Our Approach

Academy of Whole Learning is a place where active minds are challenged by using a blended learning approach.



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  • Our Philosophy

    Our program is unique in its ability to meet the needs of high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or related learning differences, offering a robust academic and social curriculum that encourages the development of life skills essential in becoming self-sufficient adults. At AOWL, we know that the underlying needs of students with ASD and other disabilities need to be met before learning can take place. Our students grow and learn in a nurturing, positive, encouraging environment that enhances their self-esteem.

    Academy of Whole Learning is a place where active minds are challenged by using a blended learning approach. Blended learning incorporates direct instruction in small groups of 2-3 students combined with computer-mediated activities. This allows the teachers to collect progress data, get immediate feedback, allowing the teacher to customize instruction and assessment while giving student control over time, place, path and pace. Along with using a blended learning approach, AOWL uses vertical integration (multi-ages grouped by learning level), allowing students to move at a flexible pace using various learning pathways to mastery. Students experience success because they are taught at their actual achievement levels to ensure mastery before introducing new concepts.

    Academy of Whole Learning faculty and staff believe that all students have learning potential and do well if they CAN, which the school must identify, stimulate, and nurture. All children want to learn and do well. Our responsibility as educators is to discover how to motivate each student. We develop a plan that fosters curiosity and love of learning that best meets his or her individual educational needs.

  • About Us

    Academy of Whole Learning is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) school located in Minnetonka, MN. Serving the Greater Twin Cities Area, Academy of Whole Learning is designed specifically to give students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or related learning differences their first chance to succeed.

    Our school was founded in 2003 by parents seeking a different educational opportunity after their child struggled to succeed in more traditional school settings. Originally created to serve disabled children in general, AOWL’s focus has narrowed to exclusively serve children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or related learning differences.

    Offering a holistic, complete school program, Academy of Whole Learning provides an alternative opportunity for students with ASD or related learning differences to flourish. By understanding and supporting each student’s neurological, physical, social, and emotional needs, the school provides a positive and unique educational environment, one that encourages students to participate in and enjoy learning. Each student receives an individually planned education, developed and administered by expertly trained staff, to cater to the student’s current developmental level and individual training needs.

    The staff at Academy of Whole learning prides themselves on exceptional education, mostly due to their exceptional preparation.  Every teacher at AOWL is certified in both general education and special education practices.

    Academy of Whole Learning is governed by a well-rounded board of appointed members, consisting of parents, staff, and representatives from the community.  These individuals guide the school collectively, each contributing to the advancement of the school with their own professional backgrounds.

    Today, Academy of Whole Learning is one of only a handful of private schools in the world and the only one in the greater Twin Cities area that specifically educates high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder or related learning differences.

  • Academic Standards

    To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, Academy of Whole Learning has established clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade. Standards and benchmarks are important because they: 1) identify the knowledge and skills developed for a specific grade level, grade band or developmental level; 2) help define the course credit requirements for graduation; and, 3) serve as a guide for the adoption and design of curricula. Consistent standards provide a way for teachers to measure student progress throughout the school year and ensure that students are on the pathway to success in their academic careers.

    Academy of Whole Learning usesCommon Core State Standards for math and English Language Arts, Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards for social studies and Minnesota benchmarks for physical education; the standards below are used for other key content areas taught at AOWL.

    Art Education: National Visual Art Standards
    Science: Next Generation Science Standards
    Health: National Health Education Standards
    Spanish: National Standards for Foreign Language Education