Located in the Montgomery community of Cincinnati, Skyward Academy’s Middle School Program serves students in 5th through 8th grade. Skyward Academy High School serves students through age 21. All programs are designed based on the individual needs of the student.
How are we different? Skyward Academy has a small, family-like atmosphere. Every staff member knows every student. We teach INDIVIDUALS, not CLASSES. We teach at the student’s level for mastery, which may be different for each student. We adjust to meet the needs of the STUDENT, not the needs of the school. We develop an individualized program schedule for each student based on their unique needs. No two students have the exact same day! Our instruction and curricula are customized to meet the individual needs of students while also incorporating state academic standards. Program components include academic instruction, behavior management strategies, life skills instruction, counseling, community outings, speech, and occupational therapy services. Enrichment classes such as art, music, drama, physical activity, and a large number of online electives are also available. Skyward students obtain a high school diploma by meeting the Ohio graduation requirements. A vocational component is also available, and opportunities exist with other vocational programs such as The Oaks, Project Search, and more.
SKYWARD ACADEMY began as a tutoring program and then became a school created to address an unmet need. The goal was to create a personalized educational program for students who needed intensive academic instruction combined with life skills instruction, in a supportive environment that would allow them to reach their fullest potential. Skyward Academy is accredited by the National Association of Private Schools.
Many students who come to Skyward have a “laundry list” of negative school experiences. Often they have gaps in their academic skills, they are behind academically and / or socially, and they have experienced social problems or behavioral problems in previous settings. Some have been victims of bullying in previous environments, others have felt “beaten down” and unsuccessful so often that they no longer like school. At Skyward, we work to overcome these issues and build confidence. We teach functional and social communication skills. We provide opportunities for community engagement and experiences. Students receive behavioral supports which help them be able to focus on learning. Students feel welcomed and accepted in spite of their differences, and form friendships, often for the first time. In our unique environment, students flourish.
To achieve our mission, Skyward assesses the strengths and challenges of each student to create individualized goals. Student to staff ratio is kept small for a more personalized experience and is based on each student’s educational and behavioral support needs. Skyward ensures that each teacher and assistant working with students is certified, qualified, fully trained, and participates in continuous professional development.
At Skyward Academy all of our instruction is individualized based on a student’s particular need. Because we are a small school, the ways in which we can adapt coursework are seemingly endless. There is a very family style feel to the school with staff knowing each of the students and with staff being willing to go out of their way to adapt programs to meet a particular student’s needs.
Working with parents, we develop an educational plan for each child which indicates what areas we need to focus on most. We follow a step by step process which allows us to deliver the best instructional program possible.
Assessment of student’s current skill levels and barriers to learning. This may include current assessments of cognitive abilities, current academic levels, behavioral, attentional, and emotional assessments, and assessments of memory and processing skills if not provided at enrollment.
Development of individualized program based on student needs. Program development is based on environmental factors (where does a student learn best – one-on-one, small group, or larger group), accommodation of barriers, remediation of barriers, and skills coaching, We establish reasonable goals, objectives, and methods for instruction.
Implementation of instructional program. Academic instruction begins at a level where the student assessed at approximately 80% accuracy. This insures that students can review and practice existing skills to experience success in a new environment and then move towards the acquisition of new skills with greater chance for success. For language arts and math, students are grouped and taught at their level, not necessarily their grade level. For other classes, students are grouped with other students that they share commonalities with, so that all students have the opportunity to interact with a variety of others. Instructional strategies include direct, sequential instruction which includes modeling and prompting, organizational skills instruction, and repeated skills practice.
Monitor, assess, and report on student progress three times per year (minimum). To determine if a student is responding to instruction, we monitor student progress daily. Teaching strategies, accommodations, and remediation strategies are consistently analyzed and adjusted to meet the needs of the student.
Adjust student’s instructional program as needed. We may adjust a student’s instructional program, such as beginning instruction at a lower or higher level, changing the learning environment, or adjusting the goals.
Students receive academic instruction in an individual or small group (student/staff ratio of 3:1) setting where each student is given the opportunity to work at their own pace on the areas that they need to focus on the most. Teachers use a variety of multi-sensory instructional methods. Students also use research-based learning software and technology. The primary emphasis is on academic knowledge, practical life skills applications, real-life learning, and preparation for independent living! A specific number of hours in core academics with specific goals is designed for each student based on their individual cognitive abilities and needs. This focus on individual instruction has helped our students show tremendous gains in academic knowledge!
In addition to academics, students at Skyward receive related services such as speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, etc. as determined by their Individualized Educational Plans.
Skyward provides consultative and individual or group speech and language therapy and communication support focusing on functional and social communication. Occupational therapy is also provided as a way to teach many necessary daily living skills and to provide mechanisms that assist in the emotional regulation for our students. A “sensory diet” is provided by our occupational therapist and implemented by teachers for each student to help regulate their sensory systems when they become over taxed and to enhance their ability to participate more fully and appropriately in activities around them. A full time guidance counselor is on staff to work with social / peer issues. A Parent Information Officer works with parents and students on transitioning to adult life, whether that be college, trade school, work, or a day program.
Skyward also retains the services of a reading specialist and behavior support person, both of whom provide support and services to students and staff to enhance students’ growth and learning. A Psychologist is also available for individual student and family needs.
Skyward also provides parent consultation and advocacy services for students and families.
Skyward Academy High School Students will receive a high school diploma if they complete the Ohio Graduation Requirements for their graduation year. These requirements include coursework, state testing, and work experiences. Our graduates have gone on to 2 and 4 year colleges, vocational programs, and directly into full time or part time jobs.
Our Curriculum is based on state and national standards and uses materials selected to best meet the needs of the students. While the curriculum may be based on typical standards, the approach is unique, and we make adjustments based on student and family needs and goals.
Skyward uses only proven, research-based curriculums. Some of our favorites include:
Direct Instruction Models such as Language for Learning, Language for Thinking, Language for Writing, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Orton-Gillingham Reading, Barton Reading, High Noon Reading Intervention, Connecting Math Concepts, Math-U-See, Saxon Math, Singapore Math, Daily Oral Language, Daily Oral Math, Teaching Textbooks Math, Simple Schooling, Manus Curriculums, Real Life Science, Edgenuity, Power Basics, SOAR, HOPE, and More!!!