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Former Inner-City Catholic School Now Home to ADHD, Asperger Students

(PRWEB) August 3, 2006 -- "We believe that your child has distinct potential that we are privileged to uncover …” Excerpt from mission statement - Office of Catholic Education
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 Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
              
At the end of the 2006 school year, Annunciation-St. John’s School, located in the heart of East Akron, closed its doors. The school, which can house almost 200 students had become, like many of its inner city sister schools, an economic impossibility.

 “  He had taken a lot of verbal abuse from students at his other school and had become self injurious—even to the point of removing fingernails, and scratching his fac...  
The story could end there, an all too familiar version of “times change”, but this one has a unique and happy twist. The school, which will reopen this fall as Akron’s Summit Elementary, will have the same basic mission.

Every child has a distinct and inherent value.

Karen Flory, a Summit teacher with a Master’s degree in Special Education, will relocate along with her students from the old Summit Elementary site on East Market where things admittedly were “cramped”, to the new, more spacious Annunciation site later this summer. Flory has plans to use the extra classroom space to incorporate robotics into her lesson plans.

The Summit Academy is a free, non profit community school with a unique curriculum designed to effectively teach young people with ADD, ADHD and Asperger’s Disorder. For many of its students and their families, it has changed their lives.

Flory proudly talks about Brandon, one of her students, who came to Summit three years ago, at age nine.

“At that time, he was very shy, maybe even paranoid,” Flory said. “He had taken a lot of verbal abuse from students at his other school and had become self injurious—even to the point of removing fingernails, and scratching his face.”

Brandon, like many children with Asperger’s Disorder, was very smart, but socially challenged, seemingly unable to socialize and make friends.

“His mother told me, his last year at his previous school, he had invited every student in his class to his birthday party at Pizza Hut,” Foley added. “They waited and no one showed up.”

Today, three years later, in a different environment, Brandon seems to be thriving. He was even picked as a member of a nationwide “Ambassador’s Club” to travel to Hawaii this summer to study volcanoes.

Summit Academy schools incorporate small learning groups and rotating activities to keep students engaged. A full academic schedule, individually monitored, is enhanced with classes in Chinese, the Therapeutic Martial Arts, Scouting and Outdoor Experiences at an Outdoor Learning Center. Sign language
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 is also used as a supplement to enhance verbal communication skills.

But even with its unique curriculum, there is one thing profoundly familiar.

Summit’s educational philosophy that “everyone can learn
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 in the proper learning environment.”

Which may just mean the halls of the former Annunciation school will still be filled with “the priviledge of uncovering each student’s potential."


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