Students at Delaware Valley Friends School are not defined by their learning difference. Instead, our teaching styles are defined by our students.
Building trust is the foundation of our success
Successful delivery of highly individualized teaching requires a trusting relationship between students and teachers. Our students come to understand that our teachers genuinely care about them and see the best in each and every one of them. That confidence inspires the students to begin see themselves differently. They begin to see their potential, not just their struggles, and they begin to experience success in school - maybe for the first time. That change in mindset can be transformational.
Learning how to learn, not just what to learn
We take a skills-based approach to our curriculum in both upper and middle school: We don't assume students come in with the skills to learn effectively. Rather, we assess where students are - looking for strengths to build upon as well as challenges to address - and then explicitly teach students the skills they need by breaking them into manageable chunks so that they don't have to guess at how they need to learn.
Skills are supported across the whole curriculum, not just in language arts class, or, as many mainstream students experience, through pullout programs with a learning specialist. While students may be given good strategies in a pull out tutorial, if those skills and strategies are not reinforced throughout their other classes - like history or math - they are not likely to know how to apply those tools appropriately or consistently to every subject.
Orton-Gillingham helps students who learn differently, learn best
Our teachers use an Orton-Gillingahm diagnostic and prescriptive, structured, multi-sensory approach in each and every class. Our use of the Orton-Gillingham approach allows for fluidity in our teaching approach and the ability to change as students gain ground or stagnate. We take our lead from where the student is in a given year - or even a given day - to collaboratively move the student forward at the right pace with the right approach. As students develop the skills and strategies they need to engage each subject, the pace can accelerate to match.
Integrating Assistive Technology
Technology is integrated throughout the school and curriculum. Students receive a laptop as part of their tuition, which comes loaded with programs needed for schoolwork as well as any specific assistive technology tools appropriate to their learning profile. Students use assistive technology as compensatory tools even while learning new skills, allowing them to achieve academically at their grade level while continuing to remediate difficulties.
At Delaware Valley Friends, we are aware of the utility and limits of technology, and we know how to teach students how to use it in a practical way that you don't find in a lot of schools. We help students adapt the technology to their learning instead of adapting their learning to the technology. Our students are given a lot of power to experiment with and choose the tools that serve their learning style best. Our faculty also stay abreast of all emerging technologies and even use assistive tools themselves so they can be informed and experienced coaches for students.
“It's about building on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses." - Faculty Member
"Every student feels important and is encouraged here." - DV Parent
Delaware Valley Friends School welcomes students in grades 5 - 12 with learning differences, particularly in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), memory (long-term and working), processing speed, ADHD and executive functioning challenges.