Fort Salonga Elementary School is a public school serving approximately 543 K-3 students in the Kings Park Central School District in Kings Park (Long Island), NY.
Fort Salonga Elementary School Principal Arlene Mullin comments, “We were initially drawn to the All Kinds of Minds approach as a way to help us reduce the number of students referred to special education services. Not only has the number of referrals declined each year following our initial training, but armed with a comprehensive view of how learning occurs, our teachers are now able to help all students understand their own learning strengths and weaknesses and guide them in becoming self-directed learners who are ready to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
At Fort Salonga Elementary Child Study and CSE meetings teachers now use language compatible with the All Kinds of Minds philosophy. They have a different focus when writing comments on report cards and when drafting IEP goals, stressing students’ positive aspects rather than negative learning traits. Students are encouraged to think about their academic strengths and weaknesses and regularly discuss their learning profiles. Ms. Mullin notes, “All Kinds of Minds has provided our school with a framework enabling us to put a new learning model in place …..to shift our focus from “what to teach” to “how to learn.”
Since 2004, 92 percent of the instructional staff have participated in the Schools Attuned course. Initially, teachers viewed the training as a way to better prepare to address the learning needs of students struggling to learn …..to be skilled practioners able to differentiate instructional strategies to help students learn more efficiently. The All Kinds of Minds philosophy serves as the conceptual framework guiding all facets of teaching and learning at Fort Salonga Elementary School. Course participation was the first step in creating a blueprint for changing the school’s culture.
Among the implements Fort Salonga School has added to its teacher toolbox to transform its instructional practices and empower students as learners are the Attuning a Student process, the online Lesson Plans Library, and the All Kinds of Minds Fair, which helps parents learn about the teaching and learning model used at the school.