Teens Get a Jump on College in Summer High School Program at Landmark College
by Solvegi Shmulsky
For “Rising Juniors and Seniors,” the Landmark College High School Program will open its 12th year on Sunday July 7 and run for three weeks. With over 140 students attending summer 2012 and more expected this year, the High School Program is a vibrant living and learning opportunity—in a beautiful summer setting—for students with learning differences. This year a new “Social Pragmatics” track is offered for students who have strong academic potential but struggle adapting to social atmospheres. Whether participants have ADHD, dyslexia, or an autism spectrum condition, Summer Program Director Lee Crocker hopes that they come away with “increased enthusiasm, confidence and skills to go to college—because they realize they can do it.”
The High School Program is founded on two key ideas in contemporary education. First, that a greater connection between high school and college will improve outcomes for students in the U.S.—an idea that underpins the Obama Administration’s plan to “redesign America’s high schools.” Landmark College High School Program adds to the high school-college connection by giving up-and-coming Juniors and Seniors a greater understanding of what college is like. Students live on a college campus, navigate life with a roommate, and attend classes designed especially for them.
Second, that in order to achieve the highest possible level of post-secondary success, high school students should increase their academic self-discipline, social engagement, and commitment to college—a recommendation based on extensive research by the standardized testing giant ACT. The High School Program at Landmark College focuses on these areas by spurring student engagement. Students do serious academic work while they develop meaningful social ties and stronger academic routines.
By making connections between high school and college—for students and faculty, and by arming students who learn differently with valuable academic skills and social savvy, the High School Program at Landmark College fills an important void in the broad system of education. More importantly, it gives students from across the country the opportunity for “new friends, major breakthroughs in academic skills, and fun,” according to Crocker.
How does the High School Program work? Students ages 16-18 who learn differently attend the Landmark College campus in July for three weeks of intense learning balanced with social time and activities. They take three academic courses each weekday, participate in a robust activities program every afternoon, attend structured academic prep programs four nights a week, and attend group programs and activities each weekend. The highly trained academic and residential staff specializes in universal design, learning differences and college readiness.
“My highest hopes–and my goals—for participants are that they leave Putney with stronger academic skills and that they have an increased confidence in their ability to go away to college,” said Crocker. “I hope that the high school students have made connections with professors who understand them, that they have made new friends and that they are now eager to finish up their high school career using skills they learned with us as generations of students have done in previous programs.”
Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today Landmark College, offering two and four-year degree options, and summer programs for high school students and students visiting from other colleges, is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. Students, faculty, and other professionals from all over the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model, one designed through research and practice to help all students who learn differently become confident, self-empowered, and independently successful learners.