Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dr. Susan Johnson, Commonwealth Academy Show #102

Before the holidays, I had the opportunity to spend the day at Commonwealth Academy, a college preparatory school for children with ADHD and learning disabilities, located in Alexandria, VA. Commonwealth Academy serves children from 6th grade through high school,and is a school that feels very much like a community the moment you walk through the doors.

I got to sit down with Dr. Susan Johnson, the Director of the school, and we talked about everything from how they select their students, to how their curriculum and teaching methods differ from traditional schools. Dr. Johnson has been an educator and has worked with children in special education for over 30 years, and she sat on one of the initial panels that put together the IEP process for the State of New Jersey back in the 1970's. Her experience and perspective on children who struggle in traditional school settings is amazing, and it was an absolute privilege to be able to speak with her, the staff and the students at Commonwealth.

I've split our interview into two parts; the first discusses how important it is to take a child-centered approach to education, and how that's the first step to helping struggling learners to begin to think of themselves as academic achievers. We also talk about how the environment of a school matters, and how it is integral to creating a community rather than just an institution of learning.

We've given away our first handful of books, but we have some more available! Additionally, while you may have missed out on the Marcus Buckingham books here, my friend Carrie Runnals from the Words to Mouth podcast, has a few copies she would love to give away to our listeners! Just click the link and go to Carrie's website and you might win! The Words to Mouth podcast is a great place where readers can find out more about the authors and their work through insightful interviews, done by Carrie, another one of the fantastic ladies from the Divacast!

Click here to listen to Show #102, Dr. Susan Johnson, Commonwealth Academy

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