Why come to Newfound Academy?
Because of our deep commitment to the learning success of your child, our educational expertise with special education, and our personal attention to each child and family. If your child will benefit from a teacher that is knowledgeable with teaching and instruction, the scope and sequence of curricula, and a classroom that differentiates and individualizes instruction, Newfound may be a good choice for your child. Our staff is directly supervised by educational experts to assist students who may have attention difficulties, a lack of focus, or have behaviors that may interfere with learning.
What are some
activities a student might do during a typical day at Newfound Academy?
How long has Newfound been in existence?
Newfound School was founded in 2001 by Dr.Marsha Guernsey and Dr.Bill Robb. Following Dr.Robb's passing in July 2011, Newfound School became Newfound Academy to reflect the broad scope of services available to students with special learning needs. Dr.Marsha Guernsey remains the owner and director of Newfound Academy, LLC..
Is Newfound a Montessori School?
No, quite the opposite. Newfound is very teacher directed and emphasizes teacher directed activities. Direct instruction, an educational “best practice” developed by Robert Slavin at Johns Hopkins University, is one of many teaching strategies that are used. Students who are on the autism spectrum or having many other learning challenges need a structured, as opposed to, an unstructured day.
Why are classes no larger than five students?
We are proud of our class size and do this for the benefit of our students. This is to provide a maximum amount of individual attention to each learner. Research shows that reduced class size increases instructional performance.
What is your philosophy of mainstreaming/inclusion?
Newfound supports the view of Tom Higbee, Professor of Special Education at Utah State University and one of the nations prominent researchers who states:" It is difficult for children with autism to learn by observation, which is a teaching method that a lot of public schools are built around. There is no prototype of person with autism, so, effective teaching needs to be pretty customized" (Desert News, December 28, 2009). It is important to remember that
it is the teacher that sets the tone of instruction as well as modeling for students. There is no “magic” in being a large classroom
with a teacher that either cannot meet your child’s needs or prefers not
to have your child in their class. Autism expert Rebecca
Moyes states: "There is a move now to have kids with with special education
needs in the classroom, but regular education teachers aren't always trained on
how to best meet their needs." (CEC Brief, October 1, 2010). Unfortunately, as students progress
through school, many have to deal with negative peer pressure or ridicule
because of their disability in a “mainstream/inclusion” setting. Michael Pressley
in his book Reading Instruction that Works, notes the following
about mainstreaming: “By the middle elementary grades
mainstreaming means placement into a competitive classroom environment
in which failure relative to others is virtually assured for the child
with a learning difference“(p. 382).
How long will my child need to attend Newfound Academy?
It depends on your child's needs and your individual preference. Newfound offers a quality PreK-12 program. Each year a review of placement and goals is thoroughly discussed.
Which students should apply to Newfound Academy?
Newfound is for students who will benefit from a solid curriculum, individualized instruction, self paced and challenging instruction, and personalized attention.
Does Newfound provide Speech or OT?
We do not provide Speech or Occupational Therapy at Newfound so that the school day focuses entirely on academics, communication, and social skills. Our day is very structured and therapies often require students to be "pulled out" of class causing them to lose valuable instructional time. We do support collaboration with therapists and believe in a team approach however, therapy needs to be provided if needed, outside of Newfound.
What are your admissions criteria?
Each student is individually considered for Newfound. The main criteria for admission is will this student be successful at Newfound and can Newfound and the child’s parents work together to create a successful academic program.
What about extra curricular activities at Newfound?
Newfound has a dynamic student council that has donated money to the Red Cross for Haitian Relief, Autism Speaks, and the Salvation Army, collected over a thousand cans of food for the needy, written letters to our wounded soldiers, visited a nursing home, and has purchased playground equipment for our school. We offer clubs including a Spanish Club. Newfound does not have homework so that students can participate in outside activities. We believe in having a well balanced child and encourage participation in sports, scouts, church, or whatever activities are important to a child and the family. This is a great way to practice the social and communication skills that have been learned at Newfound. Parents can be confident that their child is learning everything that they need to during a school day.
Newfound has had special activities such as: Pizza Day, holiday parties (for elementary age students) guest speakers, musicals, an art show, a science fair, and other events.
Because Newfound has an open classroom arrangement does noise or distractions interfere with instruction?
No, students are taught routines and boundries within the classroom. This design does not interfere with their instruction. The open nature of the class helps staff members to assist and collaborate with each other.
What do I do next if I am interested in Newfound Academy?
1. Schedule an
interview, to include both parents, with an Executive Director of
What will I need to bring to the initial interview?
A copy of a current I.E.P., cognitive and achievement testing, medical reports and related services evaluations.
What questions will be discussed during the initial interview?
Why are you interested in Newfound Academy? What are you looking for in a school? What are your child’s needs? Who has made recommendations regarding your child’s challenges? What do you anticipate for your child’s future? How involved are you in your child’s education? What can you do as parents to support Newfound Academy?
I am looking at a variety of schools and would it be possible to visit your school?
Newfound prefers parents who are already familiar with our school based on referrals from therapists, physicians, psychiatrists, and parents of the school. We do not have a full time Admissions Director. We prefer only serious inquiries and suggest that you narrow down your preferences before coming to an interview at Newfound.
Who should I first contact about arranging an appointment for an interview?
Contact Dr. Marsha Guernsey
Feel free to call (214) 390-1749 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This site was last updated 02/05/10