Universal Design for Learning

A common misconception about private schools and International Baccalaureate (IB) schools is that they are only for talented students. While that may be the case for some private schools, at Eastgate Academy we believe that all students are capable of succeeding academically. Rather than designing our admissions process to filter out all but the most talented students, our admissions process is designed to find out more about how each student learns best so that we can determine how to support their on-going development. It is similar to taking an eye exam: the purpose is not sort individuals into groups based on whether their eyesight is good or bad, the purpose is to determine the specific set of lenses will make each individual’s eyesight good.

All students bring a unique set of strengths, interests, prior experiences and difficulties to school, so we use Universal Design for Learning to ensure that the curriculum can be tailored to meet each student’s needs. Flexibility is built into our program and teachers help students to make purposeful choices about how to access information (e.g. through reading, listening or viewing) and how to share what they know (e.g. in written, spoken or visual form). By giving students opportunities to identify and use their strengths, they build the confidence to face topics and skills that are more challenging for them.

The IB programs are also designed to be accessible to all students. They also include the Approaches to Learning skills, a set a skills that transcend individual subject areas and help students to become effective, independent learners. These skills are intentionally embedded in the curriculum so that students have several opportunities to develop and refine their skills. This means that the kinds of things that “good” students often do intuitively – like setting goals, breaking big tasks into manageable steps, reflecting on what’s working well in their learning – are explicitly taught so that all students can be good students.

Because of our small class sizes, we are able to offer a lot of support to our students. Consequently, our admissions process is less about evaluating students and more about giving students, families and teachers a chance to determine if Eastgate Academy is the right fit. It is a two-way process: we want to make sure that your our students can flourish with the kinds support that we provide, but we also want to help families to understand what we offer so that they can determine whether it aligns with what they want for their child.

Wondering if Eastgate might be the right fit for you child? You can click here to find out more.


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