Our Approach

Our Approach

The Briarwood School provides a traditional school experience for students who learn in a variety of non-traditional ways.

Academic Divisions
Utilizing the latest research in brain science and constantly drawing from evidence-based best practices, our curriculum is specifically designed with our individual learners’ needs in mind. Our academic program is divided across three divisions and provides students with an array of instructional strategies and multiple avenues to demonstrate growth and understanding.
Teaching & Learning
At Briarwood, teaching and learning is both diagnostic and prescriptive, and, therefore, ever-evolving to meet the needs of each incoming learner.

Lower School

While our approach to teaching and learning is both diagnostic and prescriptive, our Lower School recognizes childhood as an important stage in a student’s social and emotional journey. We embrace fun and play, with time designated daily for physical education and recess, and a weekly rotation of specials class including music, art and makerspace. Students engage in hands-on activities that develop a growth mindset, widen the scope of their worldview, and encourage a curiosity about the world around them. 

Middle School

By Middle School, students begin to self-select from a wide array of elective course offerings as well as from numerous after-school athletic opportunities. Throughout our Middle and Upper School, our program becomes metacognitive, inviting students to become actively engaged in how they learn. As Briarwood students prepare to graduate, they have regained their confidence, rediscovered a love of learning, practiced self-advocacy, and gained the tools necessary to navigate an ever-changing complex world.

Teachers utilize evidence-based curriculum programs while tailoring lessons according to the unique learning profile of each student. Academic class levels range from remediation to college preparatory classes. The outcome is a powerful learning experience that empowers students to become independent and confident learners.

Briarwood graduates pursue college and career opportunities post-high school. Our goal is to cultivate independent and confident learners with self-awareness and the ability to self-advocate.

Upper School

In Upper School, students better understand their strengths and diagnosis, as well as identify which accommodations, strategies, and learning environments benefit them most. Structured learning strategies are taught and practiced across the content areas consistently from one grade level to the next. With a focus on developing executive functioning, character, and organizational skills, our students are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the next step of their journey beyond Briarwood.

Community & Belonging

Community and Belonging are front and center at The Briarwood School.  Social and emotional learning and executive function training is embedded throughout the Briarwood experience, from Lower School T.O.P.S. classes through Middle and Upper School advisories. At Briarwood, our differences unite us.


A Briarwood education is designed to instruct while addressing the learning needs of each student. The psychoeducational evaluation received during the application process, along with its diagnoses and recommendations, enables us to design an educational experience that provides  each student with what they need.

All Briarwood teachers are trained in best-practice dyslexia remediation programs.

With the Wilson Reading System as a foundation, teachers utilize evidence-based programs as a part of the curriculum while tailoring lessons according to the unique learning profiles of students. The outcome is a powerful learning experience that builds on students’ strengths while developing critical skills needed to become independent and confident learners.

In addition to private sessions, a Lower School Speech & Language Pathologist pushes into select classes to team-teach and collaborate with teachers. This collaboration provides students with an enhanced experience within the classroom. By working closely with the speech department, teachers learn best-practice strategies and help all students reach their maximum potential.

Briarwood offers smaller class sizes with groups of approximately 10 or fewer students in academic classes. Through a diagnostic-prescriptive approach, we make academic groupings based on where students are ready to be challenged. This structure allows teachers to customize the learning for each student, weaving together grade-level expectations and skills needing remediation. 

Briarwood's goal is to cultivate independent and confident learners. Not only do we teach students what to learn, we teach them how to learn. We select certain powerful learning strategies to teach from the earliest grades through high school. The end result over time is independence in utilizing these strategies at Briarwood and beyond.

Teachers promote character-building activities in the classroom, and students are encouraged to make right choices and participate in purposeful acts of kindness. Through a unique class called Teaching Opportunities in Pragmatic Skills (T.O.P.S.), TOPS students in grades K-6 are explicitly taught perseverance, grit, growth mindset, and how to cultivate healthy peer relationships. The cumulative effect is a confident, independent learner who can prosper in and out of Briarwood. 

Upper School students collaborated to produce an animated film that offers a unique perspective on the student experience at Briarwood. Presented entirely through the lens of the students themselves, this wordless video encapsulates a heartwarming portrayal of their transformative journey taken at The Briarwood School.

"I have many memories of my Lower, Middle, and Upper School life. I remember the first time I ever came to Briarwood. My mom asked me if I wanted to go to school here. I said no because I didn’t want to wear uniforms. Now that I look back on that I smile because I didn’t understand how much I needed Briarwood and it was going to change my life. In Lower School, I started to realize I was good enough for school. Thank you for always maintaining the vision of Briarwood to help young people like me!"

Visit & Learn More!

The best way to learn about Briarwood and get all of your questions answered is to schedule a tour and speak with one of our admissions members.