May 21, 2018
One in five students with a learning disability drops out of high school…unless they are a part of the LEAD Foundation at Cheyenne Mountain High School.
LEAD’s 20th class graduates in May.
“When students with learning disabilities or ADHD gain knowledge about how their brain works, they develop skills to advocate for themselves,” said LEAD Foundation Executive Director Kathryn Carruth. “When this happens, they find success in academics.”
Founded by Alan Pocock and Stan Lambros, LEAD started as a little program that has grown into a nationally recognized program. It’s been successful because it focuses on students’ social, emotional and intellectual growth.
This includes developing self-advocacy, resiliency and higher education skills. Students learn these skills in an outlet that is conducive to their learning disabilities.
Instead of desks, these students sit in bean bags or on a couch. There’s only one big rule: what is said in the LEAD classroom, stays in the LEAD classroom. Because of this, students find a safe haven to talk about their learning disabilities or ADHD.
Jamie Galvan, who is part of the graduating class, said her favorite part of LEAD is the relationships she’s made with other students.
“Building that bond is so powerful,” Galvan explained. “LEAD has given me confidence. You learn what’s going on in your brain. You find out what doesn’t make you alone in the world.”
LEAD’s unique resources help more than just the students, their parents and educators also benefit.
“We meet students where they are comfortable and teach them their disabilities do not need to limit them, they are not an excuse to lower expectations or back down from a challenge,” Carruth said. “This helps their relationships with their family, friends and teachers.”
It’s also changing the world. LEAD students are asked to speak at schools and conferences across the country.