The high school curriculum is that of a regular high school -- English, math, sciences, social science, health and physical education. Remediation is critical. The typical student enters The David School reading at a third or fourth grade level, a primary reason for poor performance in other coursework. Reading is taught intensely, one-on-one and in small groups, so students can catch up to their appropriate age and grade level. All other classes remain small -- 10 students or less -- so that students receive personalized and individualized instruction.
Each student also takes practical vocational courses. In the vocational facility, they learn not only basic carpentry, but also the craft of cabinet making; in fact, they have made hanging and countertop cabinets for every classroom in the new building. David students also study facility maintenance and learn the basics of plumbing, electricity, and other skills while helping with upkeep of school properties.
Personal Growth Seminar
All high school students are required to take Personal Growth Seminar (KEYS) in which they learn how to manage their lives more effectively and in which they set forth career goals and take steps to carry them out. They study and discuss such topics as conflict resolution, parenting, personal finance, consumerism, hygiene, household management, and relationships. Before they can graduate, they must be accepted in college or vocational school, be enlisted in a branch of the military, or have the commitment of a full-time job. The seminar helps with selecting a career, getting the appropriate education, finding a job, and succeeding on the job. The school is committed to helping youth become independent and productive, a particular challenge since many come from families that have inherited dependence on public welfare and other crippling effects of poverty.
Work / Study
Each student participates in a work program. Students assist with preparing the noon meal, from cooking to setting the table. After the meal students under teacher supervision student clear the tables, wash the dishes and store the food away. During the spring and fall months students assist with yard work. They maintain flowerbeds by weeding and planting flowers and shrubs. They assist with keeping all areas of the campus clean from mopping the halls to cleaning the cabins. In addition to gaining work experience, they gain a sense of ownership in The David School which enhances their pride and self respect.
For over 30 years, The David School has been able to survive and thrive due to the many “hands of love” that have come in service year after year. Because without volunteers there would be no David School, students are taught to give back to the community as they have been given; thus, the motto of “Learning While Serving” was born. During the school year, students and staff have ample opportunity to serve others in the following capacities:
- Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup
- Service to a neighboring grade school
- Building cabinets for a new home for a homeless family
- Visiting the local nursing home
- And other activities as the opportunity arises
Every fall and spring, students and staff of The David School take one morning away from the indoor classroom and devote the time to outdoor cleanup. For years, The David School has participated in the Adopt-A-Highway program. On cleanup day, students and staff gather as soon as school begins and prepare for the morning long activity. After being issued disposable gloves and bright orange vests, the group walks out to the road in front of The David School and begins the cleanup effort on a two-mile stretch of Route 404. Over the years, items ranging from fast food restaurant bags to washing machines to car tires have been gathered up by students and staff and disposed of properly.
For almost 20 years, Our Lady of the Mountain School of Paintsville has sold fresh Florida fruit to members of the community for their annual fundraiser. For about the same amount of time, high school students from The David School have gone annually to Paintsville on the day of the fruit truck’s arrival to unload the hundreds of boxes of produce. Our Lady of the Mountain School (grades K – 6) does not have the necessary manpower for the multi hour effort required to unload and stack all of the fruit boxes in preparation for distribution and that is where the students from The David School come into play. David School students enjoy the annual community service activity and most vie for the opportunity to spend the morning working at Our Lady of the Mountain School.
Last, but not least, The David School partners every year with Floyd County's LINKS program. LINKS exists for the purpose of providing safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income families. In LINKS' five years of existence, they have built 22 homes. For one home a year, students from The David School's industrial arts class build the kitchen and bathroom cabinets for a newly constructed LINKS home. Students simultaneously learn a new trade and are able to help their fellow neighbor.
A prime strength of The David School is its staff. In addition to strong credentials, teachers are chosen for their dedication to education and their willingness and ability to work alongside students in the learning process. Because of its small classes, emphasis on the individual and its mission to educate those with the most need, the school has been able to attract caring and qualified teachers from all economic levels and from across the country.
Some teachers are from the local area and have a special affinity for the types of students enrolled at the school. Others come with a need within themselves to be of service and to use their talents to help young people who lack the opportunities that they, the teachers, have had. All are willing to individualize instruction for each student and to use innovative teaching techniques. All David teachers pull double duty -- as bus and van drivers, after-school tutors, sports coaches, and a number of other roles.
Another distinctive strength is the emphasis on family involvement, a factor that is lacking and in some cases discouraged in other schools. From the beginning, parents or guardians are required to visit the school with their child before the child is considered for admission. In addition, a staff member visits the home of the applicant to assess the family's commitment to supporting the child's educational growth. The family's physical needs are also noted, and an effort is made to put the family in touch with agencies that can help.
A student may enroll when the parents/guardians sign a contract pledging that they will do all that they can to ensure that their child will stay in school and learn. This includes making sure the student gets up and goes to school to encouraging academic excellence. Further, parents are expected to attend monthly family gatherings, as well as regular sessions on parenting issues, such as discipline, substance abuse, and nutrition. Parents are encouraged to "shadow" their child, that is, to attend classes with the student from time to time to see what is taking place in the classroom.
The David School serves low income students who are at-risk or have dropped out of public school. We are tuition free for the majority of our students and can often provide transportation to and from school. At The David School students not only receive an education in academics, but in applied life-skills as well. Students help in the school kitchen to cook the noon meal, maintain the The David School Nature Trail, and perform the carpentry and landscaping needs of the school.
The David School provides a unique family setting with family style meals, morning “Round Up”, and small class sizes. With a 10 to 1 ratio of students to teacher, teachers are able to give their students the personalized instruction they need to learn. In addition, volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring in the classrooms to make sure everyone understands and is able to keep up with the school work.
For more information on enrolling at The David School, please call: