Odessa and her family’s search for the perfect boarding school was brought to a close the second they came across The Forman School. Instantly, she was no longer eagerly anticipating a response from the other 12 schools she applied to. Their decision was made.
She looks back at her beginnings at the school as an unforgettable chapter in her academic journey. Her first week was filled with interaction and exploration. Odessa remembers being so excited the day she arrived that she forgot to bid her parents farewell. Her mood began to dwindle throughout the day, but thankfully, her peers came to her rescue.
“With no hesitation, everyone gathered in the common room before putting on ‘The Blind Side’ — my favourite movie. The AOD, Ms. Fenton, even picked up snacks for us,” she reminisces. “At that moment, I knew those girls would be by my side forever and always. The way the community rallied behind me clarified it.’’
At The Forman School, it’s easy to forge meaningful connections like these. Ms. Fenton is one of the many educators who made an impact on Odessa’s experience. Today, she is a high-honour roll sophomore at St. Lawrence Academy, majoring in psychology with a minor in education.
“Throughout my ups and downs, they assured me that I had the talent and ability to accomplish my dreams,’’ she says. “I owe it all to them. They believed in me even when I didn’t, and they are still being my biggest supporters even though I’m miles away at college.’’
Located in Litchfield, Connecticut — a fine example of a late 18th century New England town — the school provides a holistic academic experience to its 236 students. Here, the goal is to ensure young talents diagnosed with learning differences such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and executive function deficits are guaranteed the four-year college experience they deserve — and more. Odessa is a fine example they’re succeeding, but so is every Forman graduate — 100% of them get into the colleges or universities of their choice.
A suite of offerings contributes to these impressive outcomes. The classic college-prep curriculum sets the foundation, equipping students with the knowledge to excel in English, mathematics, history, and science.
The Cognition and Learning Department acts as a major driving force that provides a unique education to unique learners. Forman’s mission is to be a centre for scientific and practical studies, identifying the best methods that should be used to teach students with learning differences. While students reap the benefits of its findings, educators have a lot to gain as well. The department also runs a robust professional development programme to keep their practices relevant and effective.
This department is a natural extension of Forman’s mission — offering courses that teach reading, metacognitive strategies, math support, and executive function coaching. Each is comprehensive and customisable to meet the individual needs of every student as they build on and improve their academic skills.
It’s an approach to education that is immersive, collaborative, and nurturing. “In Introduction to Microbiology with Ms. Welshans we got to grow bacteria in petri dishes and study them while trying to determine what natural antibiotics would work best to stop the spread,” enthuses student Aidan. “My second favourite class is Geography with Mr. Palmese because we talk about economics a lot. Once we also ended up playing an online game to see who could make the most fake money in the stock market,’’ he shares.
At Forman, academics certainly come first, but extra-curricular activities are just as important. Aidan is just as enthusiastic about his time outside the classroom. A natural athlete, he enjoys football, wrestling, and baseball — all of which has inspired him to seek out a college that will allow him to excel in sports, much like Forman has. He is also a member of the Social Media Club.
When Aidan is ready to take his next academic step, he’ll be prepared, just as Odessa was. By collaborating with the professional College Counselling Department, students grasp the basics of test-taking, essay-writing, and ultimately applying to the right institution. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to student development at Forman.
“Having a study hall at Forman proved that a regular routine helps with time management and organisation,” Odessa shares. ‘’Classes offered were rigorous and challenging which helped with preparation of college courses. I never had an assignment where I felt unprepared as Forman gave me the confidence to believe in my ability.’’