Atlanta-based special needs school expands its experiential emotional intelligence curriculum

Student at Cumberland Academy of Georgia participates in the "IMAGINE If" programCumberland Academy of Georgia believes that social growth is equally as important as academic growth.  In addition to a teaching staff that specializes in educating students with learning differences, Cumberland houses a therapeutic counseling staff that plays an equal role in student success at school, at home and in the world.  One of the tools Cumberland counselors utilize is an experiential emotional intelligence curriculum entitled “IMAGINE If…” “IMAGINE If…” emphasizes core principles like “gratitude” and “courage” in an effort to build a student’s level of self-awareness, motivation, and self-esteem.  

On a weekly basis, students explore various topics through open discussions in the classroom and journaling digitally through Google Classroom. The counseling staff introduces the material to students during homeroom and teachers incorporate the information into their lessons, providing students with additional opportunities to explore concepts in their daily interactions . The digital journal also provides students with opportunities to express their feelings and reflect. Journal prompts are provided and students respond based on their thoughts and experiences. This online forum is monitored by counselors and provides them with valuable insight and feedback on each student.

“The more we infuse Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into the curriculum and student life, the better our students are equipped to handle stress and surprise,” said Dr. Spargo, director of counseling at Cumberland Academy. “The program helps us know how to listen and reach our students so they can develop life-long skills to navigate successfully in all areas of life.”  

Aligning with Cumberland’s mission, the “IMAGINE If…” program helps provide support and guides students in learning the importance of goal setting, daily positive practice, and self-awareness to become self-sufficient young adults.  Jennifer Kramer, speaker and author of IMAGINE If…, regularly visits the campus and is accessible to faculty, staff, and families as a consultant.  

About Cumberland Academy of Georgia

Cumberland Academy of Georgia specializes in the needs of students in grades 4 through 12 who have high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities. Cumberland was founded in 2007 by Debbi and Matthew Scarborough, and is a fully-accredited, independent, non-profit school that seeks to provide a safe and supportive academic atmosphere for its students. Cumberland accepts applications year-round. To schedule a family tour, please contact Jane Paoletta, Director of Admissions, at 404-835-9000, or email