In the Upper School, we believe that by applying proven, research-based methods and approaches--in a supportive, nurturing environment--bright students with learning challenges can achieve present and future success.
Our overarching goal for students who complete the Upper School program is for them to be ready for the challenges of college and other postsecondary programs.
To this end we build and refine academic skills with students. Strong areas of focus in the upper school include reading fluency and comprehension, expository writing (from sentence level to essays), math skills, and critical thinking skills. Our expectations of our students are high and our course content is consistent with a strong college preparatory curriculum – but with a patient pace that allows for extra time devoted to remediation and skills-building. Academic skills are addressed across the curriculum, which includes a language arts course specifically focused on reading and writing for all students in grades 9-11.
We also teach and model compensatory strategies across the content areas for navigating a rigorous curriculum. For example, we provide audio for all assigned text and show how students can use audio while reading to increase comprehension and complete assignments more thoroughly, accurately and efficiently. We model note-taking strategies for different kinds of text. We embed instruction about the structure of language so that students begin to recognize language conventions for better comprehension. We show how students can use writing templates for better organization and precision. As students proceed through our program, they recognize which strategies are most useful for them and are able to take greater ownership of their learning.
Elective offerings also build skills and allow for students to pursue specific interests and demonstrate strengths. Our Arts program fosters creativity and has been an avenue toward future studies and careers in fine arts, photography, ceramics, fabrication and design, culinary arts, music, and other arts-related areas. Academic electives such as robotics, creative writing, and sociology/psychology contribute to a well-rounded and engaging course of study.
To ensure our teachers are able to use a variety of teaching strategies to best suit student needs, DVFS maintains small class sizes throughout the curriculum. Language Arts and math classes are grouped by ability and learning styles while the sciences and humanities are larger classes grouped by grade level.
Delaware Valley Friends School welcomes students in grades 3 - 12 with learning differences, particularly in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), memory (long-term and working), processing speed, ADHD and executive functioning challenges.