Oak Hill Blog

Oak Hill Academy’s executive functioning learning support program offers students a customized pathway to improvement

At Oak Hill Academy, our holistic approach to adolescent growth melds educational outcomes (like GPA and test scores) with gains in executive functioning. The phrase “executive functioning” refers to a set of skills that can serve as markers for adult readiness. Things like time-management, self-discipline, and organizational skills are the low hanging fruit of EF, and our daily structure and routine offer safe boundaries and plenty of adult (and peer) encouragement along well-defined lines of growth. Some learning difficulties, like an ADHD diagnosis, can make executive functioning a more challenging skill for teens to acquire.

Our dual emphasis on academic achievement and life skills offers students the unique opportunity to earn better grades and also to be better prepared for life as young adults. Many parents wonder how to help their child with ADHD manage impulse control, for example, a common difficulty with executive function. On the Hill, everything we do is curriculum. While our academic program and instructional practices are effective at helping high schoolers build solid transcripts, our school community helps emerging adults become competent self-managers. The outcomes we see year after year are embodied in our graduates. Oak Hill alumni are not only ready for the rigors of college study, but also for the navigational nuances of life as independent college freshmen. 

Immersion in our structured school community offers students an opportunity to develop executive functioning skills unhindered.   Students with underdeveloped executive functioning skills might struggle with such things as task prioritization, multi-step planning (for, say, your English paper), or impulsivity.  This can be the result of several different underlying issues – ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and issues related to anxiety and depression all may impact executive function.

No matter the source, managing issues with executive function is no problem   at Oak Hill Academy. We have several popular courses called “ALS” (Applied Learning Strategies) which are effective at addressing executive functioning challenges through personalized coaching at OHA.  And for young people who need additional scaffolding and support, our learning skills specialist who oversees our Learning Lab is highly experienced in supporting students who may be twice exceptional, neurodiverse or possess some other need.  

“The learning support program at Oak Hill has been a vital component in my daughter’s academic success and all around happiness while at Oak Hill. Mrs Dacons’ endless patience and kindness has helped her do a more thorough job with her schoolwork, stay on target with her studies and develop her executive function skills. Under the guidance of Oak Hill, – specifically, with the extra support provided in this class – we have seen Ana mature and develop her independence beyond expectations.” – Sarah M.

In many educational settings, the unique differences, strengths, and needs that each child possesses may not be easily known or adequately recognized. Oak Hill Academy is a college preparatory school – and we recognize that preparedness doesn’t end with the school bell.  Our strengths lie in our community, our academic program, our life skills curriculum, and our love of young people. All of this prepares our students academically, socially, and emotionally for life after high school – helping them become the successful emerging adults we know they can be. 

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