A recent graduate of the Arrow Center for Education in Maryland felt so transformed by his time at the school that he wanted to give a graduation speech that summed up his feelings.
“Whatever it was that brought you to Arrow is not who you are, or who you have to be,” he told the crowd of graduates, family and friends at the graduation ceremony last month.
The Arrow Center for Education, or ACE, is a private separate day school that provides specialized education to children who have demonstrated difficulty with school in mainstream settings. There are two campuses—one in Baltimore and the other in Bel Air.
The student, a foster child who had been through so much in his young life, struggled with behavioral and academic problems, but at ACE, he was given the individualized attention he needed to complete high school. When he was finally able move past the negative aspects that brought him to ACE, he developed into a “funny, clever, friendly young man,” according to Principal Sue Barnes.
That graduate is just one of the many success stories ACE has had since it opened in 1996, and the program continues to grow and develop. For the upcoming school year, ACE will offer an expanded reading program, aimed at students who are performing significantly below grade level.
Sue said high school students tend to use context clues to cover up the fact that they can’t read. For instance, even if they don’t know the some words in a sentence, they may be able to figure out its meaning by the surrounding words and sentences. This can be a good thing to a point, but becomes problematic if the students don’t understand the majority of the words, and misinterpret the text. At ACE, staff will work to identify students who need extra help, and those students will be enrolled in the Wilson Reading Program. The program will give identified students one-on-one lessons for 30 minutes a day using highly structured, evidence-based strategies.
Additionally, ACE is adding two new electives—foreign languages and graphic design.
The foreign languages elective will be especially beneficial toward students who wish to pursue a four-year college education after high school, while the graphic design elective will give students hands-on experience in a fully-equipped computer lab, and will help students develop skills for opportunities in Information Technology careers.
The Wilson Reading Program and new electives are just a few of the exciting ways ACE is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable young people. To learn more about ACE, visit