Learning Support at Riverside Military Academy
Riverside Military Academy offers a college preparatory education using the military model of middle and secondary preparatory school education.
The time honored benefits of this model derive from structure, proctored study periods, small classes, caring faculty, and occasional consequences, and all are particularly effective in helping students with learning difficulties. What is expected of each cadet is made very clear each day. The day begins at 6:30 a.m. There are formations and marching before breakfast and lunch as well as after dinner.
An afternoon tutorial period is held following classes, and then cadets participate in PT and athletics. Each evening is punctuated by a two hour proctored study period in which cadets are required to study at their desks or in an area supervised by a teacher. Each day a cadet will sleep, eat, study, march, and sweat, providing a healthy routine for intellectual, physical, and social growth. This structure offers exceptional advantages for the struggling student.
Some young men have difficulty in school because of learning disabilities, while others are the victims of bad habits and negative experiences.
We pay close attention to the Individual Education Plans (IEP) and psychological evaluations that some of our cadets bring. We cannot meet all recommended accommodations, but we can handle those that are consistent with conventional college preparatory classroom instruction. Among those is extended time for testing, and our daily routine answers many other learning needs. We conduct additional testing as needed to measure math skills, reading comprehension, and academic aptitude. This process helps to ensure proper class placement and academic support. Classes are small with a student-teacher ratio of 15:1 along with the benefit of afternoon tutorial times, nightly study hours, and weekly grade reports. Whether the problem is a learning disability or simply bad study habits, this schedule gives our cadets a method to achieve academic success.
On the other side of support are consequences.
If a cadet fails to do his homework, he is required to attend Opportunity Time after classes and make up the missing work with a grade penalty. Any cadet with a failing grade in a class is restricted to campus for the weekend and required to attend two mandatory weekend study halls called Supervised Study. If a cadet repeatedly fails to meet his academic responsibilities, he is also subject to rank reduction in the Corps. The consequences are developmental, causing cadets to reverse poor study habits and experience academic success, often for the first time. By design, life at Riverside is much easier for those who do their work and pass their classes.
Contact with parents figures prominently in the RMA method of education.
Teachers post grades and comments on our website each week where parents can login to receive constant updates on the progress of their cadet. They also make frequent contact with parents by email and more so when a cadet is in distress. It is not unusual for a teacher to develop a long-term relationship with parents as they look for ways to help a cadet. Conferences with parents are routine. There is scheduled time for formal conferences with parents on Parents’ Weekend in the fall and Parents’ Day in the spring. Teachers and counselors meet with parents by request throughout the year. We have found that a strong parent-teacher partnership benefits all cadets.
Although our primary concern is what is going on inside our cadets, the surface is also important.
The military element is highly visible at Riverside, but it is only a means to an end. The uniforms, marching, recruit training, rank structure, and leadership responsibilities are all educational devices. The intent is to give each cadet a clear sense of his place in the world; to help him embrace his rights, responsibilities, and opportunities; to help him understand that there are inevitable consequences for every action, whether it is good or bad. Belonging to a group and working toward common goals gives a cadet the satisfaction of individual and collective accomplishment. When our cadets go through graduation exercises at Silver Taps and Commencement they are dressed in the same uniform and salute the same flag. By virtue of working together, they have achieved academic and personal growth that creates pride, self-esteem, brotherhood, and a sense of accountability.