Almaden Country Day School (ACDS), known for its unique balance of academic rigor, joyful learning and the development of confident, well-rounded students, will launch a program within the school that focuses on the needs of students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disorders, Head of School Olaf Jorgenson announced today.
Approximately 20% of children are dyslexic, according to the International Dyslexia Association. In the South Bay, no other program like The Learning Center exists for students in grades K-8 to support children and their families.
ACDS was founded in 1982 with the goal of discovering the gifts in every child. The leadership of the school emphasizes that The Learning Center is an important extension of that mission.
"Because of the unique way their brains work, students with dyslexia and similar disorders are often among the brightest, most creative and most curious. And yet they struggle," says Jorgenson. "Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Agatha Christie, Whoopi Goldberg, Charles Schwab, Pablo Picasso, and many more. All dyslexic and all incredibly successful original thinkers."
The Learning Center (TLC) will use the proven Orton-Gillingham methodology to help students overcome their learning difficulties and make the most of their gifts. The program is highly personalized, with a student to teacher ratio of four to one.
In addition, The Learning Center provides its students and their families with a complete social and educational experience. Students at The Learning Center mix with mainstream classmates every day, taking elective classes, playing after-school sports, acting on stage, and participating in school-wide social and family activities. Their school time is equally divided between the TLC and these mainstream classes and activities.
"This will be a godsend for any child struggling with learning-based issues, and for parents who want a well-rounded, mainstream school experience for their child," says Cecilia Robb, who will serve as the first director of the TLC. "It's also helpful for those who have one child with a learning disorder and other children who are mainstreamed, because siblings can attend the same school during the same hours," she continued. "Parents have a single source for a great school that will serve the needs of all of their children. And because TLC students spend half their time in mainstream classes, clubs, sports, and field trips, we are able to show the children how multitalented they are and that their learning differences do not define them."
The Learning Center is a 3-year program for most children who qualify for services. After about three years, TLC students transition back into their home schools with the skills, attitudes, and confidence necessary to succeed, or stay in the mainstream program at ACDS.
The Learning Center will open in 2018, and Almaden Country Day School is accepting student applications now. More information about TLC can be found at www.almadencountrydayschool.org/thelearningcenter.