FAQs

Does a child need a formal diagnosis to be enrolled in The Learning Center?

Yes. Applicants need to obtain a psycho-educational assessment from a licensed diagnostician. The Learning Center serves children diagnosed with Language-Based Learning Disorders including dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. Sometimes these diagnoses also include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), though we don’t admit children whose sole or primary diagnosis is ADHD. But these are the only learning differences we are trained to serve in The Learning Center.

Where can I get my child tested to see if he or she qualifies for admission to The Learning Center?

Your pediatrician or someone at your school will likely be able to provide a reference for a psychologist who is certified to administer psycho-educational assessments. The process will involve multiple visits, and will result in valuable information about your child's learning needs.

If you would like additional referrals, ACDS has a list of professionals with whom we have worked in the past. Please contact either Mary Jo Heindel (mheindel@a-cs.org) or Cecilia Robb (crobb@a-cs.org) for more information.

Are TLC teachers trained to provide special instruction for students with language-based learning challenges?

Yes. The Learning Center's teachers are specially trained in Orton-Gillingham methodology by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). TLC faculty members are veteran, licensed teachers with over 100 years of collective teaching experience across grades K-8. Most of them also have dyslexic children themselves, so they understand firsthand the challenges facing students with language processing disorders.

What is the class size in The Learning Center?

TLC features a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio, and this is set by policy; our model limits each learning pod to a maximum of four students per teacher as is recommended in research on teaching children with language processing challenges. Sometimes the students gather in larger groups to work together and discuss projects or activities, or to collaborate on creations in the Imaginarium during their PBL time (see "A Day in TLC Life" schedule), but core content instruction in the pods is strictly limited to 4:1.

What does it mean that TLC is an “integrated” program?

This means that TLC students take their core classes (reading, writing, math) in The Learning Center, and then spend the other 50% of their school day with mainstream students in enrichment and elective classes, at lunch and recess, in after-school clubs and our no-cut sports.

TLC students also join their mainstream peers on overnight field trips and in our all-school events like Food Truck Friday, Pumpkin Carving at Halloween, or the traditional Thanksgiving Feast. TLC students are not stigmatized or made to feel different from their mainstream peers at ACDS; they are instead integrated with mainstream students into the life of the school.

How long do students stay in the TLC to gain the skills they need?

It will vary from student to student, but in most cases students will take classes in The Learning Center for about three years and then transition into mainstream classes, either continuing at ACDS or returning to their home schools. The process takes patience, determination, and commitment from parents, students, and TLC faculty, and it is transformative.

Is there any support provided when students transition from TLC into mainstream classes?

Yes. Students who stay at Almaden Country Day School after they leave TLC continue to attend our “Success” class that’s led by a TLC faculty member and meets four times per week. In Success, the teacher provides mini-lessons to refresh important skills and techniques, checks in on students individually to monitor their progress, and provides help with whatever specific challenges each student is facing.

Do you have to enroll at Almaden Country Day School to receive support services in The Learning Center?

Yes. While they are enrolled in TLC, students are also enrolled in Almaden Country Day School, and fully participate with their mainstream peers in all school programs including elective and enrichment classes, overnight field trips, after-school clubs and no-cut team sports. When they are ready to transition into mainstream classes, TLC students can choose to stay at Almaden Country Day School or return to their home schools.

Is there tuition assistance available?

Yes, tuition assistance is available to applicants who qualify. Please see our Tuition Assistance page for more information.

How can I find out more about The Learning Center?

For further questions, please contact Mrs. Cecilia Robb, Director (crobb@a-cs.org).

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