AEF Schools: Creating Successful Students and Citizens
AEF Schools offer an alternative approach to education for students in elementary school all the way up through high school. For a number of different reasons, these young people have not found success in more traditional classroom settings—many of the students have received an autism, ADHD, Asperger’s or dyslexia diagnosis—and because of this they do better in another educational situation.
What are these different educational options that the Alternative Education Foundation offers? They’re anything from a charter school, a magnet school, an alterative school, or an independent school. At places like the AEF Schools, value is placed on creating close ties between students, parents, and teachers. Kids excel in smaller class sizes, and they feel a sense of belonging in that community. At school, the kids are learning traditional subject matter, but they’re also learning about making friends, respecting parents and other authority figures, and about how to make a smart decision.
These are crucial skills, and many of the Alternative Education Foundation students benefit greatly from learning more about these areas. However, traditional public and private schools are often too crowded or too underfunded to offer courses in these areas. That’s why students need this environment full of extra nurturing and extra information. It helps them develop as students and as people.
The Alternative Education Foundation currently runs many schools, camps, parental support groups, and tutoring programs for kids and their families. When traditional public or private schools are not properly serving these students, they can find solace in an alternative learning situation.
The AEF Schools create many different programs to ensure that kids are excelling both academically and socially while they’re at school. Some of these programs include:
- Independent Study: This program helps children who are not yet able to function within a mainstream classroom. As part of independent study, kids get weekly work packets to complete both at home and at the Learning Center. At the learning center, teachers offer academic support. They work with kids in small groups, and in one-on-one situations to ensure success.
- Dropout Prevention: When students repeatedly experience failure in public or private school, they become discouraged and start to lose confidence in themselves. They may start to feel that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in school, and therefore lose interest in continuing their education. This frequently leads to the desire to dropout. This program helps to keep students motivated by giving them schedules and setting goals. Some of the tools used in Dropout Prevention include mentoring, service learning, career education, individualized instruction, and the creation of a safe environment for kids to explore themselves.
- ACCENT: When students demonstrate behaviors that don’t fit the parameters of the AEF classroom regulations, they are placed in ACCENT. This program is based around behavior modification, and teaching appropriate peer interactions and classroom skills. These students do not receive traditional academic work. They get a modified assignment list that helps them learn self-regulatory behavior as they focus their energy. These kids also engage in a therapeutic RAP program every day. RAP allows them to discuss issues they have, why they participate in ACCENT, and what they need to continue to work on. ACCENT offers both short and long term interventions.
- Home Behavior Management: Many home behavior plans fail because parents don’t have the ability or the time to maintain the system. Instead, AEF offers simple home behavior management that any family can use. Experienced professionals help integrate the program and make it a part of daily life. This program includes working with existing therapists, creating behavior contracts, teaching parenting tools, working on teen discipline, and offering support workshops.
AEF Schools: Offering A Unique Summer Experience
AEF Schools continue to help kids develop during the summer. The Alternative Education Foundation has a wide range of summer programs for kids of all ages. Though all kids can benefit from the experience of summer camp, some children do not excel in a traditional summer camp setting. For these young people, the Alternative Education Foundation offers a variety of programs. This way, kids can enjoy camp but still feel safe and included. They can practice and improve upon important skills as they have fun and make friends.
The Alternative Education Foundation camps offer experiences for students in Kindergarten through high school. Children can opt for a day camp experience, or they may choose to stay overnight. The goal of the program is to boost a camper’s self-confidence and to help him or her learn to develop a positive relationship with peers. In addition, that kid will develop respect for rules and authority figures, take responsibility for their choices, and have plenty of time for play.
Like at the AEF Schools, many of the campers have gotten diagnosed with ADHD, autism, Apserger’s, a non-verbal learning disability, or another similar condition. Those who haven’t received this type of diagnosis may simply benefit from the camp’s smaller setting, and feeling of safety and structure. Many of the kids who come to camp share similar traits including:
- Difficulty making friends
- Trouble at a traditional camp
- Problems with following directions
- Difficulty with conflict resolution
- May seem confrontational
- Having trouble staying focused
- Difficulty keeping living spaces clean and keeping track of personal belongings
- Talking at inappropriate times
- Low self esteem
- Trouble understanding the concept of time
- Cannot see consequences to their actions
Camp counselors are the same team members who work at the program throughout the year. The Alternative Education Foundation’s administrative team trains these staff members, making sure that they are able to help care for each student properly. This guarantees that every camper has a fun, educational, and positive experience, regardless of limits and abilities.
AEF Schools offers a beneficial way for kids with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and other disorders to learn in a safe and comfortable setting. AEF Schools helps to teach kids various life skills such as making friends, respecting authority, and taking responsibility for choices. AEF Schools uses smaller class sizes and specially trained teachers to serve kids in a way that more traditional learning institutions are unable to.
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