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Come SailAway: Kingston academy aims to tailor learning

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By Hugh Willett

While some educational experts continue to ponder the wisdom of “mega schools” one Roane County educator is betting that smaller can still be better.

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For 20 years, SailAway Learning and Academy in Kingston has championed a “micro school” concept that provides an individualized learning experience for its students.

SailAway — an acronym for “Serve All in Love!” — is based on the belief that every student is unique, said Brenda Murphy, president and CEO. Murphy, who is working on her doctorate degree in education, has been involved in teaching for 30 years.

The “micro school” concept she champions is built around providing more individual attention for each child’s needs. The school seeks to raise up a generation of learners who will read well, write well and speak well.

Students are also taught to think critically, creatively and wisely, displaying a thirst for knowledge and its benefits.

Literacy and understanding are key cornerstones in achieving the goals of Sail-Away.

According to Murphy, literacy is more than just reading words on a page and knowing their meaning.

True literacy involves any activity with words that are spoken, written or signed and the ability to use them correctly in all contexts. Understanding on the part of the educator is critical to make sure they know how their students learn.

“We are 100 percent focused on the kids,” Murphy said.

A major reason many students never achieve their full potential is because they don’t have a plan, Murphy said.

They lack the necessary steps and decisive actions to reach their ultimate level of success.

“The reason is a lack of understanding about the student. The way to get this understanding is through accurate assessments,” she said.

One of the most important steps in creating a learning program is ideally suited for a specific child is through assessments and diagnostic evaluations.

SailAway Learning offers assessment services not always available in learning centers, tutoring services or private schools.

The wide selection of high-caliber evaluation options are based on standardized academic assessments used by school systems to meet federal and state educational standards, on university campuses for research and in psychologists offices for therapy focus.

“It’s about understanding your child, what makes him tick, what keeps her from learning, what identifies your students strengths and weaknesses accurately, and leads them to an optimistic destiny,” Murphy said.

SailAway also supports the choice to homeschool children.

The organization is based on Christian values but accepts all students who have a parent or guardian desiring to utilize the freedoms granted to them to teach or oversee the teaching of their student.

Parents and guardians must agree to abide by the regulation of the law pertaining to homeschooling as well as to comply with the requirements of the program. The Nautilus program is for families who, in addition to the record keeping and counseling services of an umbrella school, also need extra support and guidance.

The program includes one on one consultations to assist the parent or teacher in learning how to homeschool.

The Nautilus program is also for families who have students transferring with academic issues and who need credit recovery. The program is also suitable for adult students or any student with unique circumstances.

The Compass Program is for families who need the record keeping and counseling services of an umbrella school.

SailAway offers budget plans for every family and circumstance, Murphy said. SailAway Learning and Academy is at 106 Armour Road, Kingston.

Call 376-7005 or visit www.sailawaylearning.com for more information.