Literacy: English Language Arts & Reading Intervention
Literacy instruction is at the heart of the Spring Valley School curriculum. In English Language Arts, students develop their reading comprehension, writing skills, vocabulary, and grammar. Audiobooks allow the students to access grade-level, and above-grade-level, reading materials. This enables students to build their reading comprehension, world knowledge, and vocabulary even if they struggle with traditional eye reading. Similarly, students benefit from the ability to use voice typing as an instructional accommodation for written composition. Teachers receive ongoing professional development by taking classes, such a Neuhaus’s Multisensory Grammar and Writing Composition courses, and attending conferences.
The reading intervention program at Spring Valley makes us unique among Alabama schools. All students who have a dyslexia diagnosis or a demonstrated need receive reading intervention daily, in addition to their regular English Language Arts instruction. Spring Valley’s reading interventionists are all highly-trained; they are all either graduates of the three-year Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALTs) program, or currently enrolled in it. The reading interventionists teach students using the Neuhaus Basic Language Skills curriculum, a research-based program that is specifically designed to teach people with dyslexia how to read. In addition to addressing phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency, BLS also develops students’ vocabulary, comprehension, composition, and metacognitive skills. Reading intervention holistically addresses students literacy needs, equipping them for success both inside and outside the classroom.
Spring Valley serves students with a wide range of math skills. Students who struggle with math benefit from the individualized approach to math instruction. Math-U-See, a program for teaching math using manipulatives, is used by teachers at all three levels. This unique program transforms math instruction into a multi-sensory process, a critical requirement for many students with learning differences. Spring Valley is committed to identifying and correcting gaps and misconceptions in students’ mathematical understanding. To this end, math intervention is offered to students in Lower, Middle, and Upper School. Similar to reading intervention, students receive math intervention in addition to their regular classroom instruction.
While Spring Valley serves many students who struggle with math, including students with dyscalculia, some of our students are quite gifted in math. These students benefit from individualized schedules that allow them to take more advanced math courses, including courses with accelerated pacing.
Spring Valley’s math teachers receive professional development by taking courses in hands-on math instruction and attending national conferences.
"SVS gave me a place to rediscover my ability to succeed. My teachers were accommodating to my learning differences and taught me how to overcome my difficulties." - Zach Atkins, SVS Alum 2017
At Spring Valley, instruction is focused on addressing students’ unique challenges by using creative, individualized instruction to reach each child. We strive to provide research-based instruction in order to most effectively reach our students. Teachers incorporate explicit, multi-sensory teaching methods across the curriculum in order to complement their students’ unique learning needs.
Our curriculum is aligned with the Alabama state standards and we are accredited by AdvancED. Graduates receive either a regular or an advanced diploma.
Students in all grade levels take science. Teachers employ a variety of hands-on activities and experiments to facilitate student learning and retention. Traditional courses, such as biology and physical science, are offered in middle and high school. In addition, depending on student interest and scheduling availability, upperclassmen can take science electives such as forensics and zoology.
Enables students to better understand the world in which they live, from learning about our country’s past to discovering the enduring influence of the Greeks and the Romans. Hands-on projects make history lessons memorable. Teachers frequently nurture cross-curricular instruction by integrating literacy instruction in social studies and vice versa.
Electives permit students to build upon the skills they learn in the traditional classroom. They also foster students’ creativity. The list of offered electives varies by semester, but they include:
Spanish I & II
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
Physical and H.E.A.L. Wellness Education
American Sign Language