It is not unusual that I ask an upperclassman how he found Briarwood, and the answers are as varied and remarkable as our students! More often than not, the answer begins with, “After I was diagnosed with a learning disability, my mom found the school and thought that we should look at it for me.” And then the story unravels a little more, usually accompanied by the student’s reflection, a pensive and sometimes painful moment. The student, now a high school upperclassman who will soon complete high school and then transition to college, will think back to his freshman year in another school environment, where he was a struggling reader, frustrated and accepting a self-imposed thought that he – with a learning difference – would never earn a high school diploma and surely would become a dropout.
The story continues and weaves into a message of hope, thanks to his parents’ decision to take the leap to Briarwood. Now a confident, self-assured young man whose voice is strong, whose eyes are bright with excitement, whose head is held high, reminisces about how his life has changed since he became a Briarwood student. College-bound, keenly aware of not only the learning challenges he faced but also of the ‘islands of competence’, or strengths that had been overshadowed by all that he could not accomplish, the young man, Class of 2014, readily thanks his teachers, all of whom have immersed him in remediation with purpose and intensity, have re-instilled in him that motivation and excitement to question, to learn, and to become all that he can become. Briarwood has changed my life!
If you are reading our story, more than likely you are a parent who might be where our recent graduate’s parents were just a few years ago – parents who were confused and filled with fear about their child. Through years of experience of being life-long professional ‘learners’, we continue to stay abreast of the leading research in our field. Our success stories could and would fill books…each student’s story is different from the one before. Hope is ignited once more. A life is changed.
You might be a parent whose little one has recently received a diagnosis of a learning difference and who might already be experiencing challenges at school. Through evidence-based research, we know that early intervention will make a world of difference for a child. Following intense remediation that is directed toward a child’s specific areas of need, transitioning to another school will come at different times for each child.
The Briarwood School, who will celebrate its 50th year in 2017, exists to change lives for the better.
Surrounded by highly trained and skilled faculty, led by an administrative team who sets high standards of excellence and who sees the value of ongoing professional development, the Briarwood student receives an education that will give him the skills, strategies and tools to transition to another educational environment when the time is right. The time to transition depends on the impact of the remediation, the social and emotional growth, self-awareness and self-advocacy skills. It takes a team.
We hope that you will take the time to learn more about us by calling and by visiting our campus to see us in action. Within the walls and halls of Briarwood, we have the future: a generation of children, adolescents and young adults who have the potential to change the world. They are our future engineers, architects, teachers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, media specialists, writers, journalists, photographers, chefs. They are our future!
Head of School