Leading by Example
On the Caribbean island of Dominica, the Achievement Learning Center (ALC), operating under ‘Circle of Friends’, was formed in 2011 as a private, non-proﬁt school for children with disabilities. ALC ﬁlls the gap that existed on the island for access to special education services for children whose needs are not met in the mainstream education system. It is a legally registered education and training institution that specializes in Special Education Services and Vocational Training for children and youth with disabilities. Individualized education is provided to meet the needs of its students, ensuring that they reach their full potential.
ALC is primarily focused on the provision of services that will help children master the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. The main aim is to create a learning environment suitable for catering to the needs of children who are struggling academically. In 2015, ALC piloted its pre-K program with three students, and the number quickly grew to six.
In collaboration with the Council Award Care & Education (CACHE), ALC offers Vocational Skills training to at-risk youth. So far, the school has successfully offered awards and certificate levels 1 & 2 in Early Years Care and Education, along with level 2 for caregivers in Supporting Individuals with Disabilities. The Center has also signed a contract with Mott McDonald to offer Level 1 Employability skills training to 550 at-risk youths for the period 2020-2022.
Multiple successes are being experienced. Four boys have successfully transitioned from their Individualized Education Program at ALC into the Creative and Expressive Arts (CSEC) program at the Dominica State College. These young men completed the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) program at the school and then moved on to follow their (CSEC) courses. The ALC helped Allistair Abel, a young man with Down Syndrome, to transition into the workforce. Alistair is presently employed at Jolly’s Pharmacy.
In addition to ALC’s dedication to ensuring students can cope with life after graduating from their programme, they take pride in concentrating on the the holistic development of their students. ALC witnesses their continued growth and development as a direct result of the functional skills they are taught that helps them to integrate well in society.
Not only does ALC focus on inclusion for students but they also stress the need for inclusiveness in their staff. Because of this ideology, they were excited to welcome wheelchair user, Ms Lazandra Lazaar as a member of staff.
Achievement Learning Center advocates for inclusive communities, but they have also chosen to lead by example.