Together, parents and teachers at Trident Academy approach students’ education collaboratively. Parents meet formally with teachers at least three times during the academic year to discuss their child’s performance in the classroom and their ability to transition into a conventional learning environment. The first conference, held in September, focuses on goal setting, understanding standards, and defining expectations. The second conference, held in January, provides an opportunity for assessing progress and revising strategies. The final conference, held in April, gives parents and teachers time to assess the year and talk about concepts to practice during the summer months.
These conferences provide a comprehensive look at each student’s individual education including cognitive test scores, curriculum, and classroom behavior. Parents are provided a folder with all information discussed as well as an opportunity to talk with the school’s psycho-educational consultant.
“We want our relationship with parents to be consultative,” Head of School Kathy Cook explains. “Using information from the classroom and test scores, we show parents the relationship between cognitive abilities and academic achievement. It makes test scores more relevant, and with all of the child’s teachers in the room, parents get a full picture of their child’s progress. We truly become partners with parents in the education of each student.”
The School for Language-Based Learning Differences
Included in the packet of information parents receive are their child’s cognitive test scores along with a bell curve of national scores. Scores shown include the WISC psycho-educational profile, as well as the following tests that are given at the beginning and end of each year at Trident Academy: the Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE), Gates Macgintie Reading Test, spelling tests, and phonological processing tests.
During the conferences, parents learn what test scores can tell them about their child’s learning. For example, a low phonological processing score explains why a child struggles to complete assignments on time. If a child’s cognitive scores are average, that child is an excellent candidate for the use of the Orton-Gillingham approach.
Also included in the packet of information are copies of the curriculum and Common Core Standards for math and language for the student’s grade level. This discussion centers on applying the test scores to what happens in the classroom. Using the test scores, teachers explain to parents why their child may struggle in certain areas. With the standards and curriculum laid out, the parents also have a full understanding of what is expected for their child both at Trident Academy, as well as at any other school using the Common Core standards. Parents can use this information to guide their decision about when their child will be ready to transition from Trident Academy.
The School for Asperger’s/HFA
Students in The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy benefit from the only program in the state of South Carolina to combine ABA therapy with the Common Core curriculum in a classroom environment. In addition to academic subjects, students benefit from a program rooted in the development of 12 core competencies. These skill sets are vital to help students with autism transition into a conventional learning environment and are: joint attention and imitation, behavior, and family environment; concept formation, play and leisure, social, motor, self-help, and community readiness skills; and receptive, expressive, and nonverbal communication.
Data on our students are collected daily by their teachers. These data create graphs and charts that communicate a student’s academic and behavioral growth in the program. Teachers discuss this information with a student’s parents during the formal parent-teacher conferences as well as behavior modification and intervention strategies. These meetings are also a time when parents and teachers can work together as a team to discuss what strategies can be implemented both at home and in the classroom to fully support the student’s growth. Families are welcome to schedule additional meetings throughout the year to discuss their child’s performance.