ATHENA ACADEMY INC

Exceptional Education for Dyslexic Children

Palo Alto, CA   |  www.athenaacademy.org

Mission

Athena Academy is dedicated to developing and providing the most effective methods to teach dyslexic children, so they develop their gifts and excel. We serve children in grades 1-8 from Palo Alto and beyond. We will grow to benefit as many children as possible. We base our teaching on current neuroscience research into the dyslexic brain. We stay connected to leading neuroscientists to ID and develop ever-improving teaching methods. The greater mission is to improve the learning process for all dyslexic learners. We research, document, and disseminate teaching strategies that are effective, replicable, and research-based so dyslexic students master and enjoy learning. We share what we develop with the educational community, so our work helps the largest number of dyslexic children.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Shama D Hinard

Main address

525 San Antonio Rd

Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-2885305

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Secondary/High School (B25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We educate dyslexic children in grades in grades 1-8. 70-80% of people with poor reading skills have dyslexia. One in 5, ~20% of the population, has a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia is evenly distributed across gender and socioeconomic status, but disproportionately present in prisons. About 80% of prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Dyslexia is strongly suspected. Athena Academy is an accredited, independent school for students with dyslexia with- or without co-morbid ADD/ADHD, central auditory processing disorders (CAPD), visual-spatial disorders, and/or other expressive-receptive language-based learning disabilities. The educational need we work to address is non-stigmatizing, successful education of LD children. Recent neuroscientific research has identified 8 dyslexic phenotypes. We work in partnership with a research university to establish & quantify educational approaches that work best for the various phenotypes of dyslexic learners.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Visual-Spatial Teaching methods and Social-Emotional Learning

We provide powerful Visual-Spatial teaching methods which the latest research shows is the way dyslexics learn best. These methods include Kinetic Modeling in clay, Symbol Mastery, Trigger Word Mastery, the Woodin Math program for dyslexics, and Visual Math. We also integrate the systematic Orton Gillingham method, which is the most established and researched of the phonics-based methods. Most Dyslexia schools only offer phonics-based methods for reading (Slingerland, OG, Wilson Fundations, Lindamood Bell, Barton), while we merge these different approaches in a method that accelerates learning for the widest range of dyslexic learners.

Our school is academically rigorous and stimulating. Dyslexic children are capable of great academic success when taught the way they are meant to learn. We track our students according to grade level equivalencies. We focus on bringing our students up to and above their grade level in all core subjects.

Gifted Program: Many dyslexic learners are gifted in their innovative, visual-spatial thinking. Some dyslexics have very high IQs. Our program offers advanced subjects and challenging project-based learning to captivate and grow these talented children. We offer Odyssey of the Mind, Advanced Science, Learning Adventures, Technology Lab, Art, and Performing Arts to excite and engage these right-brain learners.

Social Emotional Learning is an important part of our program at Athena Academy. Our SEL program is developed specifically for dyslexic children. Instead of just teaching one class in it, we also integrate the lessons into classes throughout the day. Group projects involve active integration of social skills; Art projects may include internal reflection and emotional awareness; our Performing Arts class facilitates social and emotional expression. PE and Recess time are prime opportunities for our Social Emotional Learning instruction. By integrating this piece throughout our school, we build a strong community for our children.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our Elementary and Middle School academic program and curriculum inspires learning-disabled students to explore areas of interest to them and to take an active part in their education. We do this through allowing student choice as often as possible, from books they have learned to read, to topics they write about, to the way the present what they have learned. This creates a learning environment where the education and what each student is working on can be highly individualized.

Our teachers design learning experiences for the students that build not only fundamental academic skills, but also executive functioning, self-awareness, and self-advocacy skills. These are essential pieces to our program and are woven throughout all classes that the students take.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with learning disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

WASC Accreditation 2018

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We aim to nurture dyslexic children's' visual-spatial abilities and inherent strengths. Through our innovative, evidence-based practices, our dyslexic students master grade-level academics, develop self-advocacy skills, open-mindedness, compassion for self and others, and positive problem-solving strategies.

We believe this type of education is best accomplished through:

Small class sizes and project-based-learning (also called learning by design), which allows for individualized instruction
Incorporation of innovative neuroscience and educational research
An emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning through our Changemaker's program
A focus on cognitive skills, executive function, self-regulation, and personalized learning strategies

We aspire to become leaders in teaching dyslexic students. We will achieve this by developing, applying, and validating innovative teaching methods based on neuroscientific research. We will then share these methods with the educational community at large, with the goal of serving as many dyslexic students as possible.

Athena Academy believes we will accomplish our goals by:

1. Staying current on rapidly advancing dyslexia neuroscience research
2. Partnering with research universities, and local, national, regional and international educators, professionals, and specialists
3. Creating and benchmarking our innovative and effective curricula and methodology for teaching dyslexic children
4. Validating our curricula and educational methodology for particular dyslexia phenotypes
5. Disseminating our validated evidence-based practices to the wider educational community, in order to improve educational success for as many dyslexic students as possible.

Athena Academy's capabilities for meeting our goals are strong.

Collectively, our faculty has 362 years of teaching experience. Faculty, staff, and Board are deeply committed to advancing dyslexia education. The Head of School is widely recognized and sought out to speak at symposia and workshops. Athena Academy collaborates closely with area universities including the University of California San Francisco (and its Center for Dyslexia), and Stanford University's Schwab Learning Center.

Through expert leadership, effective professional collaboration, successful outreach events such as Athena Academy'sCOGNITIVE DIVERSITY DAY, and strategic dissemination of our validated evidence-based practices Athena Academy is strongly positioned to meet our goals.

So far, we have accomplished:
Accreditation for the maximum period of time allowable
Commendations by the WASC accrediting agency
Strategic Plan
First independent financial audit
Doubled the number of Board members
Invited to actively collaborate with UCSF's Center on Dyslexia to advance identification, understanding, and educational remediation for dyslexic phenotypes
Established COGNITIVE DIVERSITY DAY in order to develop wider community support, de-stigmatize and advance cognitive diversity

What's next?
Validation and quantification of Athena Academy's methodology and outcomes
Dissemination of this information
Local, regional, national, and international acceptance and adoption
Possible scaling up of school size and reach, in order to serve as many dyslexic students as possible

Financials

ATHENA ACADEMY INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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ATHENA ACADEMY INC

Board of directors
as of 11/19/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

David Pritchard


Board co-chair

Carla Rayacich

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/19/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability