Based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework, the Foundations program includes small group instruction as well as reading tutorials using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Carefully crafted sessions are designed to remediate areas of relative weakness and to teach decoding and encoding skills.
The Foundations program builds upon each student's strengths and interests using the following methods:
- Uses a prescriptive, sequential, and multisensory approach to instruction
- Supports the acquisition of language-based academic skills (decoding, contextual reading, reading comprehension, spelling, and written expression)
- Reinforces positive social pragmatics skills
- Presents information in a deliberately paced manner
- Builds high-interest thematic units that support receptive and expressive language skills
- Incorporates a variety of assessment (curriculum-based, formative and summative)
- Provides instruction in organizational strategies and executive function skills
- Fosters independence among students through metacognition and self-advocacy
Who Should Apply
Students with dyslexia or other language-based learning differences who would benefit from placement in a differentiated classroom environment. Foundations at Applewild students find great academic and personal success in our unique program that provides prescriptive individualized educational support while allowing full participation in the wider school community. LBLD should be the primary diagnosis, though students may present with anxiety, ADHD, executive function weakness, and other secondary diagnoses.
Foundations students in grades 2 and 3 are incorporated into the traditional grade level homerooms, while still receiving the services that are the hallmark of the Foundations program. They are able to take part in homeroom experiences with their grade-level peers, such as Morning Meetings and Closing Circles, as well as be a part of the larger K-3 community during recesses, lunch, Design Thinking times, and Nature Walks. During core academic times in the morning, such as reading, writing, and math, they receive separate instruction specific to their learning needs, sometimes in small groups and sometimes one-on-one with an Orton-Gillingham certified teacher. In the afternoons, they rejoin their grade-level peers for specials, such as Art, P.E., Science, Music, and Drama. Foundations students receive a foreign language waiver and do not take French at the K-3 level.
Students in the 4/5 Foundations program receive instruction for math, language arts, social studies and science in a small group environment with peers who also have language based learning differences. Teachers provide differentiated instruction that builds upon each student’s strengths and insterests. A multisensory approach and hands on learning are integrated into every lesson additionally students receive separate instruction specific to their learning needs, sometimes in small groups and sometimes one-on-one with an Orton-Gillingham certified teacher. Fifth grade students in the Foundations program participate in sports with other 5th - 9th graders at each afternoon. Fourth grade students participate in PE. All students in 4/5 Foundations take art, performing arts and instrumental music with their peers as well as participate in clubs.
Foundations at the 6-7 level focuses on skills to increase independence, but they still receive instruction specific to their learning needs. Language arts, history, math, and science classes are done in small groups, and Orton-Gillingham sessions are small group or one-to-one. Foundations students are supported academically, socially, and emotionally and are given tools and resources to assist in problem solving strategies. Students meet daily with their advisor who assists them with organizational and executive functioning skills. Students participate with their grade-level peers in art, makerspace, instrumental, choral, electives, sports, and community clubs.
Foundations in 8-9 provides students with more opportunities for independence. Students’ course loads include a personalized approach. Students may take any combination of Foundations and neurotypical classes. Students complete assessed work with and without support from their teachers. Students meet daily with their advisor who supports organization and executive functioning skills. Students participate with their grade-level peers in art, makerspace, instrumental, choral, electives, sports, and community clubs. In Foundations, students are given the tools to identify and communicate about their learning styles. By identifying and working with students to get the support they need, students will practice self-advocacy in preparation for their next steps in secondary school. Students are assigned a secondary school advisor who works with them to identify a right-fit school. Our students matriculate to both independent schools with specialized programs and traditional independent schools, as well as local public, charter, and trade schools.
Students in the Foundations program work with an Orton-Gillingham (OG) certified interventionist. These sessions take place in a quiet setting, during the “OG block”, where the student can concentrate and learn about the five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. A “scope and sequence” of phonics instruction is provided for each student, with practice in reading real and nonsense words. OG interventionists assess students and concentrate on what they need to know. A written report on the student’s progress is provided monthly.