Life Skills That Lead to Success
Posted on 05/19/2022
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Math. Engineering. Leadership. 

These are the themes that are woven throughout every day of a student’s education at Garden Hills Academy. With inquiry at the forefront, students are encouraged with the skills and knowledge to succeed—not only academically—but in their communities, personal lives, and future endeavors. 


“At Garden Hills, the communication between school and home makes such a difference,” says Jeremy Simmons. His son Za’mir is an avid reader who loves math and is blossoming with the magnet approach to learning. “He struggles a bit with regulating his emotions, but between his teacher working with him at school, and also communicating regularly with us, we have seen nothing but growth and improvement.”  


ESL teacher, Samantha Howell, explains that the staff at Garden Hills Academy engage students through Habits of Mind, which is a series focused on executive functioning skills to develop as problem solvers and independent learners. “It’s life skills, really,” she said. “How to manage your emotions, planning, and adopt flexible thinking.” The staff reinforces these skills through consistent communication. When a student hits a road block, for instance, Howell will ask “how can we be persistent? Think about your strategies and manage your impulsivity,” which encourages them to use these skills and vocabulary. 


These are the lessons that Simmons is seeing take shape in his son, and with the regular reports from the teacher, he can fortify those skills with Za’mir. “We use the daily reports to measure the day,” he explains. “He can see how he’s doing and use that to self-adjust and regulate himself. The strides his teacher takes to engage with him really help him understand what happened and how to grow from it.” 


The staff at Garden Hills Academy receive professional development training to incorporate the themes of Habits of Mind, cultural competence, cooperative group learning, math and engineering in every lesson. With project-based learning and hands-on experience, the students at Garden Hills are preparing to be independent learners, cooperative leaders, and critical thinkers — setting them up for success in all facets of life. 

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