Learning differences can prevent students from reaching their full potential. The Janus School designs strategies for each child; these strategies are intended to aid learning and socialization for the rest of their lives. Three divisions comprise The Janus School: the Lower Division which includes kindergarten through fifth grades, the Middle Division which includes grades sixth through eighth, and the Upper Division with ninth through twelfth grades. All programs utilize a variety of strategies: one-to-one tutoring for all first-year students, optional one-to-one tutorial in subsequent years, small classroom sizes, "tricks that stick" long after school lets out, and a genuine love of and respect for students.
The primary strength of The Janus School’s three divisions is how well they support the school’s mission, “To help individuals with learning differences access their potential by providing excellence in education, research, and community outreach.” Providing excellence in education for the students requires The Janus School to follow a diagnostic, individualized, process-focused instructional model. Given the student population, which is constantly changing, faculty and staff must approach every task with flexibility. Collaboration across divisions and disciplines is necessary to meet the variable needs of the students. The organizational structure of The Janus School allows every student to be taught differently, with a focus on learning processes, rather than being tied to a highly structured curriculum. Students are grouped first according to needs, strengths, and learning profiles, and not primarily by age. Class groupings do not exceed more than three grade levels.
Many of the teachers teach in more than one division, which allows their strengths and interests to be used to meet students’ needs across the whole school. All divisions receive the valuable support of a school social worker/counselor, a speech and language pathologist, and an educational psychologist. The three divisions address students’ needs differently, adjusting their programs accordingly to support students in the different stages of their growth.
Another strength of the three divisions is that their assessments provide the information teachers and tutors need to design instructional programs that are highly individualized. The testing program and informal assessments completed in the classroom, in addition to the psychological evaluations all students have before attending The Janus School, give valuable data that helps guide instruction. Teachers and tutors know their students very well. This knowledge is critical for supporting the diagnostic instructional model used by The Janus School. It is challenging work to engage in the kind of evaluations that can support changes in instruction, classes, and even changes across divisions for students throughout the year, as teachers and administrators seek to provide the best program possible for each student.
Thirdly, another of the three divisions’ strengths is the frequent communication between administration, faculty, staff and parents. To quote the parent of a recently transitioned Middle Division student, “No one communicates as well as you [The Janus School] do.” This kind of communication facilitates the highly individualized instruction the divisions seek to provide each student. The faculty and staff inform parents of learning difficulties and behavioral issues as they arise, so that concerns are addressed in a timely manner and with greater consistency between home and school. The Lower Division sends home newsletters every two weeks, sharing what the students are learning in their classrooms. The Middle Division sends home newsletters monthly. The Middle and Upper Divisions upload grades to Edline weekly, where they also post homework assignments and worksheets. Three times a year, each family receives lengthy, individualized, narrative reports describing student progress in every class. These reports are followed by parent conferences and conference summary letters. All three divisions complete a transition document for each student in the second trimester to provide guidance to parents as they consider the timing of their children’s transition from The Janus School. Throughout the year, the School hosts parent forums to offer pertinent information and support for families. Teachers in all divisions keep in close contact with parents through emails and phone calls.
The administration, faculty, and staff of The Janus School are responsible for instilling the school's philsophy into their teaching and learning as well as leading and promoting students to reach the Goals of a Janus Education.
Other areas of strength for the three divisions include:
" ... [W]e are in awe of what you have accomplished for our son and in such a short amount of time."