Making a difference in the lives of children who learn differently is what Assets School is all about. As Hawaii’s only school for dyslexic, gifted and gifted-dyslexic students, Assets provides a uniquely individualized, integrated learning environment designed to develop and nurture how these students learn.
“It’s exciting to come into a school that is so intensely focused on this underserved, K-12 student population,” says Paul M. Singer, Assets’ new Head of School. “It’s even more exciting to see the results -- students who are bright but who approach learning differently thriving in an environment structured to help them succeed.”
With a student-teacher ratio of 8:1, Assets has created classroom instruction that is centered on the individual learning needs of each student, with both acceleration and remediation available as needed. Teachers focus on knowing each child’s unique learning needs and developing a curriculum that delivers content and improves skills. Classroom instruction at Assets uses multisensory approaches – sight, sound, and touch – to ensure lessons have the maximum impact on learning.
Classroom observations and formal testing reinforces an educational model that provides students with the tools needed for future success in the classroom and beyond. Frequent sit-downs with teachers explore students’ awareness of their own progress, challenges, and changes. In addition, student-selected enrichment classes – from animation and stained glass to rocketry and robotics – allow students to build on interests and strengths, which might lie outside traditional classroom subjects.
“Assets never loses sight of the goal that we are preparing our students for an exciting and productive future long after they have left Assets,” says Singer. “We do that by empowering students with learning differences to gain confidence in their own ability to learn, succeed and thrive.”
Think about the accomplishments of Charles Schwab, Whoopi Goldberg, Tommy Hilfiger, and Erin Brockovich. They all have forged highly successful careers, and they all have dyslexia, perhaps the most common learning difference, effecting nearly 15% of the U.S. population. Looking back in history, such diverse achievers as Walt Disney, Agatha Christie, Thomas Edison, and even George Washington struggled with learning differences and yet managed to become world renown in their fields.
“Assets is not a cookie-cutter school, making cookie-cutter kids. Each and every one of our teachers are focused on providing the learning environment that transforms lives, on building character, and giving our students the individual tools to help them thrive no matter where life might take them,” adds Singer. More than 90 percent of Assets graduates attend college, and 20 percent of the K-8 students successfully transition every year to other primary and secondary schools.
In addition, the school’s efforts to help Hawaii’s children do not end in the Assets classroom. Community-based seminars and workshops extend the school’s knowledge and expertise to hundreds of Hawaii’s teachers, parents, and educators, and provide them with special training to improve instruction for thousands of children with learning differences here in Hawaii as well as nationally and internationally.