Sophia Academy will staff a table at Great Philly Schools’ High School Fair on September 15-16, 2017. Eighth graders across the city will pour into the Pennsylvania Convention Center on those days to shop for high schools. None of them yet know of the gem of a school called Sophia Academy. Most won’t need us. Others will, but they won’t have heard that hope and success are close at hand. We will spend two days spreading the word about Sophia Academy–our arts-based high school for bright students with language-based learning differences. Our tag line is “multi-sensory education for learning differently.” We are convinced by both research and experience that multi-sensory education makes all the difference in the world for those who have struggled with reading or math or executive function or processing. Send your friends our way!
|Sophia Academy @ ICHS is a Christian arts-based high school serving bright students with language-based learning differences. All classes are taught using our successful multi-sensory and personalized approach. We are searching for an exceptional part-time Science teacher (Biology 2017-18) who will provide individualized and engaging instruction.
What qualifications are needed?
If interested, click here.
Looking for hope and help in educating your child with language-based learning disabilities? Sophia Academy @ ICHS hosts an open house for prospective students and parents on AUGUST 17, 2017 FROM 3:00 TO 5:00 PM. 267-577-8020
Sophia Academy@ICHS, an arts-based high school for students with language-based learning differences is now enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year. Students entering grades 9-11 are encouraged to apply.
A hands-on, multi-sensory curricula that weaves visual and performing arts into standard subjects helps students with dyslexia and dyscalculia learn well. Contact us via this website or by calling 267-577-8020.
Students with language-based learning differences have strengths that enable them to soar. One notable strength is their love of meaning-based learning. They are good at manipulating ideas and thinking deep thoughts. At Sophia Academy, we teach to this strength by engaging higher order thinking skills (H.O.T.S.). Students are taught to think and discuss effectively using the Touchstones program out of St. Johns College. On other days, they practice logic skills through puzzles, all the while using their skills to read and discuss Shakespeare.
And that’s just one small unit in one class at Sophia Academy.
What does it mean to be right-brained? How about creative? Sees in pictures? Expert in visual-spatial relations?
Here are other ways students who are right-brained learn:
- They use feeling
- They are ‘Big picture’ oriented
- They understand symbols and images
- They love Philosophy and religion
- They easily grasp object function
- They dream up possibilities
- They will take risks
At Sophia Academy, we do our best to teach the way our students learn. Want to know and understand the relative scale of the earth-moon size and distance? We let others read about it in a book. We will “guess” which ball best represents the earth and the moon.
Once we guess and discuss, we need to see if we are right. We use the math we learn in the morning to help us figure out the diameter of each ball from the circumference that we measured. Which two balls have the ratio closest to that of earth and moon? It turns out it was the basketball and the baseball.
Then we have to figure out how far apart they are. If the earth is a basketball and the moon is the baseball, what distance best represents their true distance? After class discussion, we decided 3-4 feet. Were we right? Ask a Sophia Academy student for the answer.
Do students with dyslexia or other language-based learning differences really learn better with field trips? At Sophia Academy, we say Yes! We have smart students who can take apart a bike and put it back together again blindfolded but who struggle to make meaning from text. They are right-brained, good at manipulating visual-spatial data, instead of left-brained. Unfortunately, most schooling demands left-brained tasks like handling temporal data.
Because we believe that students should get practice in integrating information through both hemispheres of the brain, students at Sophia Academy take frequent field trips to solidify their learning.
When studying medieval history, 9th graders traveled to a local labyrinth to practice walking the maze as if they were medieval monks. Our study of romanesque and gothic architecture took us to some of the finest examples of this style of building in the Philadelphia area. Since it is not enough to learn plate tectonics or the rock cycle from a book, our latest field trip took us to the Wissahickon Valley for a hike through geologic time. Students climbed on some of the oldest rock on earth (Baltimore Gneiss), inspected garnets trapped in rock, felt the difference between talc and surrounding magnetite, identified rock folds and outcrops, and were thrilled to find out that dynamite is used to quarry huge blocks of granite. Using their bodies and their hands to make sense of geology, students will better remember lessons on plate tectonics, rocks, and weathering.
Students with Language-based learning differences (LBLD) have spent years feeling and believing that they will not measure up to their peers. Because school is usually set up for regular-learning, left brain students, our smart students may not realize that they have amazing gifts.
- Did you know that an astounding percentage of entrepreneurs have dyslexia?
- Did you know that students with LBLD have superior cognitive skills? Problem solving, critical thinking, and thinking outside the box are particular strengths of kids with dyslexia.
- Do you have a child who thinks in 3-D? It’s amazing to see what these children with superior visual-spatial skills can create “out of their heads.” They can design and build something without blueprints.
Encourage your child with dyslexia to dream big dreams, for a future engineer, a future architect, or even a future pilot is sitting right now at your dinner table.
At Sophia Academy, we understand that the brain is plastic. We can train our brains to think better, think faster, and make new connections. Research shows that certain activities actually lead to physical changes in the brain such as the growth of new brain cells and their connections in the very parts of the brain that are crucial to memory and typical learning activities.
Something as simple as positive self talk will cause the brain to grow. Students need to be trained to say: “I can do better.” Rather than giving up in frustration when work is hard, we encourage students to embrace potential failure as an adventure.
What else works?
- Trusting instincts–we encourage students to courageously speak out their first thoughts.
- Focusing on comprehension over speed–our Strategic Reading class gives students a wide choice of interesting material to work with while shoring up reading strategies and skills.
- Physical activity several hours after learning something new–walking fast, shooting hoops, races in PE class, skateboarding after school will all work to solidify the memory.
- Active kinesthetic learning: Whether they sing the math facts, act out the funeral scene from Julius Caesar or dance a poem, students at Sophia Academy are growing brain cells.
At Sophia Academy, we continue to search for new ways to fund research-driven strategies for brain growth. Whether using online websites based on Carol Dweck’s growth mindset or adaptive technology, we are pursuing brain growth for all our students.
ICHS and Sophia Academy are now offering both breakfast and lunch courtesy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Because of our school location, great food is provided free of charge for all students. Love hoagies? Pick one up on Thursday! How about Tuna Salad sandwich and an apple? No problem.
Why is our breakfast and lunch program so important? Studies show that student brains are sluggish and unable to process new material well unless students have sufficient calories. Every student that skips breakfast is hurting his chances of learning during the day. With fruit and a bagel in the morning, however, that whole slope-intercept formula will make more sense.