by June Portnoy
Does your child find it impossible to earn good grades at school no matter how hard they try? Do they feel ostracized by their peers because they are unlike the other kids?
If so, New Hope Academy (NHA) might be the ideal school for your child. “This is a non-traditional private school for kids in grades six through 12 who cannot thrive in a traditional school environment,” says Kathy Gana, NHA’s Founder and Executive Director.
Its student population consists of kids with emotional and learning disabilities, gifted and creative individualists and children suffering from anxiety and behavioral disorders. The school specializes in students with Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), Oppositional Defiant Disorders (ODD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) and Asperger Syndrome.
Although NHA has a campus in Yardley and Doylestown, both locations operate as one school. NHA provides individualized education, not only for students with documented Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) but for all of its students. Each student progresses at his or her own pace, yet collectively they are challenged to stretch beyond their comfort levels and achieve beyond their expectations.
As opposed to traditional schools that place all children with special needs into one group, NHA looks at the specific needs of each child to determine which class setting will benefit them most. The ratio of students to teachers is two to one, and in some cases NHA offers one-on-one personalized teaching. These small groups enable kids to learn without the external distractions of peer pressure, teacher confrontation, or behavior problems.
“Sometimes we must teach our students how to succeed emotionally and socially before they can succeed academically,” adds Kathy.
NHA offers a nurturing environment where students feel comfortable.
“No student here is judged or made to feel different,” says Kathy. “We have no stigmas or cliques, and every child is made to feel accepted here. As a result, our students develop a mutual respect for each other.”