One-to-One Instruction Helps with School Refusal

School refusal post-COVID-19 has skyrocketed. The President and CEO of Brightmont Academy explains how the school’s flexible one-to-one learning model can help.

School refusal in the post-pandemic world has become a common problem. For many students, it’s trying to return to a traditional learning environment after being a remote student. For others, remote learning was a struggle and they feel like they got left behind in their studies.

However, students who want to get back on track have options.

Karen Buckner, President and CEO of Brightmont Academy, believes that school refusal can be offset by a flexible approach. “Our school offers one-to-one instruction. That means one teacher, one student. There is no one else in the classroom to compare yourself to. It’s just you and a teacher working at your own pace.” In addition, Brightmont Academy offers rolling admissions, a year round program and a curriculum that meets state requirements, making it as easy as possible for students to regain their academic footing.

Why school refusal is increasing

As we saw in recent years, all students, including those who were high achievers pre-Covid, had trouble dealing with a remote schedule. “It takes a unique student to succeed in a fully virtual classroom,” says Buckner. “Most struggle in some way.” 

One group of students particularly affected by the lack of in-person instruction are those who were just entering seventh grade or beginning high school when COVID-19 hit. “These students were out of school for a crucial two years and may have difficulty readapting to traditional classrooms,” she says.

Buckner points out that during virtual learning students had access to live instruction at home even if they were ill. That’s no longer the case as most schools have returned to in-person classrooms.

“When an honor or AP student or any student misses five days of school due to COVID-19 or another illness, that’s a huge chunk of work that they have to make that up,” she says. “If they have to miss school again for any other reason, they worry they are falling behind in their courses or that they might fail an important exam. They may decide: ‘Why bother?’”

Benefits of one-to-one instruction

Brightmont Academy’s one-to-one approach is designed for student success. Everything is tailored to the student from how many hours they are on campus, to when they start the school day.

“Our goal is to get students ready to reacclimate to classroom learning. That doesn’t happen overnight and that’s OK. I call it playing defense rather than offense. It’s a win when a student comes through our door ready to learn, not the exact time they get here or how many classes they take,” Buckner says.

A slow but steady return to a traditional school day is effective, says Buckner. Even someone enthusiastic about going back to school will be more successful if they give themselves time to adjust.

“Students may underestimate the mental and physical strain that a full school day entails. Because we have open admissions, you can start whenever you’re ready and you can even begin with one class at a time.”

Supportive teachers are another benefit. “The teacher is not there to judge you, they are there to help you. They want you to succeed and will work with you to make it happen,” Buckner says.

For students and parents concerned about catching up and getting back to a school routine, Buckner believes Brightmont Academy’s student-tailored approach works. “We offer a unique flexibility that is unlike any other public or private school. No door is closed to you, no matter what. We can provide the solution.”

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Jenny Kales
Jenny Kales
Content editor Jenny Kales has been in the business of writing for more than 20 years. A natural storyteller, she loves helping Metro Parent clients tell their stories in a way that resonates with their audiences.


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