The Manus Academic Process

The MAP (Manus Academic Process) is a teaching process and a set of curricula in reading, writing, language, vocabulary, comprehension and math for delivering customized instruction to students with learning barriers. It is grounded in the belief that all students can improve their ability to learn given the right instructional program delivered in the right environment and at the right intensity. The MAP consists of four steps that guarantee improvement in each student’s ability to learn. The premise for making this guarantee is simple. If the plan does not work, we identify the reasons for the break down in learning then fix the plan so it does work.
The steps to the MAP are repeatable, measurable and backed by decades of international research on how to teach students with academic delays. The process, developed by Rosanne Manus, M.A., continues to be subjected to rigorous, in-house testing at Manus Academy.

The steps of the MAP are easy to follow. At Manus Academy, we can usually develop effective instructional plans for students, including those with significant and multiple learning barriers, within a week or two after beginning instruction. We can also make those hundreds of instant and small adjustments during lessons to further improve a student’s responses. There’s no time wasted trying to figure out how to help a child learn well.

The MAP consists of teacher-training programs and, for each academic skill covered by the MAP, student practice packs, homework packs and teachers’ guides with answer keys.  Here are the steps of the MAP and brief descriptions of them:

Step 1: Determine the student’s skill achievement.

Step 1 walks the examiner through the process of administering placements tests in reading, writing, math or other skills to: a) identify the skills the student can perform fluently; b) identify the point at which his or her learning starts to break down; and c) noting this information on the goals and objectives checklist for the targeted skill. The goals and objectives checklist serves as the teacher’s working copy of the student’s ongoing achievement in that skill.

Step 2: Determine the reasons for the student’s skill delays.

Step 2 walks teachers and administrators through the process of identifying the root causes of the student’s skill delays. This information is essential. To facilitate learning, they also need to manage the student’s learning barriers that hinder the learning.

Step 3: Develop then deliver a customized instructional plan.

Teachers use the information gained from completing Steps 1 and 2 to develop the customized instructional plan. The plan contains four elements essential for effective instruction. These elements are: 1) the goals and objectives; 2) the teaching approach and curriculum; 3) the intensity at which the student practices the skill; and 4) the accommodations. Each of these elements must be correct. If even one element is off, the student may not be able to respond well to the plan. Here is a brief explanation of each element and its important place in an instructional plan:

Step 4: Monitor and report progress and adjust the plan, as needed.

When working with students with learning barriers, teachers do not want to leave their instruction and the student’s learning to chance. Step 4 walks teachers through the process of counting and recording the number of practice exercises the student completes each day (measuring intensity), recording the objectives the student learned as a result of this practice and deciding if his or her skill achievement is satisfactory.

If teachers are satisfied with the student’s progress, they assume the plan is working and continue to follow it. If the student’s progress is not satisfactory, teachers return to Steps 2 and 3 to examine those factors that hinder success and adjust one or more elements of the instructional plan. 

As teachers monitor the student’s skill achievement over time, they also note and report to parents, the student and other interested parties, those factors that facilitate the student’s learning, those barriers that continue to hinder his or her learning and the degree to which they interfere. This information is important as it eventually gives teachers and all future instructors insight into those conditions under which the student learns best. 

Teachers communicate the students’ progress and other pertinent information with parents through weekly progress reports, phone conversations, face-to-face meetings each quarter and additional meetings as needed.

The Benefits of Following the MAP

The MAP works because it helps teachers, who are the most important element of a student’s instructional plan, make decisions that directly improve a student’s ability to learn. Teachers cut out all distractions and focus only on those elements that lead directly to skill achievement. In working with students with skill delays, there is no spinning one’s wheels trying different strategies and hoping they will work. Our students find themselves most often “in the flow” of learning.

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including his physical health. He was suffering from migraines and unable to absorb anything that was being taught at his school. 

My son has high functioning autism and has been in an “inclusion” environment for most of his schooling. He lost his teacher’s assistant in the fourth grade and it has been going downhill ever since. Once he entered middle school, the bottom fell out. He was being bullied constantly, attacked in the restroom, left outside in the cold by the school. His classes were over 30 children per class. It was impossible to get the attention that he needed to even begin to comprehend what was being taught because of all the other distractions on a daily basis at this school.

I realized that we needed to get him help. We did our research and looked into several schools before going to the Manus Academy. We visited Manus and went on a tour of the school. As we went from class to class, I realized how many of these children were like my son. I was immediately drawn in by the intimate environment and the student-teacher ratio. 

When speaking to the Head of School and learning about the Manus approach, I thought this could be the place that could bring my boy back. My son had lost all confidence in himself. I needed a school that would meet my son where he was academically and work with him to get him up to grade level in areas where he was lacking.  

Since my son has been at Manus Academy, here are some areas in his life that have improved:

He can now do his homework by himself. Because Manus works so intensively with my child during the school day, by the time he gets home, he has a full understanding of the homework assignment.
His confidence has soared!
His social skills have improved.
His communication and organizational skills have improved immensely!

My son has a ways to go in school and in life but having him at Manus Academy gives him a chance to better himself. He is in a school environment that is not judgmental, an environment that encourages, motivates, and is loving. Manus also sets a standard of excellence and lays down expectations for their students. All of which my son needs to help him in life. Thanks to the Manus Academy, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel again – R. & C.D., parents