Innovative Programs at DRS

Innovation Matters 

Davidson River School- Innovative Programs 2019-20Students and staff at Davidson River School benefit from our openness to innovation and alternative systems for achieving educational and personal goals. The following grant-funded projects and other initiatives are currently helping us innovate in support of the ambitious goals we share. 

Community Support for DRS Programs

United Way of Transylvania County—
Transylvania School Attendance Collaborative with Project Rebound

Need: Attendance is potentially the most significant factor driving success and unmet objectives for students at Davidson River School.

Solution: This collaborative approach to reduce chronic absenteeism intervenes at the first signs of attendance problems to activate resources for mediation, social-emotional learning, and increased student investment in engaging projects. Vast resources support our Project Rebound program to empower students in goal-setting, accountability, and meeting growth targets in personal and academic areas. The collaborative brings together partners at Mountain Roots, Hunger Coalition, and Mediation Center of Western North Carolina (coordinator of grant program).

Award: $24,000


Community Foundation of Western North Carolina—
Resiliency Training for Davidson River School Staff

Need: Trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect an overwhelming majority of DRS students, creating and sustaining barriers to academic and personal success.

Solution: Ultimately, DRS coupled these resources with a federal TSI grant to adopt a two-year effort to become “trauma-skilled certified” with tools and specific protocols to provide appropriate services to students who deal with trauma and ACEs. 

Award: $6,035


Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Youth Literacy Grant—
(Awarded September 2019)
Seeing Ourselves in Texts—Reading Relevant Topics for Improved Resiliency

Need: Students who do not see their experiences reflected in literature and other easily-accessible writing need to see the value in their lives and the acknowledgement of their resiliency in the face of adversity.

Solution: Through quarterly schoolwide reads (9th and 10th grade) in the areas of incarceration, homelessness, mental illness, and parental loss or foster care, DRS seeks to increase students’  positive view of reading and writing, and nurture new avenues of self-expression for students to process experiences that represent ongoing challenges or barriers.

Award: $1,750


Private Benefactor—
Hands-On Science Experience with Oxbow River Snorkeling

Need: Students who lack hands-on experience with scientific inquiry and exploration may miss opportunities to develop higher-order reasoning and expand their outlook for goal-setting.

Solution: Put students in the water with a skilled guide to learn about the natural world and classify macro-invertebrates as part of an ongoing river quality effort, blending science, ELA (English-Language Arts), art, and physical education in an interdisciplinary program.

Award: $2,000

Carolina Farm Credit Grant (pending)—
Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Need: Students recovering from trauma and ACEs face a need to restore trust and rediscover relational wholeness.

Solution: Ninth graders enter a therapeutic process that progresses from walking and getting to know horses, to caring and only later riding them at the Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Riding and Education. Volunteers skilled in nurturing empathy assist students through direct and indirect intervention. “Horses helping humans heal” is the motto of Free Rein, which speaks directly to a need many DRS students face.

Award: $5,000

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