Heart to Heart

teacher with Heart to Heart studentsThe Heart to Heart program provides a challenging educational experience for students with Down syndrome in an inclusive, integrated Christian community, with an unwavering commitment to developing the full academic and social potential of each student and instilling in our typically-developing students the understanding, acceptance, and love for those with developmental and learning differences.

Academically, Heart to Heart is pushing boundaries and limits that have rarely been pushed. Students are integrated into as many classes and community activities and opportunities as possible. Certified special education teachers provide appropriate academic modifications for each student and are responsible for ensuring that all of the classroom teachers involved are knowledgeable and prepared to fully educate each student. Each student receives one-on-one instruction in the areas of math and reading throughout the day. These instructional times are fully customized to each individual student by the Heart to Heart teacher and use many different techniques based upon the student’s specific learning styles.

Beyond academics, the students of the program are given opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities at FRA. From athletics to arts to service programs, the Heart to Heart students are fully accepted and encouraged to participate in the manner that best fits their needs. Students have managed athletics teams at both varsity and middle school levels for football, basketball, soccer, and track and field. As their comfort levels increase with the coaches, often times they are even given opportunities to play the sport as the coach advises.

As with all students at FRA, we prepare our Heart to Heart students to move to the next level of their educational journey with the skills and experiences that will give them the chance to succeed at any endeavor that they embark upon.

We will:

  • Inspire our Heart to Heart and typically-developing students to learn from and with one another, enriching the educational experience of all students in the process
  • Expand the boundaries of possibilities for the academic development of students with Down syndrome
  • Prepare our students with Down syndrome to lead productive and fulfilled lives beyond their years at FRA

Program Requirements

Heart to Heart student at school event
  • Heart to Heart students are to follow all FRA policies as found in the student handbook, such as arrival and dismissal times, school calendars, etc.
  • Heart to Heart parents are to participate in class activities and accompany their student on any overnight school-sponsored trip or field trip. Exemptions may be made based upon Heart to Heart instructor recommendation and administrative approval.
  • Medical needs should not require the attention of medically trained staff, rather they should be able to be handled by the Heart to Heart instructor and staff.
  • Must be able to age appropriately manage toileting and personal hygiene.
  • Behaviors must not include major risk factors (elopement, aggression toward peers or adults, excessive or inappropriate language, self-harm, etc.).
  • Student must be able to participate in whole-group classroom lessons, with modifications/supports provided by Heart to Heart instructor/classroom teacher/Heart to Heart staff.
  • Parents must communicate regularly with Heart to Heart instructor and support student in meeting all FRA student requirements (dress code, attendance).

Admission Process

Heart to Heart student with school mascot
  1. Initial family tour - includes interview with Heart to Heart teachers/administrator
  2. Application submission
    -Student inquiry form
    -Recommendations from previous teacher/therapist/tutor (cannot be a family member
    -Copies of current and past individual education plan, service plan, etc. (3 years)
    -Copies of current and past behavior intervention plan if applicable
    -Copies of previous transcripts/academic records if applicable
    -Physcoeducational evaluation (within 3 years)
    -Must include social/developmental/behavioral assessment
    -Academic evaluation required for grades 5 - 12
    -Permission to observe student in current environment
  3. Evaluation of student in current program by a Heart to Heart instructor (1 - 2 days as needed)
  4. Student visit - FRA on-site evaluation by a Heart to Heart instructor (1 - 2 days as needed)
  5. Final admission decision

Program Details

Lower School

Heart to Heart students on laptopsHeart to Heart students in the lower school are fully integrated and fully participate in all lower school classes, activities, lunches, etc. As needed, Heart to Heart instructor will have "pullout" time throughout the day to have intensive one-on-one instruction time with the student.

Heart to Heart instructor handles all accommodations/modifications for students with assistance from teacher's assistants. Pullout times are coordinated with classroom teachers to ensure that the inclusionary environment is optimized.

Middle and Upper School

English

Students receive specifically-chosen instruction based upon academic performance levels taught by the H2H instructor in the H2H classroom.

Grades will be given based upon effort, retention, and application of knowledge by the Heart to Heart teacher.

  • Vocabulary/Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Reading Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Mechanics
  • Structured Writing
  • Creative Writing

Math

Students receive specifically-chosen instruction based upon academic performance levels taught by the H2H instructor in the H2H classroom.

Grades will be given based upon effort, retention, and application of knowledge by the Heart to Heart teacher.

  • Number Recognition
  • Counting
  • Decimals and Fractions
  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division
  • Word/Story Problems
  • Money (Identification/Counting)
  • Practical Money Applications (Classroom Economy)

Science

Upper school science is full inclusion/mainstream as applicable based upon each individual student. Modifications/accommodations are completed by the classroom teacher with assistance from the H2H instructor as needed. Based upon each individualized case, students may receive more individualized science instruction by the H2H instructor in the H2H classroom.

Middle school science is full inclusion/mainstream class with corresponding grade level.

Grades will be given based upon effort, retention, and application of knowledge by the Heart to Heart teacher.

Study Skills

Students receive instruction focused on practical living skills and study skills taught by the H2H instructor in the H2H classroom. This instruction is rotated in with English, science, and math class times so more electives can be offered. Grades will be given based upon effort, retention, and application of knowledge by the Heart to Heart teacher.

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Study Habits and Organization
  • Classroom Economy
  • Role-Playing, Practical Situations

Full-Inclusion/Mainstream Classes

Students enroll in grade level history and/or elective classes in which they are mainstreamed with their typically developing peers. Electives will be limited to one H2H student per class. Classroom teachers are responsible for needed accommodations for the H2H students and will be trained/assisted as needed by the H2H instructor. The H2H instructor collaborates frequently with the classroom teacher (meeting, brief conversation, email).


  • Arts - drawing, art, ceramics, band choir, drama, etc.
  • PE/Wellness
  • History (as applicable)
  • Upper School Religion/Tech
  • Upper School Science (robotics, science tech, etc.)

Advisory

H2H students are included in separate advisory groups with their typically developing peers (limited to one H2H student per advisory).

Additional Activities

For any times during a regular school day in which students are independent, students will be responsible for themselves in the same manner that their typically developing peers are for themselves. This includes lunch, chapels, open activities, and navigating campus.



David Dawson

David Dawson
U/S Heart to Heart

Natalie Scruggs

Natalie Scruggs
M/S Heart to Heart

Kate Wade

Kate Wade
M/S Heart to Heart

Abby Hampton

Taylor Werthen
M/S Heart to Heart


Abby Hampton

Abby Hampton
L/S Heart to Heart


Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore
L/S Heart to Heart


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