Doing Good: Hope Academy helps kids facing trauma

Doing Good

Bentonville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A one-of-a-kind school for children who have experienced trauma is now enrolling students for the next school year.

The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter opened Hope Academy back in August, helping abused and neglected children who may struggle in a typical classroom setting.

Certain traumatic events can turn a child’s whole life upside down.

“There is some social and emotional development that needs to occur. It makes it very difficult for them to function well in a typical classroom environment,” Hope Academy Superintendent Rick Brazile said.

So they might need a little extra attention like they will find at Hope Academy.

“We’re not going to allow the behaviors to get in the way of academic development and we’re going to invest as much time as we can into this young part of their lives,” Hope Academy Principal Jake Gibbs said.

Small class sizes and specialized training help make sure these kids are learning and healing.

“We feel like we have the training, the professionalism, the capacity to handle most behaviors that we see at a school so I think that’s a big piece of the feedback is that parents have felt really nice about being able to go into work and knowing they’re not going to get a phone call,” Gibbs said.

But parents will get plenty of feedback.

“A key to success for us is a partnership with parents,” Brazile said.

After one semester, the formula seems to be working.

“The beginning of the year, you walk down the hall, you’d see the kids separated and just one on one or two on one with a teacher or an aid,” Brazile said.

Now, those groups are growing: a sign the kids could be ready for a public school environment in the future.

Some of the grades already have a waiting list, But Hope Academy is adding another grade level every year. Next year it will be k-4th grade. For more information, click here.

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