Who Are We?

Just Right Academy Inc. is a nonprofit private elementary and secondary learning center geared to children who need structure, consistency, positive reinforcement, more movement, reduced stress, both remediation and challenge along with a multi-sensory way of learning. More

The Academy is located in Durham, North Carolina, at the historic Murphey School Shared Visions Retreat Center, located at 3717 Murphy School Road where it intersects with Old Hwy 10 just south of Hillsborough, close to Chapel Hill.

NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY AS TO STUDENTS. Just Right Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, or sexual orientation to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, or sexual orientation in administration of its educational and admissions policies, scholarship programs, and other school-administered programs.

The JRA Blog

learning to live independently

learning to live independently

Posted by Linda McDonough on April 22, 2014

While many of our students will go on to college, academic education may not be the best route for all of our graduates. With that in mind and with a great new building to use, the 2014-2015 school year  will debut our Life Skills track for students ages 15 to 21. This program is designed to meet the individual needs of students incorporating daily living skills, self-determination and interpersonal skills, employment skills, and social thinking (this last using Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum). Our new building has a complete kitchen and a washer/dryer, and students will learn to feel at home grocery shopping, preparing a meal for themselves and others, and doing their own laundry. Other skills include using public transportation, hygiene, house cleaning, gardening, and such socially scary tasks like eating at a buffet. Core academics will be functional and real world based. Math will center around using money, telling time, measurements, and other real life... Read the full post


we need your help

we need your help

Posted by Linda McDonough on April 15, 2014

It’s that 101 Club time of year again! In order to start JRA, we asked 101 people to donate $101. Some couldn’t donate that much. Some donated several memberships. But it all evened out and we had the initial funds to start a school. And each year we’ve done it again. And we hope to do it again this year. We have a new building that requires some work to be usable and attractive. We have grounds and a playground to get in shape. And while we have all that going on, we still want to give some deserving students tuition assistance. So our 101 Club members are more important than ever this year. I’m asking you to give and give generously. Membership in the 101 Club won’t score you a coffee mug or a monogrammed tote bag. You won’t have to attend a banquet or a meeting. You won’t get a card to put in your wallet. What will you get? The knowledge that a child who might not be successful in other traditional public or private schools has a shot at success.... Read the full post


We’re moving!

We’re moving!

Posted by Linda McDonough on March 31, 2014

This past week we closed on a new facility. A former church located at 4723 Erwin Road in Durham, our new campus will give us more inside and outside areas: six classrooms, six offices, a full kitchen, and a large multipurpose room. There is a large playground and outside play area. And we are so much more convenient for most of our families. We will miss Murphey School, a local nonprofit incubator and our first home. Our generous landlord, Jay Miller, provided a comfortable nest to get us off to a good start. The large classrooms and big windows made us realize how important space and light are. The Murphey School shaped who we are and we’ll always feel a kinship and an affection for that facility. But we’re excited about offices and closets, storage rooms,  and a full kitchen. We’ll have a washer and dryer, part of our new Life Skills program for older students who need help in learning to live independently. Watch for news of this new program in upcoming posts. Work... Read the full post


JRA Silent Auction, December 7

Posted by Linda McDonough on December 4, 2013

Please join us for our first silent auction at JRA, December 7, 2013, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. We will have a wide variety of items for silent bidding as well as table raffles: beach weekends, a bike, pottery, art, restaurant and business gift certificates, tickets, jewelry, CDs, books, wine, food, kids’ items . . . there are too many items to list. Table raffles will happen every 15 minutes and bidding for larger items will stop at 3:30. Local musicians will entertain you as you browse, and snacks and drinks will be available. Kids’ activities include a beeswax candle activity with our own Ms.Reily, board games, a movie, face painting, and the playground, which for that day will include an inflatable slide. It is also a chance to tour the school, meet the teachers, parents, and students, and enjoy historic Murphey School. Many items can be seen on our Facebook page. Please join us!  Read More →


in charge of the world

in charge of the world

Posted by Linda McDonough on August 20, 2013

A delightful part of this summer has been helping a small friend of mine get ready for kindergarten by working on phonemic awareness, letter sounds, and beginning reading. Although she is very bright, reading skills do not come easily to her, and she is anxious about school beginning. Her anxiety has begun to spread and if her mother leaves the room, she has trouble focusing until she returns. And she’s begun worrying about her house catching on fire. Mom could not figure out where this fear was coming from. After some gentle questioning, Kate reluctantly told her: “Smoky the Bear said that only I could prevent forest fires.” It’s a tough thing to think one has that much power, and it’s hard to sleep when you are constantly watching out for fires. Very little learning takes place when one is that worried. Anxious kids who take on the weight of the world can become more and more controlling, trying desperately to gain power over a world that seems chaotic even... Read the full post


Social Thinking at JRA

Social Thinking at JRA

Posted by Linda McDonough on July 31, 2013

Social Thinking is a term coined by Michelle Winner  to wrap our heads around the mysterious way that human beings communicate with each other. People who have a high “emotional quotient” or E.Q. (Check out Daniel Goleman’s popular book, Emotional Intelligence) don’t have “social skills,” they just intuitively read other people accurately and respond in a way that makes others feel comfortable around them. Simple? Heck no! Not for many individuals with neurodevelopmental delays (primarily those on the autism spectrum), or who are anxious, or who for unknown reasons have trouble understanding what others want from them without being explicitly told. Learning a set of skills to be socially successful doesn’t work because, unless an individual is very low developmentally (where ABA is most useful), we don’t relate by a set of skills. We relate by comprehending nuance. The more our students at JRA learn how to pick up on nuance in different situations with different personalities,... Read the full post


Outdoor Academy

Outdoor Academy

Posted by Linda McDonough on April 12, 2013

There are some kids who would be outside all day if we’d let them. They are the ones who sit by the window, gazing wistfully outside, not able to focus on their work. Or perhaps they are the kids who have so much energy, and they are exhausted trying to keep it together for two more hours. You know the kids I’m talking about. You may even have one yourself. Faced with the prospect of four of these kids, this year we began the Outdoor Academy. Taught by Behm Williams, these guys head outside in the afternoon while others are doing Spanish, art, and projects. Each day they begin by setting up a tarp together, both to give them shade and to practice working as a group. They have read a variety of books together: My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, Where the Lilies Bloom, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, and The Other Side of the Mountain, all books that focus on living and surviving in the outdoors. They have discussed these books and written about them in their journals. Practice in knot tying,... Read the full post