The Academy at Trails Carolina provides clinically-driven academics in a true classroom setting. Teachers deliver an engaging curriculum tailored to fit individual needs at a student-directed pace. At the Academy, academics are a cornerstone of an integrated program: as students make clinical progress and develop their passions, they discover their academic potential by taking ownership over their schoolwork. Mastery-based curriculum and small class sizes of 3-7 allow for inventive solutions to students who may otherwise slip through the cracks.
The Academy at Trails Carolina is a registered non-public school with North Carolina Department of Non Public Education (NC DNPE) and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (AdvancED/SACS-CASI). The Academy at Trails Carolina’s college prep course of study closely follows both the North Carolina Essential Standards (NCES) as well as national Common Core Standards (CCS).
A True Classroom Experience
What happens in the classroom defines our academic approach. Endlessly supportive, our talented teachers coordinate with clinicians, search for ways to make learning approachable, and maintain a focus on what skills each student will need to be successful once they transition from the Academy. Notes, calculations, powerpoints, and papers: traditional instruction is just one slice of the authentic learning students experience at the Academy, but re-engaging with those “classroom skills” is an integral part of their growth.
Small Class Size
The beauty of the Academy, and what makes it one of the best therapeutic boarding schools, is in its size. We’re able to use an individualized program model for academics because of our size. Small class sizes of 3-7 students allow for individualized instruction, creative coursework, and true relationships in an integrated therapeutic classroom. Students are offered scaffolded supports in the classroom with an emphasis on building tools to work and learn independently.
The interplay of small class size, quality instruction, and an engaging environment allows for subject mastery and academic success. Emphasis on student accountability provides for skills that transfer to the broader world.
The teachers at the Academy are passionate, experienced instructors that use their knowledge to bring their subjects to life, which is one of the many things that makes us one of the best therapeutic boarding schools. Academics are taught with a philosophy that is hands-on, individualized, and focused on student ownership. Through the Academy’s unique approach to education, teachers are invested helping each student meet their therapeutic and academic goals.
Beyond their broad, teaching experience, teachers at the academy are avid outdoor enthusiasts that connect with students through a variety of recreation activities. Whether trail running, mountain biking, paddling, music or chess, the teachers relish in introducing and sharing their passions with the students outside of the clasroom.
The collaboration between academic and therapeutic departments is a hallmark of the Academy at Trails Carolina. Students receive in-depth attention at weekly teacher/clinical meetings. Communication is an integral piece to the community at the Academy–teachers collaborate daily with therapists and direct care staff. On any visit to our campus, staff can be seen checking in with the students over lunch, sharing a classroom victory with direct care staff, or discussing a strategy with therapists in the carpool, but the investment in an integrated program runs deep in our culture. As one of the best therapeutic boarding schools, we believe that academics themselves are an important therapeutic tool, and communication across the treatment team is integral to every student’s success, both academically and clinically.
We often work with students who have been “passed along” in their studies, or who have gaps in their knowledge that larger classrooms are ill-equipped to accommodate. Our Mastery learning program allows students to reinvest in the learning process.
The combination of collaborative work and individual accountability allows students to demonstrate broad mastery of the material. The result is a fluid learning process that empowers teachers to individualize student learning. “Traditional instruction holds time constant and allows mastery to vary while mastery learning… holds mastery constant and allows time to vary (Robinson, 1992).” It is perfectly normal for students to progress at different rates through each of their four core classes (Mathematics, Science, English, and Social Studies.)
Students learn to take ownership of their education as they experience success in the classroom; they exit the Academy confident in their academic abilities, and with the tools to be successful in their next step. We work to help each of our students build confidence, which is one of the things that makes us one of the best therapeutic boarding schools.
Technology in the classroom
Students may get dirty collecting data in the creek, but are also exposed to technology–accessing personal laptops on a Google Chrome platform. Students use chromebooks to perform classroom tasks, network their data among their peers and across classrooms, learn valuable 21st century skills, and practice using technology appropriately as a tool for learning.
Technology can be a distraction for many students, in particular those with ADHD diagnoses. At the Academy, these students and clinicians work together to create a plan. Students gain confidence using their computer as an academic tool, and earn greater access to technology, personal electronics, and the internet. The Academy offers a safe place for students to take responsibility for the electronics they integrate into their learning and healthy lifestyle. This integration is just one of the aspects that makes us one of the best therapeutic boarding schools.
Focus on the Student
Our program is designed for students who are not well-served by traditional schools. From our teenager-friendly start time (9:15) to our no homework policy, the Academy is inviting to students who struggle with school. Students receive the support they need to produce grade-level work, and the freedom to to pursue their strengths and interests. Our daily, weekly, and seasonal schedule is designed to meet the needs of our population, and the flexibility of rolling admissions allows for out-of-the-box academic solutions. From travel and adventure, to buckling down for a tough History test, the Academy addresses student needs, so they can excel in their studies.
At the Academy, students are engaged in the learning process both inside and outside the traditional classroom. Student Life and Academic staff coordinate with community partners to deliver integrated programming that builds upon each student’s knowledge base. Our students splash in the campus stream, travel the Southeast US, and reach out to the community here in our own backyard. All of their work is factored into our curriculum. As one of the best therapeutic boarding schools, we learn while doing, and as a result, our students learn critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, and a connection to the greater world.
The Academy at Trails Carolina does not assign homework in the traditional sense. Directed study is an outgrowth of class programming. These additional lessons are designed to be both self-paced and supportive of course curriculum while providing practice with the skills needed to work independently. The Academy strongly believes in maintaining a distinction between “home” and “work.” There is plenty to focus on as students work toward Student life Goals and becoming more independent. As a result, academic work is not assigned each evening, and classwork does not accompany the student into his dorm life. However, students can often be found working on school outside of class; these students may be accessing academic support before dinner, catching up on a tough subject, or studying for an upcoming test as they take ownership of their work.