The Learning Center
Almaden Country Day School offers the first and only Orton-Gillingham-based K-8 integrated learning program in the South Bay Area for children with language-based learning differences, led by master teachers.
Our unique approach to language-based learning challenges keeps your child in a mainstream school and prepares him or her to be successful in high school and beyond.
The Learning Center Highlights
- Proven Orton-Gillingham and multisensory math approaches
- Highly personalized and intensive 4:1 student/teacher ratio
- An integrated, complete social and educational experience
- Children spend fully half of each school day in our mainstream classes and activities
- Students transition to all mainstream classes in an average of three years
Children with language-based learning challenges including dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and dyscalculia (math) tend to be intelligent, often highly so. They are creative, expressive, and driven.
Yet since they are truly “wired differently” and don’t think or learn in the same way that neurotypical or “mainstream” students do, children with language processing difficulties often encounter tremendous obstacles in a mainstream classroom.
As a result, these otherwise bright and academically-capable children experience failures at school that mask their true potential and hinder the expression of their talents.
The Learning Center at Almaden Country Day School was created to support these children, and help them discover their gifts.
Empowering Children: The Learning Center
The Mission of Almaden Country Day School is to discover the gifts in every child, and The Learning Center (TLC) was conceived in 2017 as a way to extend our mission and serve children with language processing difficulties. The Learning Center offers a full-day educational program tailored to facilitate learning and to help children develop strategies to thrive in a mainstream classroom setting.
The Learning Center’s veteran staff are highly-trained specialists, all certified by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators to teach Orton-Gillingham literacy and multi-sensory math methods that support children struggling with reading, writing, and/or math. Most of TLC's staff are themselves parents of children with dyslexia.
Featuring a 1:4 teacher-to-student ratio, instruction in The Learning Center is highly individualized, closely monitored, and contoured to the specific needs of each child.
The Learning Center’s program is highly structured to meet the specific needs of children with language-based learning challenges, but there are plenty of opportunities in the school day for TLC students to get outside and run, jump, play, build, rest, explore and discover alongside their mainstream peers in a wide range of engaging classes and activities.
Here is a “typical” schedule for elementary and middle school TLC students, noting that the schedule can vary according to the needs of the students, special events or activities, and more.
Sample Middle School daily TLC schedule:
8:00am - 8:15am
Opening/Community Building (whole group advisory/responsive classroom)
8:15am - 9:15am
Language Arts (reading, spelling, word usage, etc.)
9:15am - 9:45am
Writing Workshop (3 days/week)
9:45am - 10:00am
Recess (with whole school)
|10:00am - 11:15am||Mathematics|
|11:15am - 11:40am||Project-Based Learning (PBL) - Create projects integrating all academic content areas (whole group). This period is extended on Fridays for extra time in the Imaginarium makerspace.|
|11:40am||Lunch (with whole school)|
12:30pm - 3:00pm
2:15pm - 3:00pm
Elective/Enrichment Classes (with whole school)
Middle School Success elective class
3:05pm School Day Over
Extended Care from 3pm - 6pm*
Note: If students attend enrichment classes (science, art, music) in the morning, time in TLC will be made up in the afternoon
*3:15pm for Elementary grades: optional Apple Orchard after-care until 6pm, or activities like sports clinics, FLL Robotics, Chess Club, Math Club, and more. For Middle School grades: optional MASH after-care until 6pm, or activities like no-cut team sports, Competitive Speech & Debate, Chess Club, and more.
The Learning Center’s primary function is to prepare children with strategies, skills, and confidence that will help them thrive in a mainstream classroom setting, either at Almaden Country Day School or in their home schools. For most children, this will require approximately three (3) years of support in TLC.
To support students who transition out of The Learning Center into the ACDS mainstream program, a TLC teacher will continue to meet with them four times per week in “Success” class to review key techniques, monitor their academic progress, provide assistance and communicate with their mainstream teachers as needed. TLC graduates may take Success for one year or for the duration of their time at ACDS.
The Learning Center (TLC) provides a highly individualized instructional program for students with language-based learning difficulties including dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and dyscalculia (math). Children who qualify for TLC demonstrate difficulty in reading, spelling, mathematics, handwriting, organization of written language, sustained attention, homework completion, or any combination of these areas.
Students generally enroll in The Learning Center from kindergarten through grade six, though in certain circumstances we will also admit students in 7th or 8th grade.
Students in TLC are all academically-capable, with average to above-average intelligence. They typically have been diagnosed by a psychologist as having language-based learning challenges, sometimes accompanied by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The Learning Center is dedicated to supporting students with language-based learning difficulties; we are not trained to serve children with other diagnoses, including emotional or behavioral disorders, Tourette’s, Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delay, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, etc., and consequently we cannot admit them. Please see “Eligibility for Admission,” below.
Eligibility for Admission
Admission to The Learning Center is determined based on:
(1) Successful application to Almaden Country Day School (Please mention The Learning Center in the notes field on the application)
(2) Results of a required psycho-educational assessment administered by a licensed diagnostician within the past 3 years.
(3) Interview with our TLC Director and faculty members.
Please Note: The only diagnoses served by The Learning Center are Language-Based Learning Differences (and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder that sometimes accompanies dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia). Children with other diagnoses do not qualify for admission to the TLC. The Learning Center does not serve children whose only diagnosis is ADHD and who are not diagnosed with one or more language-based learning differences.
TLC Application Process
- Arrange for your child to receive a psycho-educational assessment administered by a licensed diagnostician, and ensure that the diagnoses fit. We will accept assessments administered within the past 3 years prior to your application to ACDS.
- Submit application to Almaden Country Day School
- Complete shadow and family interview requirements
- Complete tuition assistance process (if appropriate)
- Arrange for an interview with TLC Director Cecilia Robb.
* In some cases, students who otherwise qualify may be admitted provisionally and begin TLC services prior to the results of the assessment
TLC Admissions Timeline
Admission to The Learning Center is on a space-available basis and may occur at any time during the school year, once all application requirements have been met.
Tuition assistance is available for applicants who qualify. See our tuition assistance guidelines for more information and to start the process.
Possible Tax Deductibility of TLC Tuition Payments
Parents should confer with their tax lawyer or accountant about the rulings and regulations of the Internal Revenue Code, along with other applicable laws, to inquire about possible tax deductibility of TLC tuition payments.
- Dyslexia Basics https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-basics/
- Spelling Difficulties https://dyslexiaida.org/spelling/
- Math Challenges: Understanding Dyscalculia https://dyslexiaida.org/understanding-dysgraphia
- Identifying and Teaching Gifted Dyslexic Students https://dyslexiaida.org/gifted-and-dyslexic-identifying-and-instructing-the-twice-exceptional-student-fact-sheet/
- ADHD and Dyslexia Fact Sheet https://dyslexiaida.org/attention-deficithyperactivity-disorder-adhd-and-dyslexia/
- Testing and Evaluation for Dyslexia https://dyslexiaida.org/testing-and-evaluation/
- Recommended Reading
- Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Dr. Sally Shaywitz
- The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Dr. Brock L. Eide
Contact: Mrs. Cecilia Robb, Director, The Learning Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408)997-0424 x226
The Learning Center is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.