Local academy empowers children to succeed

posted in: Trident Academy

Dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD all are hurdles that children can rise above, defeat, and even embrace. At Trident Academy in Mount Pleasant, confidence is the key to success for youngsters dealing with these issues every day.

“It’s extremely important for our administration and our teachers to really work on self-esteem. We focus on that early on,” Trident Upper School Director JP Sticco explained. “Some kids don’t like school, so they shut down. We build them back up and give them confidence. School can be a difficult place, but also a place where you can grow as an individual and not just as a student.”

Trident, founded in 1972, teaches reading through the Orton-Gillingham approach, helping students who, because they are suffering from dyslexia, struggle with reading comprehension, spelling, and writing.

Orton-Gillingham is multi-sensory, sequential, and prescriptive, which means Trident homes in on the individual needs of each student and offers them a new and innovative way to learn. Children with dyscalculia have problems with math, while dysgraphia refers to issues with writing. ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is associated with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Students are given strategies to deal with and eventually overcome all these obstacles at Trident, moving forward at their own individual pace.

Executive functioning also is “a big piece,” according to Sticco. These skills are those mental processes that help everyone manage their day-to-day lives. Examples include planning, list-making, organizing, following multi-step directions, and a myriad of other daily tasks that most people pick up on their own. At Trident Academy, these mental processes are directly taught and practiced daily.

“We color-code everything here. For example, every notebook and folder that deals with English would be color-coded in yellow. That keeps things better organized,” he said.

He went on to explain that at Trident, students are grouped according to their ability rather than by their grade level. He said sixth, seventh, and eighth graders might be in the same classroom together. Tests administered during the summer months determine where they are placed in the school, but, during the year, the placement can change based on progress.

This also is the case in the lower school, Kowbeidu pointed out.

“They are still learning the same type of skills, but we move them into a different group if they are moving at a faster pace,” she said.

Students typically remain at Trident Academy for three to five years, though as with all things at Trident, individual instruction leads to individual progress, and some stay at Trident until they complete their high school education.

“Our goal would be to get our students up to grade level where they can re-enter a traditional school,” Sticco noted. “We want them to graduate from Trident or elsewhere and become successful adults.”

“Lots of times, schools focus on education and forget that kids are human beings,” he added. “We try to teach them social goals as well.”

Why has Trident Academy succeeded in helping so many children grow into productive and well-adjusted adults for nearly half a century? The answer to that question, according to Kowbeidu, can be found in a quote from a grateful parent: “The secret behind teaching students who learn differently is to teach differently.”

“That’s what the teachers at Trident do,” Kowbeidu concluded.

To learn more about how Trident Academy can help your child survive and thrive despite issues such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD, visit https://tridentacademy.com/ or call 843-884-7046.