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Huntsville Achievement School meeting students individual needs

Updated: Feb. 22, 2021 at 12:45 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Schools have faced one of their toughest years ever...from navigating a pandemic, to virtual learning - even shutting down for an ice and snow storm. That can cause students to fall behind academically. There’s a private school in Huntsville that’s doing its best to not let the school year slip away without meeting students individual learning needs.

”What we try to do is create a safe place, even before Covid, there’s no bullying, there’s no smack talk. we try to create true community where kids can come and learn, said Richard Reynolds, Executive Director and Principal of Huntsville Achievement School.

Huntsville Achievement School is a private K through 12 campus. Richard Reynolds is Executive Director and Principal.

“We work with higher functioning kids with autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia. We’re not just a special needs school. We are about learning differences. In other words, every child learns differently. Education is not just one size fits all,” said Reynolds.

Huntsville Achievement School occupies a wing of the former Westlawn Elementary School building. The area underwent a total transformation - from a complete electricity overhaul and quiet spaces for students to new landscape, a playground, even a learning friendly paint scheme.

“What we’ve tried to do is create an environment that spurs the kids on to believe they can be anything they want to be,” said Reynolds.

Students benefit from computer curriculum. They also have textbooks, individualized instruction, a library where reading is the focus. The halls are decorated with signs of positive reinforcement to help students overcome obstacles and learn to connect. Dr. Edwinta Merriweather is a teacher at Huntsville Achievement School.

“I have third and fourth graders, scholars. I am responsible for all of the subjects, math, science, social studies, reading, behavior. You name it. We teach it,” said Dr. Edwinta Merriweather, instructor at Huntsville Achievement School.

She’s been part of in-person learning since the start of the school year...when many larger schools turned to virtual teaching.

“We’re small, we support each other and we look out for each other. Our children know the routine for coming in and being safe at all times,” said Dr. Merriweather.

Merriweather has more than 30 years in education. She came to Huntsville Achievement School three years ago, to help make a difference.

“We get to know them personally. We get to know their in’s and their out’s. We know what’s going on with their families. They feel comfortable sharing and talking and coming to us.”

Huntsville Achievement School provides an alternative before the student falls behind. There’s a lower teacher to student ratio than typical schools, offering more flexibility...and an opportunity to open doors after graduation.

“You create the right environment where they believe they can do anything. Success then becomes inevitable not just possible,” said Reynolds.

To learn more about Huntsville Achievement School click here.

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