The Heart of Gideon High School

The Heart of Gideon High School

One of my strong motivations for starting Gideon High School was a need I saw with students who truly are suffering in school based on their ADHD and often undiagnosed learning differences. I worked for several years with what is considered the “at risk” population of high school students, and I noticed that their trouble was often centered around the demand that they sit still, face forward, and use internal motivators to stay on task. I am convinced through study and experience that not everyone is made to learn the same way. Yet, by the time students get to their teen years, they are convinced they don’t like school and they just aren’t meant for academics which then increases the behavior issues. 

I believe God made all of us with the capability to learn and succeed (Prov 3:3-4, Prov 2:6-7). I wanted to provide a place for learning that will allow teenagers to earn their high school diploma without having the daily battles that often occur in traditional schools. I also wanted this to be done from a Biblical world view. After doing research I could not find a local high school where all of these features existed together, and I felt led to start something for these struggling students– a place for them to learn the difference between how they learn and their desire to learn and how to grow confident with the talents and skills God gave them.

I know that sometimes it is a matter of a student not having the desire to live in obedience but often it goes hand in hand with the struggles they have had growing up in traditional style schools and feeling like a failure or seeing all adults as being in the middle of a power trip (students’ words) I believe there is a balance that can be achieved in the classroom that will support a new understanding of what God wants for each student, and it does not need to involve a fleshly battle on a daily basis. Our first year Bible course is a brief daily discussion using the book of Proverbs as the background. 

As a new school we are fully prepared with the academic rigor needed for each student to start where they left off in their previous learning and to advance to earn their high school diploma. We focus less on direct instruction and use an online learning platform that we work through with each individual student. We DO have discussions, but they are not the lecture, quiz, lecture, test model. As we grow, we will expand to other campuses in order to keep our sites limited to a lower student/teacher ratio. I have found this works best with students who have not felt supported in traditional settings. 

Added to the Spiritual component of our school is the identification of learning styles and learning needs. If a student needed glasses to see or crutches to walk, we would not deny that. At Gideon High School we feel strongly that the same philosophy should be applied to learning differences, mild neurodiversity, and variable stimulus learning traits.

Cognitively there is a strong connection between ADHD/ADD and dyslexia. This is why I require an assessment for dyslexia and support for learning if this is suspected to be the cause of some of the academic challenge. People with dyslexia do not outgrow dyslexia and can be left feeling as if they aren’t as smart as the average person, when studies show they typically have a higher IQ than their average peers. Often parents fear having their student labeled but, in my experience, identifying how a student learns is the first step in providing the correct learning model for their success. We have a Barton reading specialist who comes in twice weekly to do the reading support. This program is offered for our students and gives the student techniques to use throughout their lives, so they begin to feel empowered as an intelligent individual who is capable of being what God intended them to be. 

I am excited to see our students grown and become confident and contributing adults.

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