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Specialized Education

Oberle provides a safe, nurturing, and stimulating academic environment for students in grades 5 through 12 as well as students continuing in a post-graduate program. Whether your child is struggling in an academic area or is well above grade level, our personalized approach to learning can address both. Upon enrollment, each student receives an individualized academic assessment that provides the student and staff with the information needed for setting and attaining their own personalized educational goals.

Student-Teacher Connection

Our program is deliberate, structured, multi-sensory, and personalized.  We utilize evidence-based approaches and best practices that involve specific learning strategies proven to support students who learn differently. Our teacher to student ratio averages 4:1 and some classes also have a paraprofessional or behavioral support staff when the need arises.  With small class sizes and personalized instruction, teachers can understand, care about, and encourage each student to achieve their maximum potential. Our teachers and staff are experienced with handling a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges and can provide students with the tools and support they need to overcome personal barriers and explore interests, build skills, and establish personal goals for greater independence.

To support our focus on interactive, hands-on instruction, we also have a graphic design lab, a science lab, an art lab, an independent living lab, vocational labs, and a working culinary arts lab. All our classrooms are spacious and have whiteboard technology. Each student is assigned a Chromebook for accessing educational software, communicating through school email, and participating in virtual learning. Several acres adjacent to our main building provide green space for recreation and physical education classes. The local YMCA, as well as city parks, are also utilized. 

Behavioral Support

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The Oberle Academy recognizes the critical relationship between behavior and learning. By providing a quality, individualized learning environment and developing nurturing and respectful student-staff relationships, we increase students’ feelings of connection to the school. This connection is highly correlated with a decrease in the incidence of challenging behavior as well as an increase in academic achievement.

To set and reinforce behavioral expectations, The Academy employs a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), three Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT), and one Behavioral Support Person. The BCBA helps the student develop behavioral goals and maintain positive behavior by identifying replacement behaviors, individual reinforcement schedules, and helping teachers make environmental and communication changes to help support the student throughout his or her day. Our highly trained behavior technicians help support the students on a daily basis to achieve a true symbiosis between student and school.

The BCBA and RBT work with individual students on modifying problematic behaviors. The BCBA spends a great deal of time observing the student’s reactions and behavior across all school settings to develop an effective treatment plan that will be shared with the RBTs, students, staff, and the parent/guardian. This support plan will also be shared with the referring school systems and other related service providers.  Daily information regarding behavior and academic achievement can be accessed online through our Gradelink system. 

Career & Technical Education

The goal of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) program is to teach students the skills in demand in the labor market and provide clear pathways to industry certifications, post-secondary certificates and degrees.

The addition of our CTE program has been successful in motivating students reluctant to attend school more frequently and be more engaged in their core academic classes. Many of our CTE students also participate in our Education for Employment program and obtain training sites in the community related to their CTE training. This training and experience often leads to competitive employment in the community.

All students are required to pass OSHA training. 

Education for Employment

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Our Education for Employment (EFE) program allows students to learn about the world of work in the classroom setting and gain real-life work experience in a variety of businesses in the Fredericksburg area.

Students work directly with The Oberle Academy's transition support staff to determine their interests and abilities, explore career paths, job shadow and eventually find a training site in the community where they work during the school day. Students receive a training stipend for this program of up to $80 per week. Research has found that work-based learning helps students apply and extend classroom learning, gain motivation and understanding, explore careers and develop critical understanding of the work environment. 


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The Gladys H. Oberle School offers individual and group counseling by our two licensed professional counselors, Jessica Slusher and Sonya Love. All students are evaluated by their assigned counselor as a part of a 30-day initial assessment to determine appropriate counseling services. Students may request to see a counselor at any time by completing the counselor request form. 

Enhancing our counseling department is the addition of animal-assisted activities. Research shows the presence of an animal can significantly increase positive social behavior and serves as a calming agent.

Meet the Oberle Counselors!

Sonya Love, LPC

I am Sonya Love.  I will be married to my college sweetheart for 30  years in June, 2023. We have one daughter, a practicing Chiropractor.  I am a Liberty University Alumni, graduating with my Master's in Counseling in 1998, and I completed the credentialing process as a licensed Professor-Counselor through the Virginia Board of Counseling in 2014.

I have acquired over 30 years of extensive experience in the mental health/community agency counseling fields, which includes clinical supervision, community-based counseling services, therapeutic foster care, special needs adoption, outpatient counseling services, and collegiate professor.  Additionally, I believe in giving back and serving others in our community. My community services include, but is not limited to, serving as a Board Member of Mental Health of America, Member of Child Abuse Prevention Committee, various community events such as Relay for Life, member of Virginia Clinical Counselor Alliance, and serving in my church.

Of my 30 years of experience, over 11 years have been at The Oberle Academy. I feel honored and privileged to be a part of the maturation process of our students and their families.  It brings me such joy to watch the students and their families embrace their potential.

Fun facts about Mrs. Love: she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, enjoys day trips and traveling, participates in local races, completing 3 half marathons, and is a movie fanatic.

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Jessica Slusher, MA

Hello!  My name is Jessica Slusher and I am thrilled to have started this school year with these amazing Bulldogs at The Oberle Academy.  I am looking forward to continuing to build meaningful relationships with students and their families along the way.  I have a decade of experience working with special needs populations in the central Virginia area and have been working within the counseling field for five years. 

I am a Virginia Commonwealth University and Liberty University Alumni and I have always had a passion for education. My background is in Behavior Analysis and School Counseling, and I am currently continuing my education and working towards a second master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I am from Stafford, Virginia but currently live in King George with my family and we enjoy the small-town rural community that surrounds us. I am the wife of a firefighter and the mother of three young children.  They are the light of my life.  My family keeps me busy at home and they constantly remind me to find the joy in the little moments! 

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