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The Graham Academy and Wilkes University have established a collaborative professional relationship over the past several years. This relationship has provided 100’s of developing educators a practical “hands on” educational experience that expands on what is being taught in their coursework. Students from Wilkes Education Department visit both Graham Academy locations to observe the students and staff in a myriad of educational opportunities from individual student assessments to classroom wide behavior management techniques.

The mission of the Graham Academy and its overall philosophy are why this partnership is extremely successful. The opportunity to have the Wilkes Education Department inside the classrooms at the Graham Academy is a phenomenal way to give a direct view into Special Education for the individuals who have made the decision to work in that field. Having that experience behind them, the educators are now equipped to move forward in their journey to becoming our next group of teachers specializing in Special Education.

Wilkes University and The Graham Academy have also successfully introduced Panamanian developing educators to special education as it is provided in the United States. Three times per year, a group of Panamanian teachers attend Wilkes University as part of their professional development experience. The primary focus of the visiting teachers is to learn new and innovative ways to teach students with special needs and to bring these strategies back to Panama. The Graham Academy has consistently provided this professional development experience to Panamanian teachers who have, in turn, also provided our students with Spanish lessons and Panamanian cultural lessons.

The Graham Academy and Wilkes University partnered to host the Awardees of ‘Teachers and Principals of the Year’ from Panama at The Graham Academy’s elementary location in Kingston in February this year. Given the choice of several schools to visit, The Graham Academy was the first choice selected by Panama Dignitary, Ms. Luis Cardenas, a lifelong Panamanian educator, who was also in attendance. Ms. Cardenas was previously the National Director of Education in Panama. She was responsible for academic affairs for all schools and universities in Panama. Currently, Ms. Cardenas is the Vice Minister of Panama.

The Panamanian educators were able to observe different classrooms and activities throughout the morning at The Graham Academy. The visit was followed by a question and answer session with Carol McGrane, Academic Director and Nick Ouellette, Graham Academy President. Carol McGrane, Academic Director at the Graham Academy reports, “The partnership that has been created between the Wilkes University Meduca Program and the Graham Academy has provided us with exceptional opportunities for not just our staff but also our students. It continues to be an ongoing relationship which allows us to share in each other’s culture, language and education; and even though we come together in a partnership from two different cultures, I do believe the observation and vision we share as educator’s is universal.”

Sharing the mission and values of the programs followed at The Graham Academy provided the educators ideas and motivation to take home with them to Panama. For the mostly Spanish speaking group, Wilkes provided four translators to assist with communication.

President. Mr. Ouellette reports, “The Graham Academy is incredibly encouraged and enthusiastic about its relationship with Wilkes and our ability to create international connections in the pursuit of excellent special education for children everywhere.”

At the Graham Academy, our mission is to educate students living with autism and students living with emotional challenges to excel in life through communication, exploration, opportunity, acceptance, accountability, and ambition.

To request a tour or to explore employment opportunities visit our website at