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News and campus highlights connecting the New Way Academy family. Fall 2017 | Volume 2 | Issue 1

Student Success: It’s All in the Details!

Hokki Stool

(pictured above) The bottom of the stool is rounded on the edges, allowing those sitting to sway slightly while remaining seated. This one is a big hit with adults and children and comes in a variety of sizes.

Under-desk Elliptical These slip easily under desks or tables to allow for stationary cycling while working on assignments. The resistance level can be changed as you like, which is great for students preferring a heavier force.

Zynergy Chair

The Zynergy chair is a large exercise ball covered with mesh. This allows students to bounce as they sit without the risk of the ball flying out from underneath them unexpectedly. Talk with your teacher about which of these options would be best for your student. These seating options are available on Amazon for under $200.

By Katie Jillette

Students with unique learning profiles often struggle to complete independent work at home due to a variety of factors. Sustaining attention, avoiding distractions and mastering the material are all examples of possible struggles our students may experience. The good news is that there are strategies that can help all students increase their understanding and reach their homework goals.


t New Way, we use a variety of methods to eliminate distractions that can be easily adapted for the home. The “pinterest effect” for example, is one of the most common pitfalls. We all want our spaces to be decorated with flair and cute accessories, but these items are the most disruptive to learning. Painting the walls of your study space in a muted tone (beige or light blue for example) has been shown to calm the brain. Busy patterns have the opposite effect. Clutter can be another brain buster. Items as innocuous as a family vacation photo can derail progress on homework, as a student daydreams about the fun she had meeting Mickey at Disney World. This doesn’t mean you need to hide all mementos or dedicate one room to bare walls. Choose a wall in your homework space as the “focus wall” and orient the furniture to face that wall during homework time. These small tweaks to your layout can have large positive effects on student learning at home. What about the storage of school supplies? The optimal learning environment keeps all necessary supplies out of sight but within reach. For example, you may use your dining room table as the homework spot, so keeping a container with scissors, glue, pencils, a sharpener, and calculator nearby will ensure your student has access to everything they need. This also helps to eliminate wasted time, as students often get “lost” searching out school supplies, as they find a toy they forgot about or a game they want to play, and a power struggle to get back to work soon ensues.

Your learner now has a great space to get to work, but what are they actually sitting on? Anyone who has gone to school for any length of time knows how challenging it can be to sit in one spot and maintain attention. We know that our students benefit greatly from alternative seating options. See the sidebar for some of the options used at New Way that you can incorporate into your learning space at home. Equally important is the way in which homework is accomplished. Students with attention needs benefit greatly from a schedule that includes frequent breaks. Spending the first 15 minutes of homework time creating a task list and schedule for completion saves a lot of time in the long run. Students can check off items as they are completed. Older students can also track the time they spend on each assignment to help build executive functioning skills like time management and prioritizing/planning. Using is an effective option. Review your student's schedule and discuss acceptable break activities. For example, electronics should not be used during breaks, as this often results in a power struggle to get back on task. No one wants to leave Princess Peach in the castle or abandon Pikachu in the middle of a battle! Instead, play a short game like Tic-TacToe or Simon Says, or use this opportunity for a snack or to help prepare dinner. Although these adjustments take time and energy to implement, the payoff of increased student success will make it well worth it!

staff spotlight Spotlight on Shawn Clark Shawn Clark was recognized by his peers as New Way’s Teacher of the Year in May of 2017. Now in his 18th year at New Way, he is teaching Junior High Writing and Digital Media. Share with us your educational background. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and a Master’s in Special Education from Florida State University. I have trained in many curricula and teaching strategies throughout my career at New Way that have shaped my teaching style and philosophy. One of your teaching tools is the “Step-Up to Writing” curriculum? Yes. Step-Up to Writing is the single greatest tool to guide students’ knowledge of writing organization. It gives them a structure to be successful. Once they are bought in, the sky’s the limit for our amazing writers! What else are you involved in at New Way? Outside of the classroom, I am assistant coach on the high school varsity football team in the fall, and head coach of the junior high soccer team in the spring. When I am not coaching, I can be found rooting on our other sports teams and attending New Way musicals and events.

You are known to be particular about coffee … I am picky about coffee, but I like it very simple. Dark roast ground to perfection, then steeped in a French Press. A tablespoon of agave syrup and a splash of half and half makes it the perfect cup. You are married to a fellow Clark on campus. What hobbies do you both enjoy? On the weekends, Mrs. Clark and I enjoy trying new, exciting local Phoenix restaurants and attending various cultural festivals. I can’t deny that a weekend of binge watching a new Netflix series is not out of the ordinary. Can you share a favorite New Way moment? Some of my favorite moments at New Way have been our junior high overnight trips, especially to Whispering Hope Ranch. The homecoming football games always hype me up because I love the school spirit that overcomes the school and visiting with alumni students who come support us.

Welcome New Staff!

Top (from left): Lisa Hecke, Lower School; Amanda Towler, Junior High; Shannon Meurer, SLPA; Kristin Skinner, SLPA; Valissa Maas, Lower School; Lupe Lugo, After School Director/PE; Bottom: Trever Tucker, PE; Nicki Dumanski, High School English; Kimberly Jeter Hall, Music; Dr. Jennifer Do, School Psychologist; Krista Krein, Lower School/Junior High; Not Pictured: Jessica Kelly, High School Math; Hannah Jones, Math Interventionist and Assistive Technology Specialist; Bre Arthur, High School Support; Missy Weaver, SLPA

This year, we are thrilled to add 15 dynamic and dedicated teachers to our staff. We know that their teaching backgrounds and training will be an asset in our classrooms. If you haven’t already had a chance, please welcome them to the New Way family!

campus happenings Yeehaw! The Fall Kick Off is Headin’ Your Way By Lauren DuBois

Students can participate in an old fashioned pie eating contest!

Which lucky teacher(s) will get to kiss Charlotte the Pig?

Welcome New Families! By Noah Mangus

The ‘17–‘18 school year is officially underway and our new students have been hard at work navigating their new campus, developing new friendships, and adjusting to a “New Way” of learning. Toward the end of summer and into the beginning of the school year, our new families had the opportunity to participate in a number of events. Each year, we make it a priority for our new families to meet and greet the staff as well as spend time with other New Way families in a more relaxed social setting. Additionally, this year for the first time, our families had a chance to enjoy a more formal approach to learning about New Way by attending our 1st Annual Curriculum night. This event allowed those in attendance to become involved in multiple informational sessions designed to highlight each of our unique and equally wonderful programs including Speech/Language Therapies, Executive Functioning skills, PBIS, evaluations/placement planning, along with many other sessions. It’s been a fantastic start to the new school year and we’re looking forward to maintaining the momentum as we enter into the second quarter!

Friday, October 20 | 5:30–8 p.m. Dust off your boots, bulldogs! Our Fall Kick Off is coming soon! On Friday, October 20th we will celebrate our 9th annual Fall Kick Off! This western themed event at New Way will be a time to celebrate the start of a great school year. There will be carnival style games and inflatables for the kids, live entertainment, and food trucks! This is one event you won’t want to miss! Tickets will be sold throughout the month of October. General admission is $10 for adults and $6 for students, and includes tickets to be used at the event for dinner and activities. We can’t wait to see y’all there!

A New Way to Connect Families! Please Show Your #bulldogpride Today! We invite you to show your #bulldogpride by supporting the Annual Bulldog Campaign with a donation. When you donate to the Annual Bulldog Campaign, you give New Way students countless opportunities to learn and grow. Help us reach our goal of 100% family participation! Visit us at and find the link to the Annual Bulldog Campaign under “Support New Way.” Every gift, no matter what size, is valued and important. Thank you for your love and support of New Way!

By the New Way Steering Committee

The first meeting for New Way Parent Connect (NWPC) was held on September 7th and was an amazing success! Over 60 parents attended this inaugural meeting! The mission of NWPC is to support and grow our school community by providing open communication, cultivating resources, and encouraging family involvement to support New Way events and efforts. There are seven NWPC committees and each Chair introduced their committee’s initiatives and volunteer needs. There are many volunteer opportunities that will accommodate a variety of schedules and time commitments. Please watch for the NWPC newsletter that will follow each monthly meeting detailing each committee’s current focus and their volunteer opportunities. NWPC meetings will be held the first Thursday of every month from 3:30–5 p.m. in the New Way library. Childcare is available.

student spotlight 2017–2018, New Way Student Body President

STEP Emergenetics Update By Laura Morgan and Kristen Clark

By Lauren DuBois

It seems as if Sean Raimbeault has been waiting for his turn to serve as Student Body President since he joined the New Way family four years ago as a freshman. He has been involved in just about every event, activity, and sport offered. If he can’t be involved, Sean can be found cheering emphatically for his peers from the sidelines. We sat down with him to discuss his initiatives for the year and his plans post-graduation. “I really want to bring the students of New Way together. I want this to be a supportive and welcoming community for everybody,” said Sean.

“I want [New Way] to be a supportive and welcoming community for everybody.” Sean Raimbeault

“Other goals I have as Student Body President are to raise more money for the school through our events and for everyone to have the same pride for New Way that I do.” When asked about what we can expect from him after New Way he shared, “I want to try out for the ASU baseball team. I plan to major in business but my real plan is take over ASU the same way I took on New Way.” We wish him the best of luck in his senior year and beyond, and have no doubt great things are ahead for this young leader.

STEP Emergenetics is a measurable tool used to recognize and celebrate the behavior and thinking patterns people use every day. This tool helps New Way staff and students capitalize on their insights to build self-esteem, appreciation, and tolerance for others and to help us understand what motivates us as we learn and engage in the classroom. This summer, Kristen Clark and Laura Morgan participated in a week-long training where they began the certification process for becoming Emergenetics Associates. This will enable them to train and motivate other New Way staff, and engage students as we work together to celebrate brilliance inside and outside of the classroom. All New Way staff have completed the Emergenetics questionnaire and have participated in a Meeting of the Minds where they learned about their unique behavior and thinking preferences. Kristen and Laura will lead quarterly professional development opportunities and teach strategies for engagement with students to ensure that each behavior and thinking preference is acknowledged in the classroom.

Student Ambassadors By Lauren DuBois New Way is excited to welcome a new group of student leaders to our campus this year with its formalization of our high school student ambassadors. With a mission to increase inclusion and help new students become integrated members of the New Way community, the student ambassadors have already provided student tours at our Back to School Eat & Greet and hosted a luncheon with fun giveaways for all new students. When asked about future plans, the group stated that they plan to continue hosting regular luncheons with more focused support at each one throughout the year and standing behind many campus wide initiatives that will help build bridges and celebrate diversity and involvement on our campus.

Each high school student has also received a personal report and has participated in a Meeting of the Minds. They gained valuable insight about their own preferences and learned strategies for engagement and relationship building with each other and their teachers.

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