The Briarwood Lower School program is structured to meet the needs of the student with a diagnosed learning difference who has not reached his/her academic potential in traditional school environments. The program is effective because of smaller class size, dedicated, highly trained educators, and a research based-diagnostic, prescriptive curriculum.
A Typical Day in Lower School
Language Arts & Math
Primary students are immersed in research-based programs utilizing a structured literacy approach. Each primary student receives two and one-half hours of small group instruction per day in language arts to include:
- A systematic and repetitive phonics and spelling program
- Research-based reading programs utilizing a structured literacy approach
- Cursive handwriting
Each primary student receives one hour of math instruction per day to include:
- Curricula focusing on number sense
- Concepts reduced to manageable steps
- Simplified language
These grade levels are departmentalized and students have individualized schedules. Students receive one hour of instruction in each area daily:
- Reading classes include programs that develop decoding and encoding skills to build fluency, and comprehension skills, including building background knowledge, vocabulary, sentence comprehension and verbal reasoning.
- Math classes are taught utilizing multi-sensory methods with curriculum aligned to Texas state standards and grade level concepts.
- Language Arts classes utilize a structured approach to teaching students the underlying components crucial to developing an understanding of the writing process and confidence as a writer. Also during this time students use a structured approach to spelling and become proficient using cursive handwriting.
- Science / Social Studies classes are aligned with the Texas state standards. Concepts are taught utilizing hands-on, experiential methods.
- Core Elective Lab
All Students (K through Grade 6)
- Visit The Moody Library / Technology Center weekly
- Enjoy a hot lunch in the cafeteria
- Participate daily in P.E. utilizing a full size gym as well as a track & field
- Attend specialty classes: Music, Art, & TOPS
- Play at recess (K – 4) and on equipment on the covered playground
Intervention Labs (Grades 4-6)
Intervention Labs are designed to deliver intensive small-group intervention in an area specific to the needs of each student.
These students are identified as fluent readers, but struggle with comprehension. Programs used include:
- Visualizing & Verbalizing (Lindamood-Bell)
- The Comprehension Toolkit (Stephanie Harvey)
- The Key Three Routine (Joan Sedita)
These students need to enhance written language skills in the form of enrichment or remedial writing. Programs used include:
- Writing Matters (William Van Cleave)
- Keys to Literacy (Joan Sedita)
- Writing Skills (Diana Hanbury King)
This lab is for students who need to enhance written language skills in the form of enrichment or remedial writing. Programs developed by specialists in the field of written language are used in this class.
- Decoding labs are designed for children with specific reading disabilities such as dyslexia. Students work with a reading specialist to develop decoding and encoding skills and build fluency.
- Comprehension Lab is designed for students who are identified as fluent readers, whostruggle with comprehension. Programs in these labs build metacognitive strategies such as visualizing, making connections, drawing conclusions, and making inferences. Vocabulary instruction is also a focus of this class.
Students with math deficits work on fact fluency, solving word problems, or other areas of need as identified in the classroom. Programs used are multi-sensory and systematic.
Additional Course & Programs
No Place For Hate®
The Briarwood School is an ADL No Place for Hate school, creating and sustaining an inclusive school environment promoting respect for individual differences while challenging bigotry and prejudice.
Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)
Required for all students (grades 3 – 6)
Students are required to read aloud nightly for 20 minutes at an independent reading level as recommended by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia, 2003.
Required for all students
This researched and evidence-based reading fluency program, developed by Ken Campbell, was designed for students with significant reading and/or fluency problems.
Landmark Master Notebook System
Required for all students (grades 3 – 6)
Through the Landmark System, developed by Joan Sedita, Briarwood emphasizes and directly teaches organizational skills. The goal:
- Organize materials, assignments, and study time
- Use notebooks, assignment books, organizational apps, & note-taking skills
- Apply organizational skills independently
- Treat organizational skills as part of the curriculum