We recently interviewed Richard Reynolds, principal and executive director of the Huntsville Achievement School. Seeking to be an educational resource for the Metro-Huntsville area, HAS provides a learning environment where students with learning differences such as high functioning Autism, Aspergers, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, ODD, OCD, etc., and those that just need a smaller learning environment to succeed together. Mr. Reynolds says HAS seeks to gear its tuition and services towards middle class families and has a goal for the future of being able to provide tuition assistance for those that cannot afford those low tuition rates. “Huntsville Achievement School is rethinking education possibilities to help each child achieve today for their can succeed in the future.”
Name of School: Huntsville Achievement School
Address: 4217 9th Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805 (Old Westlawn Middle)
Grades/Ages of Students: 6-19
Religious affiliation: None
Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:6-1:7
What is your school’s predominant educational philosophy?
Every child has potential. We believe that every child can learn and it is our job as educators to find a way that a child can learn. We believe the greatest achievement can be reached through collaborating with the parents or guardian and having a close working relationship. We agree with Nelson Mandela, ”…Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
What sets your school apart from other area programs?
Our small student to teacher ratio while attempting to help middle class families and not just being a school for the economic elite is one thing that makes us unique. A second thing that makes us unique is that we understand the child with learning differences or those children that perform better outside the one size fits all education paradigm.
What extracurricular opportunities exist for your students?
We do not have currently extracurricular activities but have reduced homework loads so that our parents can involve their students in extracurricular activities in the community.
What advice do you have for parents looking for a school for their child(ren)?
We encourage parents to not just wait when their child begins to have problems related to their education thinking that the problems will “just go away”, “he/she will grow out of it” or “it’s just a phase…” The longer one waits the harder it is to remedy the situation. Many times the student in a “bad educational fit” will develop coping mechanisms if they are left in the situation for a prolonged period of time that must be addressed before they can begin to succeed academically when they finally are moved to a different educational setting.
Describe your admissions process.
We work with students with learning differences so truly every child is different. Our Principal will meet with every family and see if we might be a good fit. We want the best for every child and if we are not the best fit we will seek to help the parents to find other possibilities. Our number one requirement is that the parents are willing to work with us. We have learned if we do not have the parents’ support or the parents believe that they are paying us to raise their child that we will not be able to help their child succeed. Research proves that schools with higher degrees of parental involvement and support have the greatest success with their students.
Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.