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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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The Marshall School: One Size Does Not Fit All

The Marshall School’s individualized approach to education is helping more children than ever achieve academic, social and life-skills success.

When your child struggles with school, it can be enormously stressful. As a parent, you want to figure out why your child is behind in math, reading, or the executive skills needed to manage school assignments, but traditional school curricula often don’t provide space for the investigatory work needed to truly discover where the breakdown is.

This is exactly why the Marshall School was founded by Director Christina Carson in 2006. This K-12 private school in Spotsylvania County has a mission to integrate cognitive, academic, social, and behavior strategies into a comprehensive program designed to educate the whole child, empowering them with the skills and confidence necessary for success in education, careers and life.

The Marshall School takes pride in investing in its students, going above and beyond to meet their social, emotional and educational needs, but also in providing a place where they feel safe, nurtured and a sense of community and belonging. The school’s smaller environment and customized learning programs are good for all children and have been found to be particularly helpful for children diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing disorders, learning disabilities, and executive function disorders.

 In recent years, more and more families have discovered the difference that this approach makes. Enrollment at the school has grown by more than 150% in the past 3 years, and school leaders are actively seeking locations where this successful educational approach can reach even more children in the Fredericksburg area.

What does the Marshall School’s approach look like in a typical school day?

  • Students learn at the pace their brains are ready for; not the pace that a standardized test dictates. Just because a child is behind in math skills in sixth grade, that doesn’t mean they’re “bad at math.” Giving them the extra time they need to develop computational skills can help them move along, and the Marshall School has seen students make multiple grade levels’ worth of progress in a single year with this approach.
  • Students are honored for their academic achievements AND for their gifts, talents and personalities. From musicality to empathy, the Marshall School’s signature awards ceremony ensures that the whole child is celebrated.
  • Executive function and important life skills are not afterthoughts at the Marshall School. High school students receive practical, hands-on instruction in budgeting, buying insurance, filing taxes, as well as other skills such as checking oil, putting air in tires, sewing, cooking and meal planning. Students learn how to manage their time, as well as important organizational strategies that will help them study, take tests, apply for jobs or run a business after they leave school.

To really understand the Marshall School, listen to what the parents themselves say:

“When my oldest got to sixth grade, he was years behind in reading, even with two to three years of special education and extra reading classes and outside tutoring. He became so frustrated and started to shut down. I could literally see the light going out in him and his self-esteem was greatly damaged. That is when we decided to try the Marshall School for seventh grade. They immediately took him in with caring arms. They started working on building a connection with him. They believe building a relationship with each of their students is a crucial part of teaching. And they couldn’t be more right. It took some time, but he started coming out of his shell and the walls he put up came down. They helped give him his confidence back, and showed him that he can do hard things with the right type of guidance and the skills he needed to keep on task and the support needed to bring him to his greatest potential.”

“The Marshall School places a high priority on individual assessment of each student’s strengths and areas of weakness/challenge to design an instructional approach that bolsters a child’s confidence in their weak areas while also continuing to foster growth in their areas of strength. There are no labels at TMS. Students who are struggling with learning challenges aren’t ‘slow’—they are appreciated and celebrated for their unique abilities.”

“Our son, who was diagnosed with ADHD and slow processing, started attending the school in second grade after attending public school for his first two years. During those first years, he struggled to keep up with the teachers’ expectations, and found math challenging. He rarely finished his assignments within the time provided. After attending TMS for second and third grade, we have seen a remarkable improvement in his processing speed and math competence. He’s been so successful at TMS because his teachers recognized his slow processing, modified their expectations of him, and provided him with one-on-one sessions throughout the week targeting his slow processing. The teachers are concerned about their students’ competence of the material and less concerned about finishing a worksheet. Beyond the academic benefits, the school values each student as a person and teaches respectful social skills which creates a bully-free environment.”

Could the Marshall School be the right fit for your child? The best way to find out is to contact the school. To learn more, visit TheMarshallSchool.org or call 540/412-0992.

Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling is an award-winning journalist who helps Fredericksburg Parent and Family's advertisers tell valuable stories through magazine advertorials and videos. Emily also produces content for a wide variety of other clients and outlets. Find her on LinkedIn and at emilyfreehling.com.

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