Building a Community of Lifelong Learners
Mrs. Carla J. Brandt holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Barry University, a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Specific Learning Disabilities from the University of Central Florida, and a Florida Certification in Specific Learning Disabilities for grades K-12. Carla joined Willow Schools (formerly Bridges Academy) as a teacher in June 2005 and transitioned into administration in January 2007. She has been working with elementary, middle, and high school students with learning differences in both public and private education arenas since 1995. Mrs. Brandt has been working with the Fast ForWord Products since 1998 and has extensive experience using diagnostic testing to evaluate student progress and to determine appropriate curriculum to meet student needs. Additionally, she is an experienced Social Bridges™ facilitator. She is dedicated to using a collaborative approach that includes input from parents, teachers, administrators, and other professionals to meet the needs of every student.
Student Population (niche population – not varying exceptionalities)
Our student population is made up of students with diagnosed learning disabilities who have average to above average IQs. Our students learn differently and benefit from smaller class sizes and direct instruction. Willow School does not accept students whose primary disabilities are identified as Emotional, Behavioral, or Intellectual.
Sound Field Systems in Each Classroom
Each classroom is equipped with a sound field system which enhances the learning environment by filling the classroom with the teacher’s natural voice, enabling all students to hear every word.
Extended School Day Allows Daily Classes to Include Scientifically Proven Academic Interventions
All students in grades 1-12 work on this group of computer based programs that develop and strengthen cognitive skills (memory, attention, processing, and sequencing) that are essential for academic learning and reading success. Fast ForWord improves language skills and auditory processing. These computer based products are backed by 30+ years of neuroscience research and can produce a positive and lasting effect on a student’s cognitive ability to learn and read proficiently.
Learning Breakthrough Program:
All students in grades 1-12 participate in a learning strategies class daily. This class utilizes “balance remediation training” via the Learning Breakthrough Program to help boost learning performance in all areas. Balance therapy hinges on the relationship between the vestibular system (balance), the cerebellum, and several other key functional areas in the brain. By refining the relationship (integration) between these centers (via neuropath ways), learning and cognitive function can be improved at a “root” level. It is a program of balance, sensory processing, and sensory integration activities designed to help better organize the way the brain processes information.
1st-7th Grade Students – Intensive Remediation:
Students in grades 1-7 who struggle in Math and/or Reading are placed in classes according to where they are currently performing not based on their traditional grade level. This allows each student the chance to pick up any information (fill in the gaps) he/she may have missed in a more traditional classroom setting.
8th-12th Grade Students – Grade Level Academics with Accommodations:
All 8th-12th grade students are exposed to grade level academics throughout the day. Students are placed in classes based on their Reading, Math, and/or Writing abilities. This allows our teaching staff to modify/adjust the lesson plans to meet the appropriate level of each class of students whether they need remedial, grade level, or above grade level instruction.
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