Students come to Parkmont looking for more help — more help in school, more individualized teaching at the pace and level that suits the student, more opportunity to explore things they want to learn, and sometimes more of an opportunity to escape the world of special education.
They're in search of another shot at succeeding in school academically, being accepted socially, and working collaboratively with adults who know and care about them. They want to prepare for college, or possibly return to their neighborhood high school. In some cases they want to "get back on track" after challenging life episodes that may have derailed their course in school.
There is no "typical" Parkmont student. Helping them find their own path to success often involves grappling with these challenges that demand individual attention and unique solutions:
- Students who have fallen through the cracks and are not achieving their full potential. They may also be suffering from lack of confidence.
- Bright students who have learning disabilities or other learning challenges, and will benefit from a smaller school setting and teachers who know their strengths and weaknesses.
- ADHD and attention and executive function challenges benefit from the remarkable structure and individual support of our program.
- Anxiety, depression, emotional instability, sometimes resulting in school attendance difficulties and/or erratic school performance, are encouraged by the intimate size of our community, continuity of adult relationships and on-going conversation.
- Work completion and processing speed issues, producing frustration that leads to a persistent "what is the point of this" attitude that wears out parents in the evening are dealt with through supportive efforts from an experienced staff constantly trying new approaches to engage students and improve their sense of accomplishment.
- Stressful family issues around adoption and connectedness. Families challenged by dislocations and breakups often using Parkmont as a safer haven, where academic progress can continue while other issues get worked out.
- Students "on the spectrum," often best at communicating with adults, and who appreciate our simpler social environment while they pursue interests and talents that can shape their futures.
- Home-schooled students looking for a more creative and flexible place to start or restart school-based education.
- Older students trying to finish and "clean up" a choppy or interrupted conventional school experience to become college-ready.
While we don't have one type of student, the range of students who've sought our help during the past forty years has been consistent. Today, they may have more labels, and we have more information about their learning styles, strengths, and challenges. But we and they have become leery of being “boxed in” by the language of disability. We've become progressively more expert about working with a variety of learners, and we have resisted the notion that our students should be segregated in school by label or difference.