As a part of the overall plan to grow Millennium Charter Academy, The Challenge Center is staffed with well qualified individuals that will address quickly, positively, and aggressively the needs of students that struggle in the academically rigorous environment of Millennium Charter Academy, and it also addresses the needs of those students that excel in such a climate. The Challenge Center, furthermore, addresses the needs of students in the Exceptional Children Program. Its mission is to assist and inspire all participating students in kindergarten - eighth grades to reach their potential, providing the educational resources through small group or individual assistance. With this in place, MCA is more effective in developing successful, independent learners who are critical thinkers and leaders in the 21st century.
Exceptional Children Program at MCA insures that children with disabilities receive an education that is appropriate to their individual strengths and needs. Our highly trained and experienced staff promotes the pursuit of high quality educational experiences.
What Does the Challenge Center Do?
We work with the conviction, commitment and determination to provide multi-dimensional opportunities that will assist our children as they make meaningful connections to not only the NC Standard Course of Study, but also the Core Knowledge Curriculum. We promise to uphold our school's high level of excellence through the use of innovative instructional techniques that result in positive outcomes for students with disabilities. We pledge to create the conditions for academic success and growth one child at a time.
The Challenge Center works with underachievers and students that fall behind grade level expectations. Of course, this department works with students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP), but it is not necessary that a student have that distinction to receive help. Help may come through direct intervention or through consultation with the regular classroom teacher. Personnel in this department work with both inclusion and pullout strategies.
Likewise, this department of specialists becomes involved when it is apparent that the regular classroom teacher needs help in challenging a student's uncommonly high academic ability. Appropriate challenge may be provided through the regular classroom teacher, modified assignments, or through special enrichment activities in lieu of the regularly assigned work. Every effort will be made to keep the child actively engaged in academic pursuit.
This department also addresses literacy, study skills, test taking skills, speech and hearing issues, and subject tutoring. The Challenge Center proactively consults with parents of students enrolled in the program. Specific criteriaand assessment instruments will determine a student's academic need and consequently, this department's involvement. These evaluative tools will help determine the area and the degree in which a child is struggling or excelling.
Structurally, volunteer coordination, referrals to outside agencies for additional help, exceptional children's services, speech and hearing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy are under the immediate auspices of the Center. As a vital part of this team, a reading specialist focuses his/her time in the primary grades where learning to read is essential. With MCA's goal that every child read by the beginning of third grade, this individual coordinates efforts, works directly with students, and is in consultation with classroom teachers. Part time and full time employees, as well as volunteers, round out this department. Staff members are trained to recognize and work with children with learning difficulties of all varieties. The Center also utilizes the regular classroom teachers to provide tutorials one afternoon in the elementary division and two to four times weekly in the middle school division. Computer technology and software are also an important resource for this department.
Parental involvement is critical to the success of this program and every reasonable effort must be made to involve the parents in this aspect of their child's growth. Parents are periodically surveyed to get a sense of their perceptions of the work of this department.
For more information, or to talk with our Challenge Center and Exceptional Children's Staff, contact:
Jane W. Theis, EC Director
Joellen Belton, Teacher Cassie Robacker, Teacher Annie Pugh, Speech / Language Pathologist Kristen Tilley, Administrative Assistant