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By First Grade, We Were Losing Our Daughter: Anna’s Story Told By Her Mom, Jamie

March 31, 2023

I noticed Anna was having trouble even before kindergarten. She has an older sister, and I had also gone through preparing her for school. Anna’s letter retrieval was slow. She might know a letter, but it would take her a long time to name it. Other times, things just wouldn’t stick at all. With her inability to process quickly came a great deal of stress and frustration. Eventually, Anna developed reading anxiety and refusal. Unfortunately, her teachers at the time had received little to no training on language-based learning disabilities and were convinced that her problems were more emotional, stating,…

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One Mom’s Story: “Get them the help they need sooner, rather than later.”

February 6, 2023

We were lost when we found out Klara had dyslexia. We didn’t know what to do.  I was at a swim meet, talking to another parent when she shared that her son also had dyslexia. This isn’t the kind of thing parents usually bring up. We are much more likely to brag or speak about successes or achievements, not challenges. It’s so hard to talk about learning disabilities, but the truth is, so many kids and families are struggling.  Thankfully, this fellow swim mom opened up and told me about her son’s experience at Horizon Academy. If not, I don’t…

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For Rising Readers: Pre-Literacy Tips for Parents of Young Children

January 23, 2023

Dear Gabi,  I am a parent of three children with dyslexia. I’ve recently realized that I have dyslexia myself! My fourth child is only three years old, but I’m starting to get nervous. What can I do to get her ready for school? Kindergarten is only a few years away!! Signed,  Panicking Parent Dear Gabi,  I really want my four-year-old to get a head start on reading. Which set of alphabet flash cards should I get? Do you think they’ll be able to read Hop on Pop by the time they turn five? Signed, Eager Reader To the Panicking Parents…

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“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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