This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Orion School5
Posted February 19, 2013
- a parent
The Orion School has been a positive life changing experience for my bright and talented middle school age son. He has many challenges including ADHD, OCD, Aspergers, dyslexia, and sensory processing disorder (!) The teachers are experienced, dedicated, and creative. They are pushing him academically to stay ahead of grade level. At the same time they are teaching him the ongoing task of learning to self regulate - which they do with firm empathy :) He is getting the most well rounded educational preparation possible for the transition to high school in two years. In small classes of only four students the teachers work hard to make learning interesting which makes all the difference. The program has so many experiential components to keep the academics meaningful it would be hard to list. For example their outdoor classroom has chickens, an organic garden and a worm farm! In short, the Orion School has the highest academic standards, a staff with the training and experience to help my son with his schoolwork and emotions, and a fiercely dedicated and compassionate leadership team. Submitted by a parent
As the Assistant Director and teacher at The Orion School, I am alarmed at the negative comments by former disgruntled employees and parents. We are a school that serves children with neurobehavioral disorders who have not been successful in a traditional school setting. Our teachers use multi-sensory hands-on, researched based experiential teaching methods to allow our students to reach their true potential. We have the most current technology, including and iMac lab, an Interactive Promethian Board, and iPads that enhance our curriculum. We follow the Georgia Performance Standards with a 4:1 student-teacher ratio at all times. Although we have had a turn-over in staffing, our current teachers are better qualified, certified with advanced degrees in Special Education. My own son has Asperger's Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder, so I speak as a parent and a teacher. I am the biggest fan and advocate of our staff and am dedicated to making sure that everyone serves our students' best interest. If you have a child that would fit our population, I would recommend that you visit us and have a tour before making any decisions. Beth Brieske Assistant Director, The Orion School
I have been a teacher at Orion since January of this year. Many things impress me about this school. First, the teachers (current and for next year) either have master's degrees or certification (or both) AND experience with the population of students we serve. Second, I am impressed by the administration's committment to evidence-based practices. Third, I appreciate that teachers are allowed to mold the curriculum to fit the students we work with. Fourth, I respect tremendously that the teachers work together (with the approval of administration) to create behavior intervention plans customized to the students. Fifth, I love that when I have family situations that require my attention (especially given that I have a special needs child of my own), there is never a question. I have all the lattitude I need to meet the needs of my family. Every person, every organization, every company has room to grow. Nevertheless, I suspect there are few schools with directors who are so personally invested in the success of each student as ours. As a parent and an educator, I find tremendous value in that!
As I write this review a side bar appears stating what a great school has.... it shows as: A great school has: Excellent teachers Strong principal/school leadership Challenging academic programs The Orion School has some improvements to make based on these points. While working at The Orion School I struggled as I watched both parents and teachers wanting more for the students. Parents and teachers wanted homework and additional academic time. Parents wanted to push their child to what they knew their child was capable of. Teachers wanted consequences for students that hit teachers and students multiple times. Resistance comes for the leadership at The Orion School. I also saw myself wanting more for me as an employee. I felt as if I was expected to spend evenings and weekends not with my family but working for The Orion School. I always put 100% into what I did but I was treated as if it was not enough. If they support their community and families they should start with the families in their building. Yes.... many of the students are growing socially and some academically, but if you want more for your child think twice about The Orion School.
The Orion School has been a good fit for my son. He no longer dreads going to school each morning. This, in and of itself, is huge for us, considering where we were just a few months ago in the public schools. We have recently been told by a new psychiatrist he has PDD-NOS, meaning he is on the spectrum. My son struggles with anxiety, impulse control and anger, often leading to melt downs at home and in a school setting. A child cannot learn when they are in this heightened state; the skilled and experienced teachers at Orion have seen it all, and help him process through these episodes so that they don t define him. This helps diminish his anxiety and low self esteem, and fosters a more positive self image. I also feel the empathy and understanding from the teachers and staff has been therapeutic for me as well. I hear things like, I understand , that s what we DO here , and Your son is an amazing child, I love having him in my class . These are things parents like us have never heard, and it s wonderful. Of course he s not perfect, the point is, they accept him and take him where he is; it s a process. We all have a story; if you are reading this, you probably have one too.
My son, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome, had terrible experiences in public schools and another private school. My wife and I were at a loss - until we discovered The Orion School. My son has made so much progress and has really flourished there. The teachers and administrators understand how to educate children who learn best in a more supportive, nurturing and experiential environment. We recommend The Orion School to any parents who are looking for a haven for a child who needs just that.
While we are new to the Orion School, we have already begun to see a major transformation in our child. Our child went from extremely anxious and combative to happy and excited about school. Thus far, we have had a great experience!
I am a very happy teacher at The Orion School. Our school specializes in children with neurobehavior disorders, primarily ADHD and anxiety. As teachers, we have a highly supportive administrative team who are always available to provide innovative ideas for high-interest, experiential teaching activities. Rather than being tied to a boring textbook and worksheets, we have the opportunity to use a wide variety of modalities. We use cutting edge technology, including interactive whiteboards, an iMac lab, and iPads to further enhance the curriculum. I so appreciate the opportunity I have to "think outside the box" and educate our students in new and unique ways that are far more meaningful than methods used in traditional schools.
We are new to Orion this year. My son has thrived academically and socially under their wing. He comes home excited about the things he learns and I know that information is being planted and nurtured and that it will grow and become a part of him - not just spit back out on a test, and then lost. The small teacher to student ratio means they can accommodate his fluctuating level of stability, as well as his unique interests. They reward positive behavior and expect the best from my child, which has helped his self-esteem. They focus on the big picture and create opportunities for my son to be successful and share his talents and gifts. I have been very happy with Orion, and my son thinks it is "awesome". When education is interesting, meaningful and above all EXPERIENCED, it becomes a part of you that never leaves- it forms who you will grow up to be! When you feel loved, safe and valued, you keep trying... you grow as a student and a person. When mom doesn't flinch every time the phone rings, mom is happy! I am a mom with three unique kids at three schools - and each is growing to be the best THEY can be. My son has special needs, and Orion specializes in HIM!
In my teaching experience from preschool- to university-level and Montessori to public school education The Orion School is the only place where I, as a teacher, have truly had the opportunity to join a staff that is committed to nurturing the whole child. Our teachers strive to cultivate and strengthen the students' social-emotional and self-regulatory skills, which in turn, facilitates their academic trajectory and ensures meaningful learning. Specifically, we provide a multi-sensory, student-centered approach to education by complementing our curriculum all of which meets Georgia Performance Standards with a variety of hands-on, multi-sensory experiential and enrichment activities. The respective activities help to foster our students' sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy; their ability to engage in healthy, positive social interactions; and their capacity for success in the classroom. As a teacher at The Orion School, I genuinely feel as though the faculty and staff members create an environment in which students feel nurtured and encouraged to continue growing, learning, and flourishing in fulfilling their greatest potential. Best regards, Michael Largin, M.A.