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A "Rich and Unified" Educational Experience

At Ben Bronz Academy, The Emphasis is Individualized Student Planning

Founded in 1985 and located on Wampanoag Drive, the Ben Bronz Academy is a private, full-time special education day school for kids in grades 2-12 that provides a rich and unified educational approach to help students achieve scholastic success.

Ben Bronz’s students are referred by school districts from across the state and graduates of Ben Bronz Academy can earn a high school diploma from their sending school district, says Dr. Gail Lanza, Ben Bronz’s executive director and CEO.

The school, approved by the state, has 26 certified staff members who are specially trained to work with a broad range of learning differences, from cognitive processing deficits, such as dyslexia, and executive functioning, to children on the autism spectrum.

The school’s teacher-student ratio is no more than four students per teacher, and sometimes lower than that, says Dr. Lanza. The school’s current enrollment is 58 students and is approved by the state for a total enrollment of up to 66 students, she added. 

Student assessments and progress reports are used by Ben Bronz Academy to develop a specialized approach for each child.

 “We’re mindful about creating a specialized plan for each of our students,” Dr. Lanza adds. “Our primary goal is to help students identify and correct their functional weaknesses and develop strong, spontaneous thinking habits that build self-confidence and foster greater curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Our special education program has a proven track record of guiding students to begin on a lifelong learning path.”

The school’s individualized learning plans typically include a strong focus on foundational learning skills in reading, math and writing that are integrated into the broader Common Core curriculum - which is mandated by the state and taught in all Connecticut schools - throughout every student’s academic. day. 

“Each student’s individualized plan is incorporated throughout their day,” says Dr. Lanza. Improving the overall cognitive performance of children with learning disabilities, she says, demands that kind of individualized broad-scale strategy of intervention. 

“The focus is not only on specific skills and subjects but on the process of learning itself,” Dr. Lanza adds. 

Ben Bronz’s lower school uses a program called Meta Learning and the Meta Classroom, which is the centerpiece of its curriculum for students in grades 2-6. Both cognitive development and oral language are the focus in Meta Learning, which the school’s website describes as a “thinking skills program that expands students’ language and cognitive skills. It does that by building awareness of the thinking process we use when we are problem-solving.”

Besides the teaching staff, Ben Bronz also has a diverse team of specialists who provide specific services in and out of the classroom. They include occupational and speech therapists, a school psychologist, reading, writing and math specialists, a transition coordinator and a school nurse. 

But it’s not all work at Ben Bronz, the school offers a variety of music and art enrichment programs, and is currently building a new library and media center where “it won’t just be all books,” Dr. Lanza says. Students will be able to engage in hands-on learning activities with things like a robotics lab and a 3D printer, she says.  In addition, the school is currently seeking grant funding to build a creative playscape at the campus. The school staff is additionally planning a first annual Ben Bronz Walkathon on April 30, called Lace Up For The Library, to raise funds for the library construction project, Dr. Lanza says. 

Ben Bronz also has a summer school program, which is open to all children, not just those who attend the academy. The summer school runs for four weeks each year beginning in July. Summer school classes operate Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and its curriculum focuses on boosting students’ core skills in reading, math, and writing.

The school's founder was Aileen Stan-Spence, named after her father, Ben Bronz. "Self-taught and insatiably curious, Ben Bronz imparted to his children, and to all with whom he interacted, a sense of the value of curiosity, perseverance, patience, self-reliance, and excellence," the school website states.

Ben Bronz Academy 

11 Wampanoag Drive, West Hartford

860-236-5807

Online: BenBronzAcademy.org

On Facebook: @BenBronzAcademy

Dr. Gail Lanza is the executive director/CEO of Ben Bronz Academy. She joined the Ben Bronz family in July of 2021. Dr. Lanza strongly believes in the Ben Bronz mission and vision that all students can learn and that they deserve the opportunity to succeed. She has devoted her professional career to helping students overcome barriers, instilling confidence in students, and ensuring students’ success.

“Our primary goal is to help students identify and correct their functional weaknesses and develop strong, spontaneous thinking habits that build self-confidence and foster greater curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Our special education program has a proven track record of guiding students to begin on a lifelong learning path.” - Dr. Gail Lanza

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