Welcome to the Max Charter School Web Site
It is with great pleasure but with all humility that I greet you as Director of the Maxine Giardina Charter School. The school, founded in 2007 in honor of the late Mrs. Maxine Gros Giardina, is located on the Nicholls State University campus in the heart of the quaint, quiet city of Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Maxine and her husband Jake Giardina worked tirelessly to obtain help and assistance for children with dyslexia. Through The Giardina Family Foundation, they provided opportunities for teacher-training programs, lectures, and seminars on dyslexia. Ultimately, with the help of other parents of children with dyslexia, they were successful in getting state legislation passed in 1990. This legislation provided avenues of service for the dyslexic in the regular education classrooms in Louisiana’s public schools.
Still, it did not seem to be enough as parents continued to clamor for more help. So, after much planning, preparation, and hard work, the MAX CHARTER, as it has come to be known, opened its doors in August 2007.
Students with average and above average intelligence having dyslexia and/or other related language learning difficulties are our clients. These same students may have a comorbid disability such as Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. The mission of the school is to serve these kinds of learners.
Let’s take a look at this brain-based learning difficulty phenomenon. Dyslexia is very complex and affects reading, spelling, word retrieval, articulation, oral and written expression, and remembering facts. It affects one out of every five children of which there is a four to one ratio of boys to girls. There are approximately ten million dyslexics in America alone. Left undiagnosed, those affected lose self-confidence, self-esteem, and eventually complete interest in school—leaving large gaps in their learning wall. This place called school is no longer a happy place for them, and some eventually drop out.
The Max Charter School faculty and staff are highly trained, dedicated educators working diligently to put the “happy” back in school for the one hundred plus students attending MAX. It is our goal to diagnose and remediate the academics, as well as boost and strengthen the talents and potential giftedness of each student in our charge. In essence, we focus on teaching the whole child.
The latest research on dyslexia and its related learning differences is studied and put into classroom practice through systematic, direct, sequential instruction using multisensory strategies to teach concepts and skills of reading. Hands-on activities are required in all classrooms across all disciplines of the curriculum.
The overall curriculum used at MAX is explained in more detail in another section of the web site.
The number of students in each class is kept small in order to give as much individualized assistance as possible. Classes with larger numbers have two professionals working with the students throughout the school day.
Parents interested in sending their child to MAX must fill out an admission’s packet, and these names are placed on a waiting list. An evaluation of dyslexia from a reputable source is highly recommended. A lottery is held in early spring, and names of students are selected by a random pull. These children are then assessed by the school’s admission team to determine proper placement so as to instruct the child at his/her correct level.
Parents must provide transportation and lunch for their children. The school provides before-school and after-school services for a small fee.
The students wear red shirts with the MAX logo and khaki bottoms. The school handbook outlines the dress code as well as the school’s code of conduct. There are high expectations for each student to follow the rules and do his/her best.
Each day, teachers honor some students with a “Caught Ya Being Good” slip which is placed in a jar in the office area. Weekly, a name is pulled, and a “Good Choice” award is given. The student’s name is placed on the Gator Gallery bulletin board outside the office area.
Students who have maintained an A or B in conduct attend a Gator Gala. Each school chooses the fun activity in which the well-behaved children participate for making good choices.
Each school — Primary, Middle, and Upper—chooses one student who has shown exceptional good character during a month’s time. These students are awarded “Student of the Month.” They receive a certificate, a free dinner from Cane’s, and their picture is hung in the hall for a month.
At MAX we promote positive behavior, respect for adults, respect for peers, and respect for one’s self through words and actions. Each day our children recite a school pledge in which they audibly take responsibility for their actions and the consequences, good or bad, for their choices. Loudly and clearly in one voice, they state, “I treat others as I want them to treat me.” The pledge ends with the school motto and again in one voice, “I always strive for the MAX!”
We all agree, “Children live what they learn!” At MAX, teaching the whole child is our hallmark. At any time you would like to visit us, please don’t hesitate to call or email.
Linda M. Musson, Teach to Teach, L.C.C.