Oak Creek Ranch School in Arizona helps students with ADD succeed
By Marti Gacioch
Educating a child with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) can prove challenging in a public school setting. But Oak Creek Ranch School (OCRS) in Sedona, Ariz., has helped students with ADD and ADHD succeed academically for more than 40 years.
“Children with ADD find it hard to listen to someone lecturing in the traditional way and take notes — and they can be very impulsive, act out in class and speak when it’s not appropriate,” said Anne Wick, marketing director, chief financial officer and part-owner of OCRS.
Wick said that children with ADD are often very bright, creative and artistic, but they lack the tools to cope in a typical public school environment.
“We test them to see where they are academically before structuring a program for them that will lead to graduation,” Wick said. “Here, they learn differently, and they discover how to be in an environment where they’re not catered to by using the tools we teach them to overcome ADD challenges while they build self-confidence.”
With an 80-member student body, classes are small (8-10 children) and students receive lots of individual attention.
OCRS also incorporates experiential learning into its programs by engaging the students in an activity that they learned in the classroom. Last year, their physics class studied roller coasters, and the students’ assignment was to design their own coaster.
“We took them to a science fair at Knott’s Berry Farm where they saw a lot of different roller coasters. They compared their own designs with those and learned if it would work or not,” Wick said. “As kinesthetic learners, they have to be involved in an activity in order to learn.”
Helping students develop leadership and character are also stressed at OCRS.
“Kids with ADD are often followers, rather than leaders, so we incorporate leadership and character development into all that we do to help them reach higher,” Wick said. “We also put them in activities and team sports that challenge them.”
OCRS graduates have attended many respected universities, including UCLA, Purdue University, Ohio State University, DePaul University and Marymount College, and the alumni are successfully involved in a range of careers.
David Wick (Anne’s father) opened OCRS in 1972 after recognizing the need for a college preparatory co-ed boarding school (grades 7-12) for children with ADD.
The school is located 15 miles southwest of Sedona in a calm, relaxed, but structured environment.
• Oak Creek Ranch School
P.O. Box 4329
West Sedona, AZ 86340
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