Directed Studies

Learning to Reach Your Maximum Potential


Photo by: Meg Boone

Directed Studies teachers, Tammy O’Hanlon, Melissa Jornod, Jan Williams, Beverly Dooley, Lori Petrowski, Mary Utzig stop and pose for a picture. Not pictured Janelle Huffman

Madison Yates, Staff Writer

McKinney Christian Academy offers a program called Directed Studies that “provides the necessary scaffolding for our college-bound students with mild to moderate learning differences.” MCA offers Directed Studies for Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School. Along with offering support for MCA students, Directed Studies offers an Evaluation Center, Speech Services, and a Teacher Training Program.

The Lower School program offers small classes in Multisensory Math and a Reading program called Take Flight. The Middle School offers small groups in both English and Multisensory Math. Finally, the Upper School program offers small groups in English and Multisensory Math, and also a class on Study Skills and Strategies. The Directed Studies academic support assists students with recognized learning differences to achieve their maximum potential. The teachers in the Directed Studies program work with the regular education teachers to help match the demands of the class with the skills of the particular student. The goal of the Directed Studies program is to help the students master assignment sheets, organizational skills, self-advocacy, time management, memory skills, and test-taking strategies. Also, it helps students master enhancement of comprehension skills, math skills, and language arts skills. In order to be eligible for Directed Studies, a student must show a diagnosed mild to moderate need.

The Evaluation Center is another section of the Directed Studies program. The assessments are for students who are experiencing inconsistency in their academics or difficulty due to problems of academic performance, attention, emotional issues and/or behavior. The testing is also for young children, to provide a complete understanding of the child’s developmental profile and to recognize the strengths and weaknesses that he or she may exhibit in school. The assessments are not only to test a student’s academic skills, but performance, and to discover underlying abilities.

The Directed Studies program also offers Speech Services. The Speech Services at MCA include evaluations, recommendations, and treatment in the areas of receptive and expressive language, voice, articulation, and fluency disorders. Therapy services are normally provided twice a week for 30 minutes. They are centered around each particular student’s goals while using engaging, creative, and appropriate games.

Along with classes for MCA students, the Directed Studies program offers Multisensory Teacher Training. It is used to “develop and train certified Academic Language Therapists and Academic Language Teachers in the field of Dyslexia and related disorders using an Orton-Gillingham based multisensory structured language therapy program.” The teachers are not just from MCA, but also from many other schools. The goal for MTT is to train therapists to successfully teach Dyslexic and Attention Deficit Disorder learners to read, write, and spell. Also, to develop therapists who understand Dyslexia and related disorders, and to start every teacher with a student during the second week of training.

The McKinney Christian Directed Studies program gives many opportunities for both students and teachers to grow in their knowledge. Students are given opportunities to learn at the pace they need and keep up with their peers, and teachers are able to learn how to teach students through the Teacher Training program.