Middle and High School Educators Travel the Subject Specialist Path of the Schools Attuned Program

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The Schools Attuned Program from All Kinds of Minds is an intensive professional development program that prepares K-12 educators to recognize and manage differences in learning in the regular classroom. The Subject Specialist Path for middle and high school educators focuses on adolescent developmental challenges and the particular learning demands of specific subject areas such as languages, history, art, science and math.

Middle and high school teachers are learning to better recognize, understand and manage their students’ differences in learning through the Subject Specialist Path of the Schools Attuned® Program. This newly developed program pathway focuses on adolescent developmental challenges and the particular learning demands of specific subject areas in grades 7 to 12.

The nationally recognized Schools Attuned Program provides professional development that prepares educators to meet the diverse learning needs of all students in the classroom and offer hope and satisfaction to struggling students. The program's two pathways address different concerns of educators at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

The Generalist Path focuses on the neurodevelopmental strengths and weaknesses of students in grades K-8, and the Subject Specialist Path focuses on how the neurodevelopmental demands of one's specific subject impact student learning. Both paths feature a pre-course preparation activity, a 35-hour Core Course with focused study of eight neurodevelopmental constructs that affect learning, a minimum of 10 hours of follow-up experiences and ongoing online learning support.

"The Subject Specialist Path enables teachers to perform 'brain surgery' on their own subject matter – by providing them the professional development to understand and examine the neurodevelopmental strengths needed to do well in their subject area and offering them the tools to help their students better understand and manage their struggles," said Mary-Dean Barringer, National Director of the Schools Attuned Program.

For example, a mathematics teacher might examine the sequencing and higher order cognition requirements of her subject, while a French teacher might focus on the language and memory demands of learning a foreign language. After identifying these specific neurodevelopmental demands, each teacher would consider how student strengths and weaknesses in these areas would affect their learning in that particular classroom.

"The Subject Specialist Path training helped us take a new look at the existing excellent lesson plans we have at our school. We now use the neurodevelopmental constructs to maximize student learning by focusing on not only what we teach, but how we teach it," said Gaylen Raisler, Resource Specialist at Aspire Public Schools, a not-for-profit organization that builds and operates high-quality public charter schools in California.

"I think the most powerful part of the training was being able to ‘reframe’ behaviors that are often seen as 'willful disobedience' or laziness," said Charlie Mason, Director of Alternative Education for Norman (OK) Public Schools. "When we focus on the strengths a student has and how these strengths can be used to put the student at an advantage, we all win."

First developed in 1987, the Schools Attuned Program was launched as a year-round professional development and service delivery program in 2000. More than 26,000 educators in the U.S. and Canada have participated in the program to date.

The Schools Attuned Program is offered by All Kinds of Minds®, a nonprofit Institute whose mission is to help students who struggle with learning measurably improve their success in school and life. For further information, visit the Schools Attuned Program page on the All Kinds of Minds Web site: http://www.allkindsofminds.org.

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