As a school, our focus is independent academic success as well as social, emotional and independence skills. Our goal for ALL students is to get them, if at all possible, to a place where they do not need this small supportive environment and can move on to larger more traditional settings ― be that another private or public school, vocational program or real choice in living situation and work as an adult.
We are an academic school based setting. We do not do floor time or ABA or other therapeutic programs. We use differentiated teaching, allowing the teachers to pick the programs that work for them and their individual students to help them advance academically as much as we possibly can. We follow the State standards and adjust to the student’s individual academic level within the standards for LA, reading and math. Science and social studies are adjusted as needed based on individual reading levels and ability to access the content.
Each student is an individual. Our goal is high but reasonable expectations. Our environment allows for the most individualized academic program possible while still having the students in a school setting. We want our students to feel the success and self-esteem that comes from seeing they CAN do it on their own. This means you should expect to see a lower academic level, especially in the beginning. We would rather see our students working on a lower academic level independently (totally without prompts or support from the teacher) than working on a higher level with our help. Students are stretched to higher levels with support from the teacher with the focus being on what they can do on their own as this builds their self-confidence. This self-confidence allows the students to WANT to do higher and higher level academics and supports the ability in the long run to be in a more traditional learning environment that requires a greater level of independence to access the student’s academic abilities.
Collaboration between home and school is the foundation of success for all of our students. Email is used regularly as a way to communicate with parents and keep us all on the same page. This allows for consistency between home and school which allows for greater progress for the student.
Our expectation is that all students will progress to the next level. We do not know how long it will take to get to the next level, or how long it will take before the student is ready to move on to that more traditional setting as each student has different needs, but the expectation that they can and will continue to learn and grow is always there.
Co- Founders Stefanie Smith and Maya Mehanna worked together for years while Maya tutored Stefanie’s son, Ben. They often wished to start their own program and in 2008 their wish became a reality. Alexsander Academy opened doors the first year for the 2008-2009 school year. The hope was to have a program that saw each student as an individual and as a child first — not as his or her disability. Ten years later, Alexsander Academy has thrived with this philosophy, helping so many children and families along the way.
In Memory of Alexsander Smith
Alexsander Academy is named in honor of Stefanie’s nephew, Alexsander Riley Smith, who died at the age of twenty-three during Christmas time in 2003. He had ADHD and was in special education classes while growing up. He was very close to Stefanie’s son and had a strong affinity for children with special needs.