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Schools & Program Visits - Feb, 2000 Issue #66 

The Phelps School
Malvern, Pennsylvania
Jim Spiro, Admission Director
(610) 644-1754

[Note: There have been some changes since this visit report was written, Michael Reardon is now Admissions Director and the URL for the website is now www.thephelpsschool.org]

Visit Report by Jodi Tuttle on April 22, 1999
(435) 656-1251 or jodit@redrock.net

Driving into the 110-acre Phelps campus gives one a feeling of entering a remarkable equestrian center, complete with riding arena and horse stables. Horse facilities are only a part of the facilities offered to students at Phelps. Other facilities include administrative offices, classrooms, library, dining hall, alumni chapel, student recreation center, dormitories, athletic fields and shops. This rural atmosphere lies only 22 miles west of Philadelphia and approximately two hours from New York City and Washington, D.C.

While Phelps is not a school for students with serious emotional difficulties, the school, which serves young men ages 12-19, is dedicated to the personal, academic and social development of each student. This takes place in a “family” atmosphere with small classes and a strong tutorial component. The goal is to achieve a proper balance between academic performance and the physical, social, moral, and personal development of each boy. The faculty emphasizes knowing each student well in order shape his personal course of study in a way that will enable him to improve his strengths, while giving him the opportunity to improve any skills requiring remediation.

Young gentlemen met our consultant tour as we arrived, escorting each of us to breakfast where food was served family style. Mealtime, at Phelps, is a time when the entire community gathers to share food and friendship and hear the news of the day. The successes of sporting events are announced, individual students recognized and any particulars of the day described.

The young men at my table shared their enthusiasm for their accomplishments since they had been at Phelps. Two things were important to them, accomplishment in academics and accomplishment in the sports and activities program. One student credited the Academic Support Program as the key to his first ever success in academics.

The Academic Support Program (ASP) serves young men who have learning differences. The program director is a Certified School Psychologist and instructional specialist who has had many years of experience working with students with learning differences and attention difficulties. The three basic components of the support program include individual assessment, remedial instruction, and study skills/content support. The operating premise is that the student should be served at his instructional level, then helped to grow from there. Support in the regular curriculum and monitoring of the student’s progress are the essential components to assuring that growth occurs. One-on-one and small group instruction is provided in Reading, English, and Math and is complemented by the use of the computer lab in the ASP facility.

Phelps also offers a comprehensive athletic program with competition in soccer, cross-country, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, power-lifting, and golf. The equestrian center provides horseback riding activities for students whether or not they have had previous experience with horses. Since Phelps School is also a “working” farm, interested students are offered such projects as landscaping, carpentry, care for cattle and swine, and repairing of machinery.

Phelps is a creative blend of a caring structure and freedom, designed to promote a sense of responsibility and self-growth necessary in our increasingly complex world. Students here are busy in a caring, sensitive climate, which emphasizes the positive in every situation. These students are growing in self-confidence while maintaining a spirit of respect and understanding for themselves and those around them. The school focuses on structuring learning and living experiences in a way that creates an environment for true accomplishments, and these young men certainly were proud of their accomplishments!

Copyright © 2000, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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