Four years ago, New Hampshire resident Meg Bamford became dissatisfied with how children with learning differences like ADHD and dyslexia were not succeeding in the traditional school environment and wanted to find a better way.
“If I had my own school, what would that look like?” she asked. “I started to think about how I could sell this vision of what a school could be like—to look at kids for what they were, their strengths and their talents, and us that to help strengths first and we would use that for what they needed to strengthen and to remediate instead of trying to teach through a program putting a square peg in a round hole.”
Bamford started to look around for an alternative when she happened upon a job opening at as Director of Radcliffe Creek School in Chestertown. It was a nationwide job search and would require a daunting move from New Hampshire to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so she applied with guarded expectations.
Now she is in her third year as Head of School at the alternative learning school.
“I myself was dyslexic, so I understand the power of good teaching and good connections and having parents that support kids,”
Bamford says that she loves Radcliffe Creek because it’s more than a typical independent school because its mission is to give back to as many kids and families as they can. “We don’t have a lot of frills here, but we have a lot of heart and talented teachers and that means everything, especially in a pandemic.”
The pandemic, however, did not slow down the teaching momentum. “We’ve actually thrived during the three months of the shutdown because we are so fluid and flexible and we think out of the box all the time, so we shifted our model a bit,” she says. Even at that, for kids challenged by the over-stimulation of group online classes, teachers would reach out to them individually to continue their classes.
“It worked because we are so connected with the kids and their families,” she says.
Radcliffe School uses a strength-based approach to teaching to “empower children in a dynamic environment that celebrates unique learning where students can take classes based on their skills rather than their age.”
The co-ed program offers Pre-K through 8th th grade, a 5-1 student to teacher ratio, and draws students from Kent, Queen Annes, Anne Arundel Counties as well as parts of Delaware.
The Chestertown Spy talked with Meg last week to catch up with Radcliffe Creek School.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School, go here.