GAINESVILLE, Ga.- Ava White Academy is pleased to announce that it is now Academy of Innovation, a new name and 501 (c)(3) status that provide an opportunity to enhance the school’s learning environment and make its services available to more students in the community.
“We were seeing a consistent flow of students applying for our program who would benefit from our unique and intensive learning environment, but did not have the means to afford private school tuition,” said Ava White, M.Ed., WDT, and founder of Ava White Academy. “Coupled with the strategic program growth outlined by our board and a focus on creating an enhanced learning environment for our students, it was time to take the next step in our organization’s journey.”
By becoming a 501 (c)(3) institution, Academy of Innovation will be able to receive grants, endowments, scholarships and gifts “to help take us to the next level and make our growing vision a reality,” White added.
More than 35 years ago, Ava White started a private tutoring practice, Ava Whit Tutorials, which was open to any student who had learning difficulties. As her tutoring service grew, White also saw more students of all ages struggling to learn how to read and write. Driven to find an answer for these students, she discovered the scientifically-based, multi-sensory Wilson Reading Program®.
White said she soon desired the ability to provide more intensive instruction in a full-day classroom setting in addition to Ava White Tutorials, and in 2007, Ava White Academy opened its doors to four students facing a variety of learning challenges.
Now with 28 students and five teachers, AOI is an accredited 501(c)(3) private school boasting a personalized and positive approach to teaching children in grades 1 through 12. The school complements the community’s rich educational system with innovative approaches and proven research-based teaching methods that individually address the needs of students facing learning barriers and unlock their hidden potential. Ava White Tutorials remains an affiliated partner of the school and will continue to operate out of the same facility.
From specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADD/ADHD, to learning disabilities that are a “by-product” of another diagnosis like epilepsy or autism, to students who struggle in a traditional classroom setting, AOI aims to strengthen students’ learning skills so they can succeed in any learning environment.
What makes AOI truly innovative?
- All AOI teachers are required to earn Wilson Level 1 Certification, a rigorous 90-hour class that entails 60 lessons with an individual student, five observations and a computer class.
- Low student/teacher ratios allowing teachers the flexibility to support each student’s individual learning style.
- Ability to develop custom curriculum tailored to each student’s learning needs that allow students to learn at their own pace with no pressure to pass a student along before he/she is ready.
- A balance of traditional classroom instruction with more than 140 online courses administered by a staff facilitator for personal support.
- A compassionate, nurturing environment that removes barriers to learning while challenging students to excel and reach their full potential.
- The ability to complement to the community’s educational system and help catch up or prepare a student and “graduate” them back into a community school system when ready.
In 2015 Lizzie and Ashton Cromartie began school at Ava White Academy (AWA). The year before entering school at AWA, Lizzie was struggling to make passing grades and be promoted to the next grade in high school. Ashton was living in fear of moving to the third grade because he still could not read. While both students received special education services in their public schools, it was not enough. That is when their parents found AWA.
“There is no doubt about it that my grandchildren were struggling,” Julia Cromartie said. “Then we found Ava White Academy and it was like a light at the end of a tunnel. This school is filled with miracle workers who have made readers out of my grandchildren – my grandson is even writing plays in his spare time now.”
After completing one year in school at AWA, Lizzie had read 42 books, completed eight high school credits and gained self-confidence. Ashton had read 47 books, and his reading scores went from kindergarten-first grade level to third-fourth grade levels, and writing skills tests scores show he is well above third grade level.
“I don’t like to think about where we would be without AWA,” Yvette Cromartie said. “They have taken our thankfully different children and not just tried to fit them into a box and a set of standards, but met them where they were, figured out how they learn, and now they are thriving.”
Austin Powell began school at AWA in 2014. Like many learning disabled or dyslexic students at AWA, math, listening and comprehension skills were his strengths while reading, writing and spelling were significantly weaker. According to his 2014 school records, Austin was entering the sixth grade reading on a first-grade reading level.
After one year at AWA, Austin’s reading scores were ranging from third to fifth grade level. During the following year, his reading scores rose to seventh grade level and he received the school’s Top Reader Award. In addition, he was recently recognized by Learning Ally as being in their top 10 percent of readers in the nation for the calendar year 2016.
“Academy of innovation has allowed Austin to excel in the areas that come more naturally to him while having his learning differences supported,” Kristin Powell said. “They have infused a love for reading that is invaluable – in fact, I cannot get him to stop reading now.”
“At AOI, we see students like Austin, Ashton, Lizzie and many others excel and reach their full potential,” White said. “Our kids learn compassion, they learn self-confidence, and they learn how to succeed in the world around them. This has been an incredible journey of the heart for me. I have a passion for learning, a passion for teaching and a passion for these kids. ”
To learn more about AOI, call 770-536-6898 or visit their new website at wherelearningtakesflight.org.