By Chelsea Pyne
Nineteen words lay the foundation for The Piedmont School: “The Piedmont School strives daily to be the educational oasis that quenches the thirst of students who learn differently.” This mission helps create a unique setting in which each student can rise to their own potential. Hands-on learning comes from hands-on teaching. The Piedmont School’s approach to learning is designed around individual needs and executed with complementary teaching strategies. Teachers identify goals and are able to plan and implement a curriculum around their students’ abilities. This process ensures that each student reaches their potential, no matter the challenges they face. The Piedmont School realizes there is no one way of learning a subject, no simple route to mastering a skill–and that is where their job begins.
Founded in 1982, The Piedmont School (TPS) caters to children with learning differences. The school has grown from the four original students to over eighty today and has become a community resource in educating students with learning differences. Students that attend The Piedmont School come from over six different counties which is a testament to its growth and success. TPS specializes in educating children with ADHD and language based learning differences such as dyslexia. When traditional learning environments falter, parents come to TPS for individually tailored curriculums.
Head of School, Tim Montgomery explained, “When students enter The Piedmont School, they can immediately take a breath, feel relief from fighting the system, and enjoy a place where they are accepted and encouraged to learn and grow. We focus on promoting respect and responsibility designed to foster healthy social skills and enhance self-esteem.” This is the most effective way for children to adapt. TPS staff also provides guidance, feedback, and advocacy for parents during the evaluation and diagnosis process.
Director of Communications, Kori Mackall explained, “The matriculation we have seen comes from the school’s journey from a transitional school to now a preferred destination school. Students receive everything here at The Piedmont School that they would find in any other school: music, art, drama, PE, athletic teams, after-school clubs, field trips, and so on. All of this is available while maintaining our most important element–small class sizes. Our reading, writing, and math classes block out at a 1:6 teacher to student ratio. Our social studies, science, specials, and PE classes block out at 1:12 teacher to student ratio.”
Even with the continuous enrollment growth the school has experienced, especially over the last four years, classroom sizes have remained the same. “We maintain a small class student-teacher ratio with five to twelve students per class. We do this in order to establish a supportive, non-intimidating atmosphere in the classroom. For our teachers, the heart and soul of their mission is to create a warm, family atmosphere designed to help the students they teach. They also are committed to guiding parents in how to best assist their children in overcoming the hurdles that have prevented them from being successful in school,” Tim added. The enrollment growth has been consistent in every grade kindergarten through high school and thus a new building is also on the horizon. Students and staff are looking forward to the addition of a gymnasium, two science labs, eight classrooms, a teacher workroom, and locker rooms in the next few years.
In addition to their teaching methodologies, TPS prides itself on the integration of an Arts education into the daily curriculum. Research shows that exposure to the Arts (drama, music, visual art, etc.) has a positive impact not only on a student’s creativity, but also on their social, cognitive, and emotional growth. All students at TPS participate in the integrated Arts curriculum. All students receive music class once a week through the partnership with the NC Music Academy. Students also receive art and drama twice a week. The Piedmont School showcases their Arts education with a culminating whole school performance in a musical each year. All students participate in the musical, the set design, and all other preparations for performance. The school has performed musicals such as The Lion King, The Seussical, and Aladdin.
This year, The Piedmont School will be showcasing their Arts department with a performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Thursday, April 13. Showtime is at 6:00 p.m. at the Great Life Community Center at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on W. Farriss Avenue in High Point. The musical is free and open to the community.
Enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year is already underway as well as registration for summer programs. Tours are scheduled on an individual basis by calling the school. The Piedmont School is located at 815 Old Mill Road, High Point. For more information on programs and registration call 336.883.0992 or visit www.ThePiedmontSchool.com. The school also keeps an up to date Facebook page with reminders and events for parents and families.