and one school at a time. It is a vision that acts as our compass as we work towards bringing true equity to the education of children with learning disabilities. Equity that brings the best of what research is telling us and applies it individually to each child so that they recognize their strengths in being successful in the classroom and beyond.
Lynn Giovannelli is Director of Advancement at Groves Academy, a 501c3 educational institution. Its school is focused on building confidence, success and purpose for over 280 students with learning disabilities. The Learning Center extends Groves’ mission to children and families who do not attend the school by offering diagnostic testing, tutoring, speech services and summer programming. The Institute for Professional Learning shares Groves’ evidence-based literacy instruction with elementary schools in the community to help close the literacy achievement gap.