Fitting In Isn’t Always Easy. Social skills can help.

The focus of Learning Without Borders and why the name was chosen, is because it reflects our belief that learning can take place anywhere, at any time and it can be fun! Our approach is student-centered learning, focusing on the needs of the students. Students are active participants in their own learning as they utilize their strengths, interests, abilities, and learning styles. Students and teachers engage in the learning process together through relationship and direct instruction. In addition, there is an emphasis on developing social skills and improving social interactions.

Focus Areas

Wellness
Social Confidence
Academic Confidence
Leadership
Self-Empowerment
Character Development

Wellness

Goal: Students will explore ways to achieve overall wellness. They will learn strategies to be socially, physically and academically successful. Students will learn how they can live their best life by being flexible, taking responsibility for actions and learning from mistakes.

Rationale: Supporting and rewarding positive social, health and academic behaviors have a positive effect on students’ confidence and academic performance.

Social Confidence

Goal: Students will develop skills for prosocial behavior, conflict resolution, self-refection and effective communication.

Rationale: Research shows teens that have these skills are less lonely, feel socially accepted and feel less uncomfortable in social situations.

Academic Confidence

Goal: Students will learn how to set goals, recognize own personal learning styles, manage stress, and develop organizational tools. Students will learn study strategies, effective reading and writing strategies and note-taking.

Rationale: Students who are more self-aware and confident in their learning abilities try harder, motivate themselves and perform better in the classroom.

Leadership

Goal: Students will develop positive leadership, conflict resolution and communication skills. Students will explore and discover their own personal strengths as a leader.

Rationale: Students who are sociable, assertive, and confident tend to help others and experience greater social acceptance.

Self-Empowerment

Goal: Students will explore self-imposed limitations and learn strategies to break through those limitations.

Rationale: Research shows students who are able to identify self-imposed limitations and learn the tools necessary to overcome those limitations will have greater social and academic success.

Character Development

Goal: Students will combine skills they have learned over the summer and develop a plan for themselves as they move forward.  

Rationale: Social emotional learning that is carried over to the home and school will help students be more confident socially, academically and result in greater success academically.

Curriculum & Teachers

Overview
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Teachers

Overview

Learning Without Borders is designed to help students identify their individual strengths that will help them grow in organizational skills, practical life skills, develop new learning strategies, engage in social activities, become proactive learners, and gain employable skills. The structure of the program includes a weekly theme and a social skill focus, using a multi-sensory learning approach with direct instruction, whole and cooperative group work, hands-on activities, and group and independent skill application in life experiences on related field trips.

We will focus on different areas of reading, writing, math, and technology and they will be incorporated into daily activities. Social interaction and community building will be integrated into all lessons and activities. All lessons and materials will be differentiated and modified to accommodate the students’ individual instructional levels, academic needs, and social skills needs. With the high desire for social interaction in society on a day to day basis in our community, we will be working on strategies for positive engagement.

During our 6 week program we will have one focus area every week followed up by a field trip that will allow us to demonstrate what we have learned.

Week 1

Week 1: Wellness

Our goal is to explore ways to achieve overall healthy living, including physical and social and mental wellness.  Our field trip this week will be to the Mystery Room at Destiny Mall where they will need to work as a team in order to figure out the clues to get out.

Week 2

Week2: Social Confidence

We will be working on strategies for pro-social behavior, conflict resolution, self-reflection and effective communication.  We will be building skills to be more confident and accepted during social interactions.  Our field trip will be to Beaver Lake. On this field trip our goal is to talk and work as partners in order to successfully navigate the paddle boats.

Week 3

Week 3: Academic Confidence

During this week we will be setting personal goals, recognizing that we all have different learning styles, ways to manage stress, and work on study strategies for academic classes.  During this week we will identify our own personal learning style since students who are more aware of it are able to use that style in the future and will be able to perform better in the classroom.  This week we will all be creating a portrait, and we will be able to show that though we all had the same task, each of our canvasses will look different because we all see things.

Week 4

Week 4: Leadership

Students will develop positive leadership skills, conflict resolution, and better communication skills.  Students will explore their own style of leadership and the strengths within it.  This week we will be going to Cazenovia Farm where we will be volunteering in order to help rehabilitate the animals.

Week 5

Week 5: Self-Empowerment:

This week the students will explore self-imposed limitations and learn strategies to break through those limits.  Studies show that students who are able to identify self-imposed limitations and know the tools necessary to overcome them will have greater social and academic success. With that being said, our field trip will be to a rock climbing wall.  This will push us all to work together and enforce communicating our needs with others in order to be successful at making it up and down the wall.

Week 6

Week 6: Character Development

Students will combine many of the skills they have learned over the six weeks and develop a plan for themselves as they get ready to move forward with more confidence socially, emotionally, and academically which carries on throughout their lives at home, at school and in future endeavors.  Our last field trip will be a trip to Bowl-Mor Lanes for some bowling.  This will give us time to laugh, have fun and reflect on our time as a team.

Teachers

Ondrea Clark
Study Strategies / Writing & Math

Ondrea Clark

Study Strategies / Writing & Math

Ondrea Clark has two children, a 19 year old son and a daughter going into 6th grade. They love to travel, go camping, horseback ride, and play volleyball and softball. She has been teaching for 9 years, currently in Liverpool School District. Ondrea graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Education and Special Education along with a concentration in Psychology and Sociology. She obtained her Masters’ degree in Childhood Education and Special Education at Le Moyne College and graduated in 2008 with 6 professional certifications. It is her mission to instill a love for learning in her students. She attempts to teach with a passion for the topics at hand so that her students develop a desire to become life-long learners. Teaching is an absolute passion of Ondrea’s.

Dianne Pennings
Director of Children Services

Dianne Pennings

Director of Children Services

Dianne has over 25 years of experience in the field of special education.  She began her teaching experience in a self-contained classroom and within a year was visiting schools to implement inclusion programs.  Her passion for educating youth has never wavered, even as she has stepped into an administrative role.

Brent Pennings

Brent Pennings

Brent and his wife, Dianne, have three adult children: Kendra (Scott) Kamp, Breanna, and Adam. Brent became involved in teaching early in his career as he worked with his wife Dianne in her role as a Special Education teacher. Brent enjoyed supporting and supervising a variety of individuals with learning disabilities. He was also Co-Director of Education while serving a church in Michigan. Brent attained his Graduate Teacher Certification at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan. He is certified to teach K-8th grades. Brent has held teaching positions in several schools and continues to be involved in education through a wide range of opportunities.

Lisa Bianchi
Director of Adult Services

Lisa Bianchi

Director of Adult Services

“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on our experience”. Jim Dewey

With over 25 years’ experience in assisting individuals with disabilities, Lisa has made her mark on the industry. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Slippery Rock University. She is a member of multiple committees and associations, including Post-Secondary Disabilities Consortium, CNY Placement Consortium and Oswego County Chamber of Commerce. Lisa completed her ADHD Coaching certification in Virginia through JST Coaching. When asked why she works for LDACNY, Lisa responded: “My passion has always been assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve their personal goals. Working at LDACNY has given me the opportunity to assist individuals in a variety of settings such as high school, college, employment and independent living. The greatest accomplishment is when we are able to create or expand services to assist more individuals.”

Nicole Backes
Assistant Program Director

Nicole Backes

Assistant Program Director

Nicole Backes has worked with the SAIL program for the past 3 years and is back this summer assisting with the Learning Without Borders and SAIL programs. She is a second year graduate student at Syracuse University pursuing a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. She plans to stay in the area following graduation and work as an early intervention Speech & Language Pathologist. Nicole shares, “I am so happy I am able to stay involved with the programs again this year! The staff and students are wonderful. I look forward to another great summer!”

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