our approach to learning
Students at TGS love to learn…about life, the universe, and everything. Many have amassed encyclopedic knowledge of special interest topics that they’re eager to share. Instead of shutting down these highly engaging “rabbit trails,” we harness them to help students learn and practice important skills. Students’ enthusiasm for their interests, teachers’ passion for their subject matter, and our support team’s powers of observation join forces in the TGS classroom, resulting in dynamic learning experiences that meet students’ individual and collective learning needs.
Staff at TGS also love to learn…about our students! Before students even start the school year, our staff spends hours listening to and learning about each student and family. They review student strengths and interests, and identify ways to incorporate these into the curriculum and throughout the school day. Staff join students for all daily activities including lunch and breaks, which allows them to develop the trusting relationships required to foster authentic student growth and learning.
Our Individual Education Quest (IEQ) helps students shape their identity, hone their intellect, gain the interaction skills they’ll need to engage in meaningful relationships, and practice the independence skills they’ll need to hold a job and live independently.
Our academic program includes courses in the sciences and humanities. Guided by student interests, our courses cover the basics and beyond, and regularly incorporate community-based and active learning experiences. Students meet in classes of four to eight, supported in their explorations by a subject-matter teacher and a member of our student support team. Classes are multi-age, with differentiation as needed to accommodate student strengths and learning profiles. In addition to math, science, social studies, and language arts, our academic program provides direct instruction in executive function skills so that students are well-prepared to take the next steps on their educational journeys.
Because there is life after high school, TGS provides a socio-academic curriculum. Daily socio class content is guided by student needs and input. We teach social communication, executive function, and relationship development through an academic lens, and encourage students to question the “why” behind any social topic we’re discussing. We make explicit the “soft skills” that underlie academic achievement, providing instruction and accommodation as needed to help students bridge the social gap between academic and workplace success. Think you “know it all” about a particular socio topic? Try sharing your interests and experiences as a socio discussion leader!
Should I go straight to college, or take a gap year? What about community college or trade school? How do I know if college is for me? For adolescent students and their families, these are the right questions to be asking! At TGS, we provide volunteer, internship, and college experiences that help students explore these questions while gaining skills that will help them succeed in a variety of post-secondary contexts. For the college-bound student, we provide standardized testing with accommodations and individualized college counseling. Using what we’ve learned together, we work to help students find a college or work environment that will meet their needs as they leave TGS.
Sometimes we all need a little extra support, or encouragement, or a listening ear. TGS’ Student Support team includes caring professionals from a variety of mental health and behavior support backgrounds. Led by our Socio-Academic Program Director, they collaborate closely with our teaching faculty to support academic learning and ensure that students’ social-emotional needs are met. They also serve as guides and problem-solvers to encourage family engagement in the school community. Support team members facilitate individual breaks from class when needed and are available to meet with students weekly, or as concerns arise. Through these meetings they build trusting relationships that help students develop the confidence to advocate for their needs at TGS and beyond.
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