Our Story

This private middle school for Learning Disabilities and ADD/ADHD children was founded in July 2005 by approximately twenty families who had children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and various learning disabilities. These parents and their children experienced great difficulties and frustration with obtaining an education in the traditional public school classroom of 25+ children. In addition, their search for an appropriate private school for these middle aged children was also unsuccessful.
 
Their child’s typical IEP (Individual Education Plan) included accommodations listing; small group settings, decreased distractions, increased teacher eye contact, study guides, frequent checks for understanding, verbal instructions for tests, frequent breaks with physical activity, etc. These accommodations, necessary for the child to learn successfully, were inherently impossible to obtain in the structure of public schools outside of a self-contained class. Furthermore, self-contained classrooms were inappropriate for these children since most of them were average or above average intelligence. There was also the stigma and embarrassment related to singling out these children from their peers especially at this vulnerable early-teen stage in  growth and development.
 
Even though many of these special accommodations were workable in elementary school once these children got to middle school and changed classrooms and teachers, their children’s learning difficulties increased ten-fold along with their risk of getting further behind academically. Additionally, they noticed their children were increasingly becoming more disillusioned and frustrated with school in general -making them further at risk for not achieving eventual high school graduation and college attendance.
 
Noting that these middle school years are the most difficult for LD/AD/HD children, they knew that another solution was needed for middle school to insure that these children could make a successful transition to a regular public high school. These parents noted the similarities in their children and realized that it was easier to open a private school specifically designed to provide the needed accommodations than it was to obtain them in the public education system. The school was named the Einstein Learning Center after the famous Albert Einstein who also was diagnosed with AD. (The school became Einstein Academy in late 2011.)
 
Using a long list of recommended accommodations for the typical LD/AD/HD child, they rented classrooms from a church that included the use of the church’s cafeteria and full-size gym. The church also had a private school located on the grounds that included middle school aged children. This provided an opportunity to increase socialization for both student bodies by bringing them together several times a week for combined classes in physical education, art and drama. The church also had a late-stay program that would be available to our children.
 
The interior space of the Einstein Academy was decorated in soothing colors with minimal clutter and minimally postings on the walls to decrease distractions. There is a main room where there are large “U” shaped desks grouped by grade. The desks are designed for the teacher to sit in the middle of the circle to increase eye contact and assessment of comprehension. There are small private classrooms around the perimeter that provide addition space and opportunities for isolated individual or small group, non-distracting study areas when needed. There are two other classrooms of note. The first is an indoor recess room with activities for children providing opportunities for frequent physical activity breaks nearby when needed. Time in this space is also used as an effective reward for meeting academic and behavioral goals.  The other innovative space is a computer room with custom designed cubicles that again decrease distractions and increase concentration and success.
 
The parent board recruited a certified teacher who was LD/AD/HD himself and had done extensive research on how to teach LD/AD/HD children successfully. Then, after much research the school purchased the award-winning A-Beka Home School curriculum that was inherently self-paced.
 
Once all the critical elements for success were in place, the tuition was calculated to cover expenses and set to run as a not-for-profit school in an effort to decrease any further hardship on these families. With this formula and anticipating fundraisers, the tuition was set at $650 a month, which could very possibly be the best buy in specialized, private education. Parents have the option of providing five approved volunteer hours a month to reduce their tuition to $600.  
 
This parent board had a unique opportunity to profoundly effect their child’s education. They seized that opportunity. Their unwavering dedication in opening this school has been rewarded with amazing results. The school is currently in its first year and the students are progressing extremely well academically. Their increases in self-confidence and positive attitudes toward school and learning are undeniably. Our teacher frequently states that it is the best job that he has ever had and the children frequently state that it is the best school they have ever attended. In fact, the parents have even overheard amazing comments from the kids like “I now understand math” and “I’m sick but I feel well enough to go to school”.
 

Along with a diagnosis of LD/AD/HD, future families must be also willing to seize this unique opportunity and continue the active involvement of the original board to ensure the future of their children’s education and the success of Einstein Academy.

Comments