Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “STUDENTS WHO LEARN DIFFERENTLY?"
Every person learns differently. Traditional schooling rewards only a narrow range of learning styles. Students are all too often diagnosed according to a “deficit model” that defines them by what they don’t do well.
Although diagnoses can be valuable, they also can contribute to a self-fulfilling prophesy of anxiety and systematic school failure. At MCP we define students by how they learn best, and we carefully and compassionately push them to confront their learning challenges. We don’t assume they are “deficient” and we understand they are “different.”
A student with dysgraphia, for example, is a person who writes differently. At MCP we help her to understand how she writes. She may find that she is among the handful of people in history that make lasting, significant contributions to knowledge, technology or the arts. Many outstanding historical contributions, by the way, were also made by people who “learned differently.”
WHAT MAKES MCP DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SCHOOLS THAT SPECIALIZE IN LEARNING DIFFERENCES?
1. A real pathway to college for students that learn differently
We provide a wide range of educational options from a high school diploma to advanced college preparation. We are fully accredited by WASC, and our courses are approved by the University of California a-g system.
We personalize social, emotional and academic education to meet the individual student’s way of learning and post graduation plans.
We specialize in diverse learners, not a specific disability. We apply a range of programs and models to fit the learner’s needs. We understand that people are complex and have both strengths and areas for growth.
2. Students become their own masters
We teach students not to accept negative self-concepts, but to embrace a positive vision for a future that is truly their own.
We educate students for adult life beyond high school. We foster the student’s capacity for independence and resilience as an adult.
We teach students metacognition and self-advocacy. Students are taught to know how they learn best and to articulate what they need to accomplish a task or to reach a goal.
3. A Safe and Dynamic Social Environment
We are a school that feels like a home. Our warm and casual learning environment has clear structures and routines, but does not feel ridged or stuffy.
Students experience democratic influence and choice over issues that affect and concern them most at school.
Students are encouraged to express themselves and to be physically, socially and intellectually comfortable at school.
4. Diversity and Collaboration
We work together with a student’s support providers to create a consistent, comprehensive, wrap-around experience. This includes Psychologists, Educational Therapists, Doctors, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists and others.
We maintain a balanced mix of learners with different learning styles and accommodations. This provides a diversity of experience that is more representative of college and adult life. We define our students by their strengths and abilities, and then build their education around their specific goals and needs. Students learn as much from their peers as they do from teachers. By going to school with a diverse population, students learn a wide variety of techniques to overcome perceived or real obstacles to success as learners.
CAN MY STUDENT GO TO A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE UPON GRADUATION FROM MCP?
Yes. We prepare students for college and adult life. MCP is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and we provide a complete a-g University of California approved high school curriculum. Within this framework we provide flexibility, choice and high interest electives to meet the student’s post-graduation plans.
We work closely with the student and family to develop a clear and relevant post high school plan. This plan drives decisions about the student’s class schedule, preparation for ACT or SAT testing, job shadowing, and internship opportunities.
CAN MY STUDENT STILL GO TO COLLEGE, EVEN IF SHE STARTS AT MCP BELOW GRADE LEVEL?
Yes. Our educational program provides individualized planning based on your student’s abilities upon entry. Some students will need more support than others, and some may need more time to be adequately prepared for the college experience.
In 2014-2015 we started our Fundamentals of College Readiness class to address our student populations’ need for both remediation and acceleration. This class supports the development of basic math, reading and writing interventions, while providing directed support to dig deeper into areas of strength.
HOW DOES YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM WORK?
Middle school students have dramatically different social and emotional needs from high school students. Our middle school program has a lead teacher that specializes in this age group. Middle schoolers take most of their core coursework together and attend math and elective classes with the high school group. Middle schoolers enrolled in high school courses may meet prerequisites for high school graduation. Middle schoolers have specific criteria they must meet to be promoted into the high school program.
WHAT IS THE MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMOTION CRITERIA?
Students are promoted when they show they are academically ready to take high school math and English classes. Students also show they have developed social/emotional awareness and are ready to move between classes (and teachers), record assignments and interact positively in a teen-age social environment.