The Discovery Center helps students overcome academic difficulties which may be due to learning differences, with the ultimate goal being to help them reach their highest potential and be more fully prepared to realize God’s purposes for them. Johnstown Christian School believes that each child has a unique role in God's plan, and is a special individual created and loved by God. “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me: your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
Discovery Center Programs
NILD Educational Therapy
Johnstown Christian School’s program of individualized educational therapy exists to make a college preparatory education possible for students with diagnosed learning disabilities. These students have average to superior intelligence but often struggle in the regular classroom setting because of one or more difficulties in perception, cognition, processing speed, working memory, or academic skills. The goal of educational therapy is to move the student toward independence and success in the regular classroom and to realize his/her God-given abilities.
Students are scheduled during the school day for two, 80-minute sessions per week. Through interactive language and explicit, intentional instruction, students are taught core academic skills and self-regulation as a foundation for developing higher level comprehension (reading and math), written expression and reasoning. The educational therapist, choosing from 24 NILD techniques, plans an individualized program based on each student’s identified needs. Enrollment is by an annual, contractual agreement with average enrollment in educational therapy being three to five years.
Parents play an important part in their child’s success through faithful monitoring of homework. There is also regular communication with classroom teacher(s). Every effort is made to train students to transfer the skills they learn in educational therapy to other learning situations. The educational therapy program is recognized as a Program of Excellence by the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) with offices in Norfolk, Virginia. The educational therapists at JCS are trained and certified by NILD and participate in ongoing in-service opportunities. To date, the educational therapists have assisted more than 70 students whose difficulties were due to learning disabilities. Dr. Kathy Keafer, JCS’s Administrator, also serves as a Consultant on the Professional Support Team and the Instructional Team of NILD. There is an additional tuition fee for involvement in the Discovery Center.
The resource room provides two levels of support to students in grades two through nine. The resource room teacher partners with faculty, parents, and students to provide a positive and productive environment for successful learning. Small groups which emphasize the development of foundational skills in reading and math are offered to students whose skills are found to be below grade level. Additionally, the resource teacher works with classroom teachers to provide individualized accommodations and modifications to the curriculum as called for by a student’s 504 plan. As students enter middle school, the program seeks to build a strong foundation for the study skills and independence required in high school. The resource room is available to students identified with learning needs through teacher referral and educational testing. No extra fees are required.
Search and Teach
SEARCH and TEACH© is an early intervention program designed to identify young children who may benefit from an individualized program to acquire the basic skills necessary for reading. The SEARCH and TEACH© program identifies and provides pre-reading instruction that addresses perceptual weaknesses in visual and/or auditory processing, directionality or difficulty with gross and/or fine motor activities.
SEARCH is the tool used at the start of kindergarten to gather information about a child’s visual and auditory perceptual skills, along with fine motor and language development. The ten subtests provide an overall picture of the child’s relative strengths and weaknesses in these four major areas of processing information. The individual scanning takes approximately twenty minutes during the child’s school day and is fun for the children. It identifies children who may be at risk of not achieving the academic success expected in reading.
TEACH is the subsequent learning support program based on the results of the SEARCH screening. TEACH allows the educational therapist to develop an individual profile and program of educational activities for the areas identified by the SEARCH scan. The goal of TEACH is for each student to develop core pre-reading skills in the areas of identified weakness in order to reach his or her God-given potential.
SEARCH and TEACH© is a kindergarten and first grade early intervention program of the Discovery Center. TEACH therapists have received specialized training from the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD). There is an additional tuition fee for the TEACH program. Please contact the Discovery Center for more information.