The Gow School’s program of study is based on an in-depth understanding of language-based learning disabilities. At the heart of the curriculum is Reconstructive Language (RL), our core language remediation program, but content-area courses are also designed and redesigned with student success in mind. Multisensory instruction, executive function skills, and study strategies are emphasized throughout. Faculty members receive ongoing training in methods that maximize student learning potential, and they are committed to providing individualized attention and extra help. Gow teachers know that students’ futures depend on this expertise and dedication.
What’s Typical, What’s Required
Gow students attend classes of three to seven students, six days a week. They take at least six academic courses, including RL. A daily 30-minute tutorial period and supervised two-hour evening study hall provide time to complete assignments and receive faculty assistance. Study hall also includes a reading period, when students read books of their choice... for fun. Assistive technology, including our laptop program, is integrated into all courses and plays a central role in supporting student success.
Graduation requirements include English (4 credits), history (3), math (3), science (3, including 2 in lab science), arts (1½), and health (½). Reconstructive Language is required throughout students’ time at Gow, while electives let them customize their course of study.
The Gow School communicates with parents in eight report mailings a year: one-page reports for each class at the end of the four marking periods and one-page advisor reports, summarizing all classes, athletics, and dorm life, sent mid-marking period.
Learning by Doing and by Going
Because Gow understands the strengths of dyslexic students as well as their weaknesses, many courses incorporate hands-on components, especially in the arts, sciences, and technology.
Gow also gets students out into Western New York and beyond to experience real-world applications of what they are learning. Field trip destinations include the local Corning Museum of Glass and New York City for theater and museums (art), Old Fort Niagara and Gettysburg (history), and the Niagara Power Vista and Buffalo Science Museum as part of the annual Science Day. The Spanish Department offers a language-immersion trip.
Here is a brief look at our departments:
- Diagnostic instruction in phonics, spelling, vocabulary, and oral reading for fluency and comprehension.
- Meets the high standards of The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC).
- Recognized by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for meeting Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.
- Application of knowledge through hands-on projects.
- Courses including basic computer applications, graphic design, audio/video engineering, and broadcast journalism.
- Upper School CNC robotics course that combines physics, mathematics, and state-of-the-art manufacturing in a competitive engineering program.
- Intensive study of grammar and sentence, paragraph, and essay structure through Gow's Constructive Writing (CW) program.
- Portfolios compiled by all students yearly.
- Upper-school electives in journalism and advanced writing.
- Course offerings in two- and three-dimensional art with emphasis on portfolio development at the higher levels.
- Real-life experience with acting and production through theater courses and performances.
- Individual voice and instrumental music lessons available, as well as group ensembles.
- Variety of instructional methods, including role-playing, films, PowerPoint presentations, primary and secondary sources.
- Focus on critical thinking and analysis.
- Upper School electives in advanced humanities, economics, and business seminar.
- Technology incorporated where appropriate, including TI-84 graphing calculators, iPad applications, and computer software such as The Geometer’s Sketchpad.
- Core courses from developmental mathematics through geometry.
- Upper School electives in pre-calculus, calculus, and calculus II.
- Emphasis on hands-on activities such as model building, dissection, balsa bridges, speakers, and bottle boats.
- Development of investigative skills, including hypothesis formation, experimental design, data gathering and representation, analysis and evaluation of data, and the presentation of an investigation in a properly structured lab.
- Courses from earth science, physical science, and chemistry to advanced physics and biology.