Our Key Elements of Success

Over the years, we have studied, developed and tested numerous strategies to help students learn well. Most of our teaching strategies are based on decades of educational research, which we have adapted and refined to suit our students and setting. Many of the environmental strategies we use to foster a sense of well-being, however, we discovered as we worked with different groups of students. 

Out of the hundreds of strategies we use throughout the day, the four strategies described here have proven to be particularly beneficial to students.  

A School Environment That Fosters Resilience

Over the past several decades, there has been a growing body of research on what makes some students resilient, despite the seemingly insurmountable barriers they face. The findings indicate that resilient students have certain perceptions about themselves and the world that help them to persevere. Here are some of the key perceptions correlated with resiliency:

At Manus Academy, we use these research findings to create a school environment that fosters resiliency so our students can develop those perceptions that help them flourish despite the obstacles they face.

Strategies we use include: one-to-one instruction, small class size, small school size, ready access to a staff member who can help students work through problems that may seem overwhelming, close supervision, frequent prompts and encouragement and strategies to facilitate learning so learning feels good. Most importantly, we maintain a school atmosphere where everyone supports each other and not only accepts but appreciates individual differences.

The Manus Academic Process

To ensure that we deliver to each student the right instruction, in the right environment and at the right intensity, we follow the Manus Academic Process. This process allows us to see if the student is responding to each part of his or her instructional program to a satisfactory degree and, if not, the factors that interfere with his or her success and what we need to do about it.

The academic process includes routine data collection, monitoring and regular communication among our students, teachers, administrators, parents and program developer. This tight monitoring of each student’s response to his or her educational plan and the adjustments that follow are essential factors in a student’s success. 

Our Curricula

For a curriculum to be effective, it has to be exactly what the student needs in terms of learning goals and objectives and something to which the student responds well. It has to be highly structured and relatively easy to implement so teachers, tutors and substitute teachers can deliver it correctly.

A curriculum must also be delivered at the right intensity and frequency so the student gets enough practice to make steady growth. It should be easy to modify and adapt to each student’s specific needs.

To determine if the curriculum leads to skill achievement, our teachers and students collect data. Specifically, they chart, at regular intervals, the number of practice exercises, lessons or chapters the student completes and note those skill or content objectives the student mastered as a result of this practice. The teacher then decides if the student’s skill growth is satisfactory. If not, the teacher and administrators determine the reasons then adjust the instructional plan as needed.
 
Finally, considering that educational research has provided a wealth of information on how to teach effectively, particularly students with learning barriers, a curriculum needs to be based on the principles and strategies of effective instruction yielded by the research.

The set of curriculums we use at Manus Academy is another essential factor in our students’ skill achievement. It targets the skills directly and leads to full student participation, high degrees of interaction between teachers and students and the students’ completing many practice exercises, both verbal and written.

Many of the curriculums we use have been developed and tested over the past three decades by Rosanne Manus, the founder of the school. These curriculums are based on a large body of educational research that indicates the best ways to teach students, particularly those with academic barriers. Imbedded in the curriculums are strategies well-known to facilitate learning and minimize the impact of various neuro-developmental barriers. The curriculums are highly structured, comprehensive and data driven. They include teacher-training programs so all instructors learn to use it as prescribed.

One-to-One Instruction

One-to-one instruction delivered in a quiet environment has numerous benefits. They include:

A testament to the power of one-to-one instruction is the rapid progress most of our students make whose initial needs necessitate one-to-one instruction for the entire school day. Most of them respond quickly to this kind of instruction and are ready to join our small classrooms for part or all of the day within six to ten months.

Because one-to-one instruction anchors students and expedites their progress so well, we use this strategy and variations of it as much as we possibly can. For instance, students complete most of their remedial work in a one-to-one setting. They receive math instruction in groups as small as two and usually no larger than four, which helps the students maintain the high degree of attentional control required to learn math.

Our Student Population
Our Assessments and Results
The Manus Academic Process

6203 Carmel Road, Charlotte, NC 28226 • (704) 542-6471