News & Announcements Archives - Horizon Academy


“Love what you teach, and they will love it too.”

March 24, 2022

By: Barry Soltz Playing Pokémon with my children is something we both enjoy - I get to spend time with them and they get to be excited about playing the beloved game. Part of Pokémon is learning about the different animals and mammals in the Pokémon world. That is when it dawned on me that some Pokémon are mammals… and if I wanted to, I could create a unit where students can learn about taxonomical groups in mammals. They could study what traits and behaviors each share with specific Pokémon and expand their knowledge using a world that they love. …

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Faculty Spotlight: Stella Garibaldi

March 3, 2022

As a young girl, Stella Garibaldi’s mother owned and operated a Montessori preschool, so you could say, teaching is part of her DNA. In high school, she helped supervise classes at the preschool and found ways to teach subjects in which she had an interest (science, drama, the arts, etc.). As a college student, she began working as a carpenter at a theater where she built and painted sets for dance shows, graduations, musicals, and traveling shows. It was here that Stella found an interest in sound design and worked as a sound engineer.  Melding her interests and experience together…

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The Power of Instructional Language

February 14, 2022

By: Nichole Morrissey Instructional Language is what we say and do in a classroom to teach new information. One way we use this is by intentionally and systematically increasing students’ understanding of vocabulary. When a student’s vocabulary is linked with a solid understanding of meaning, learning grows exponentially. Instructional Language must include both what the word means and why. Simply stated, we must define a word as it is used, never assuming the meaning is already known. Effective communication is not dependent on a student hearing what is said but truly understanding it. It is most effective to infuse meaning…

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What are your Pronouns?

January 20, 2022

By: Teri Truog, Lower School Teacher That’s a common, but relatively new question we all hear these days. As a middle-aged woman who considers herself open-minded and inclusive, I do admit I am not adept with pronouns - yet. I sometimes struggle, not only in being able to fully understand the meaning behind them, but mainly in wanting to be sure I honor and respect people’s gender identities and not offend anyone. They has been the hardest for me to understand and use correctly. I attributed that to the grammar at first, since the concept of singular “they” was so…

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Faculty Spotlight: Holly Hangauer

January 7, 2022

In 2012, Mrs. Holly Hangauer was going to school at the University of Missouri Kansas City for art education when someone approached her about becoming a Waldorf teacher. She participated in a summer training program in the Waldorf approach and soon after answered an ad for a job in Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica! After teaching in Costa Rica, Hangauer taught 1st-4th graders in Lawrence, Kansas at a Waldorf school and decided after a while it was time to pack up and move to Kansas City. That’s when she found an art teaching position at Horizon Academy! Holly finds great joy…

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The Writing Revolution

December 16, 2021

By: Ann Kavanaugh, Middle School Teacher This year, Horizon Academy is focusing on a different approach to teaching writing: The Writing Revolution (TWR).  One of the essential aspects of this method is the recognition that writing is integral to all of the core subjects, and as such should be integrated into all of the subject areas throughout the day. Recently, our school’s O-G Fellow of Record through AOGPE, Janet George, reminded us that, according to NAEP data, “students with disabilities are significantly underachieving” in writing and should be “writing 1 hour a day cross-curricular.” The TWR approach to writing instruction integrates…

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Faculty Spotlight: Barry Soltz

December 7, 2021

For more than 26 years, Mr. Barry Soltz has been continuously trying to find new ways to make science interactive and fun for students. Part of the reason he pursued a career in science and special education was that he wanted to teach the child, not the grade. Barry taught in a public school setting before finding Horizon Academy. Soltz enjoys teaching a wide range of age groups about the subject he adores.  Soltz gives a lot of credit to the movie “Dead Poets Society” for his inspiration and lives by the motto carpe diem (seize the day). Our words and…

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Number Sense and 10

November 18, 2021

By Brenna Watson, Lower School Teacher It’s not uncommon that a special education teacher is led to the profession because of their own struggles in school. For me, it was math. I remember feeling so ostracized when my entire class grasped a concept that made no sense to me. To this day, my parents still talk about the stress and tears induced by math homework most nights. Ironically, math is now my favorite subject to teach. I’m very thankful for the shift in math instruction that’s been unfolding throughout my career.  One of my favorite “best practices” is fostering a…

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Faculty Spotlight: Teri Truog

November 8, 2021

Mrs. Teri Truog has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. She had many teachers who influenced her throughout her life, and she was continually reinforced with the thought that teaching was for her. During her time as a special education camp counselor, Teri knew she wanted to become a SPED teacher because she wanted to learn how to teach every kind of child in the way they needed to learn.  Since taking her first Orton-Gillingham course over ten years ago at Horizon Academy, Truog has carried it with her to every school she has…

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Yes, I have Dyslexia!

October 18, 2021

By Shaynee Sherwood, Lower School Teacher “What is it like having dyslexia?” I have been asked this question dozens of times since my own diagnosis in 2nd grade, and for a long time, I was unsure how to fully respond. Dyslexia is frustrating. It’s a lot of work: A lot of extra work. It’s working your hardest and still sometimes missing the mark. Or, oftentimes, missing the mark. It’s time-consuming. It’s knowing that you’ll almost always need extra time on language-based tasks. It’s being the last student to finish the test. It’s being the kid who accidentally left the completed homework at…

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