Atlantis Academy Thinks Outside the Box to Engage Students with Various Learning Needs During Shutdown

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By: Sharon Aron Baron

Maintaining engagement for students is paramount while schools are closed, but Atlantis Academy of Coral Springs is figuring out how to make it work.

Providing academic, behavioral, social, and emotional support to more than 500 students with various learning needs at Chancelight’s Atlantis Academy’s four South Florida centers, they have averaged a 90 percent attendance rate  — and 92 percent in Coral Springs since the first week of April.

When the shutdowns were announced, Atlantis Academy knew it had to be flexible to ensure students stayed engaged. The program developed a system for daily communication between teachers and students to help support them with their work.

Based on the child, communication is via an online platform (i.e., Zoom), phone, email, etc. and due to parent schedules, touchpoints happen during the day or in the evenings. Teachers work around family schedules to maximize student progress.

Mark DiConsiglio, Senior Vice President of ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy & Education, said their goal is to help students become as independent as possible, believing every student can learn and be successful with the appropriate supports.

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“Since transitioning to virtual learning in March, we’ve continued to provide our students with the same level of individualized instruction, it simply looks a little different,” said  DiConsiglio. “Our teachers and staff quickly adapted our program to ensure we provided consistency, normalcy, and continued learning opportunities during this unprecedented time.”

It isn’t all work for the students. They also incorporate “fun” into the weekly instruction to further motivate engagement. For example, if students hit a particular milestone during the week, teachers agree to be on video doing something requested by the students like being slimed or eating ice cream topped with hot sauce. Atlantis Academy is thinking outside the box to ensure its students continue to succeed.

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