Cadle repeatedly emphasized Bachman is a school for intelligent students with learning disabilities. Many of the students have high IQs. It is their disability which makes it difficult for them to either fully express their knowledge or complete basic problems.
“Imagine you are an 11th-grade boy from Canada with an above average IQ with dreams of taking over his father’s furniture business. However, you can’t recite a single multiplication fact.”
Students from eight states and four countries attended the academy for the 2012-13 school year.
Each student has a story to tell.
“A ninth-grade girl from Texas has a lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian, but she can’t name the letters of the alphabet. That is something that happens,” Cadle said before explaining age is not necessarily a determinant of what the school’s students know.
Continued Cadle, “A sixth-grade boy with an artistic talent has dreams of becoming an illustrator, if only he could read the stories.”
Classes focus heavily on experimental learning. One activity might be students paddling in canoes while a teacher reads aloud a book. Another might find students reading “Huckleberry Finn” building a raft to parallel the main characters’ actions in the books.
Learning through experiments allows Bachman’s students to see value in what they are learning. Cadle said the way most people learn is often not the same for students with learning disabilities. She explained to Kiwanis members students at Bachman would not be able to learn and regurgitate information the same way the members might. Students need to see where they are going to use the information in their life.
Bachman is both a boarding and day school for grades six through 12. Families choose whether their child will board with the school throughout the year, come home on weekends or be transported daily. Every graduating student receives a diploma recognized by the state.
Classes offered at Bachman include four career-focused electives: equine studies, mechanics, woodworking/carpentry and horticulture/agriculture.
“Each of the kids spend class time in each of these four classes and [equine studies] tends to be the favorite,” Cadle said. “They learn everything from feeding and care [of the horses] to barrel racing.”
Cadle ended her presentation by listing additional ways Bachman is different:
- A low teacher-student ratio
- Small class sizes
- Shorter class periods
- Individual reading and math instruction
- Resources to strengthen weak social skills and handle the following disabilities, among others: dyscalculia, nonverbal learning disorder, central auditory processing disorder, dysgraphia and visual processing disorders.
In other news, Jaynese Waddell and state Rep. Eric Watson were inducted as new members into the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland.