The teacher-student ratio at VFMA is small – intentionally so to enable direct and individualized teaching and education for Cadets.
On arrival, each student’s needs are evaluated in alignment with the grade appropriate curriculum. Like students anywhere, some Cadets require additional support as they work through a class. That additional support is found in Shannon Hall’s Room 128 – the Resource Room.
“At one time or another, a Cadet may find himself in Room 128 and when he gets there, he finds he is with many of his very smart and accomplished friends,” said Brent Monaghan, MS ED, Resource Support & Creative Writing Teacher.
Each Cadet has an individualized plan for the Resource Room. It is developed in collaboration with the classroom teacher who had identified areas of learning or skill development which can help the Cadet excel in that particular class. Tools available in the Resource Room include organizational as well as supplemental subject area materials. “Organization is key to academic success and it is a skill developed over time and generally slowly among middle and high school boys,” said Mr. Monaghan. “It is to be expected and so the Resource Room helps them hone that and it provides a big jump in academic success.”
Some Cadets have an IEP or 504 accommodation. Students can achieve the most positive learning outcome by getting the extra help they need to succeed in the subject classroom. “As we seek to educate the whole person, sometimes instruction in the Resource Room goes beyond the textbook and subject area,” said Mr. Monaghan. “My role is also to mentor, facilitate conversations and help Cadets negotiate social and emotional issues they may face living away from home in a boarding school environment.”
The success of the collaborative approach combining the Resource Room with the regular classroom is in evidence as many students arrive at VFMA with average or below average grades and before long are earning As and Bs. “It works,” said Mr. Monaghan. “We need to look no further than college acceptance rates to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation for our graduates.” VFMA Cadets have been accepted to all of the Ivy League schools, the service academies, MIT, CalTech, and other highly regarded institutions.