NHA Featured in Suburban Life

New Hope Academy & METC tutoring studio was recently featured in Suburban Life Magazine. Check out the article, reprinted here:

A Place to Thrive
New Hope Academy offers a supportive environment and education to meet the needs of every child.
By Leigh Stuart
For more than 30 years, Kathleen Rosso-Gana has dedicated her life to educating and uplifting
adolescents for whom so-called “traditional” school environments just didn’t work.
“Kids come to us for many reasons,” says Rosso-Gana, the founder, president, and executive director of
Motivational Educational Training Company Inc. and New Hope Academy. “When I founded New Hope Academy, I wanted to create a place where any child who was not thriving in a traditional setting for whatever reason can find their place.”
Boasting a two-to-one ratio of students to adult leaders at its Yardley and Doylestown campuses, New Hope Academy offers a tightly woven support network grounded in the philosophy, “Head and Heart Before the Brain.” In other words, the school values not just a student’s education, but also the student’s psychosocial and emotional development. “Many of our students come to us with a unique heartache, headache, or issue,” she says. “This is one reason we seek to add joy to children’s lives. Children with nothing to lose are very dangerous people.

From the beginning, we talk a lot. We meet with parents, teachers, administrators, to try to find out
what’s happening with a child so we can try to fix it.”
The past 12 months have brought a host of challenges no one could have foreseen. As an adaptive
learning environment, however, Rosso-Gana employed the creativity of each member of her team to meet challenges as they came. “We had to create the same philosophy and motivational environment online that we have here at school,” Rosso-Gana says. “Talking to a computer is very different than the human energy our students were used to in the building. We’ve had kids tell us, ‘I don’t like this,’ or ‘It’s too hard,’ but our counselors have been talking to as many kids as possible. And kids would get frustrated; they’d want to give up. We had to find a way to motivate them and remind them that this is temporary, and this will all end someday.”
“Last March was rough,” adds Tim Simmons, director of technology and media at New Hope Academy. “The entire educational world had to pivot to virtual. We had to adapt, but within two weeks we were up and running.”
Tiffany Trunell, director of pupil services for the Yardley campus, says New Hope Academy worked
diligently on engagement initiatives to bridge the gap between the online world and the classroom.
“A lot of kids are here for social or emotional issues, and COVID stopped a lot of activities,” Trunell says. “But once the activities resumed, any time we had an in-person event at the school, like the Halloween parade, we would also use Google Meet to include the virtual students as well.”
“So much was taken away from these kids, so as an administrator, I’ve been reaching out to a lot of
students and families to keep up that connection,” shares Colleen Kaufmann, dean of students for the Doylestown campus. “I think the kids felt robbed, so we did everything we could to help them feel special.”
This included making signs and having drive-by visits with graduating seniors. The school also held four separate mini-graduation ceremonies so each child could enjoy his or her moment in the sun.
“We go the extra mile,” Rosso-Gana says. “Where some teachers are feeling worn or tired, we keep a high energy in the building and work together.”

Feeling Connected
At present, students have the option to attend classes virtually or in person. Rosso-Gana invested in sanitization and air-purifying technology so students could attend in person once more, the
environment would be as safe as possible. The school has met all requirements set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doing so may have come at great expense, but Rosso-Gana says the school wanted to “do it right.”
“Sometimes a student is really struggling at home, really isolated, and this makes it even more
important to keep that child anchored into a school community,” says Trunell. “I feel that’s a really big thing for them—feeling like they’re connected, like they’re part of a community, and that they’ve found that place here.”
“A lot of our kids have gone back to in-person lessons,” says David Kennedy, director of the Yardley
campus. “This allows us to have a good working relationship with the kids, but virtual learning has been very effective as well. Everyone has gotten more tech savvy, but we’ve also had to realize that no matter what the platform, we have to make learning effective for the kids.”
Casey Barut, director of pupil services for the Doylestown campus, points out that staff haven’t just been working hard to uplift students, but also one another.
“Just like kids need a community, so does our staff,” Barut says. “We had to lean on each other as a
team and trust in the philosophy and model that Kathy has built. It was a challenge for us all, but I think this resonated with the kids, too—we were experiencing being human right along with them. Whether it’s listening to music or going for a walk, we talked about real-world strategies.
“That’s the New Hope Academy motto: ‘Head and Heart Before the Brain,’” she continues. “We built ourselves on that and work to listen and work through a child’s issue, and build their resilience and trust with us.”
Above all, Rosso-Gana believes New Hope Academy’s greatest asset is the foundation of hope upon which the school is built.
“I’ve been working with teens since I was a teen myself, and I love it,” she says. “We try to help kids
learn in a joyful environment. That joy is as important as food, shelter, and clothing. Adolescence can be a down, dark age, and these kids need to look forward to something.”

New Hope Academy

301 Oxford Valley Road, Bldg. 1701
Yardley, PA 19067
(215) 493-4200
350 S. Main Street, Bldg. 303
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 345-9333


And here is our previous Article from Suburban Life:

Renewed Hope
Children who failed to thrive in traditional schools find a clear path forward at New Hope Academy.
by Phil Gianficaro

Perhaps the most validating endorsement of New Hope Academy comes not from its students, but from their parents.
“‘You gave me back my child,’ is what we hear all the time,” says Kathy Rosso-Gana, founder and head of school at the academy, a nontraditional private school with campuses in Yardley and Doylestown for students, grades six through 12. Parents say such things because their children failed to thrive in a traditional school system but found a clear path forward at New Hope Academy.
“Parents tell us their child never liked going to school, but now looks forward to it,” she adds. “Before their child enrolled here, parents worried they might never graduate. Some of the issues the children have before coming here can take a family to chaos. The children just needed to find the right path.”
For many parents and students, New Hope Academy can be described as not just the right path but also the miracle path. Since its founding in 2000, the academy has specialized in motivating and educating school-phobic students, at-risk teens, gifted students, those with individualized education plans who require additional help, and students who feel they just do not “fit” at their school. By the time they receive their graduation diploma, 90 percent head off to either a four- or two-year college.
“With our small student-to-teacher ratio—we have 150 students and 55 instructors, not including 14 administrators—we teach them how to thrive,” Rosso-Gana says. “We show kids respect, and little by little they show it back. Some come in but are plagued by issues that paralyze them, such as anxiety, depression, and school-avoidance disorder. We focus on issues that have prevented students from learning.
“Our motto is ‘Head and heart before the brain,’” she continues. “Whenever there’s a problem, I need to coach the teacher, tell them they have to go back and revisit the relationship with the student. There has to be trust. A student must feel a teacher is there for them. We also have a saying: fun, fair, but firm. Kids know they need to be challenged.”
Rosso-Gana planted the seeds of New Hope Academy decades ago, when she was a secondary English teacher in Bucks County. She saw certain kids “falling through the cracks,” so she pledged to do something about it.
“With 30 kids in a class in public school, it’s hard to give the style of learning we at New Hope Academy provide,” she says. “I was very aware even then, as a young teacher, to develop relationships with the kids. Once you do that, the kids are in a different mindset. If not, most of them who get to us feel that they’re not smart. When a student tells me they don’t like being in school, I tell them they’re not in school but in a place of learning. We get them to trust us and be willing to open their minds to learning.”
In addition to New Hope Academy, Rosso-Gana runs a tutoring studio through her organization, Motivational Educational Training Company (METC). For 40 years, she has provided the community with one-on-one attention for clients in grade school through high school. Hailing from surrounding schools in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, students can receive help in any subject, as well as test prep, homework coaching, motivational and test-taking strategies, and any other academic need. As Rosso-Gana says, “I built my reputation through METC’s Tutoring Studio.”
As director of pupil services at New Hope Academy, Tiffany Trunell ensures that the needs of all students are being met, not only academically but also socially.
“With a lot of our students, academics is the least of their issues,” Trunell says. “The kids are here for a reason; they’ve all had a different journey. When we see the progress they make as a whole student, it means everything. It changes our world.”
David Kennedy, the director of New Hope Academy’s Yardley campus, believes positioning students for success on a daily basis ties back to issues of supervision and prevention.Caryn Search teaches students
“We take the right approach and avoid a lot of problems,” he says. “Plus, we form stronger working relationships with the students. We’re all familiar with the No Child Left Behind movement, but Kathy has been doing that for a long time. The kids who come here are the ones who were left behind.”
Kennedy notes the principal reason students thrive at New Hope Academy is the leadership, vision, and caring of Rosso-Gana. He describes her as “a real educator who understands the needs of the students and teachers and cares about their futures.”
Whether she’s providing the vision and drive at New Hope Academy, or appearing Saturdays on WPHT-1210 AM on The Educational Hour, with host Dom Giordano, or writing, speaking, teaching, or consulting about education, Kathy Rosso-Gana has a singular mission: to help each student be the best he or she can be.
“We do a lot to give the students joy,” Rosso-Gana says. “Giving them joy has to be like giving them food and shelter. We give them that.”
And, more than anything, she gives them hope.
New Hope Academy
350 S. Main Street
Doylestown, Pa.
(215) 345-9333
301 Oxford Valley Road, No. 1701
Yardley, Pa.
(215) 493-4200 
Photograph by Jody Robinson
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, April 2019.

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