This is a most important question, both for your family and our school. Our mission is to teach students who learn differently how to learn, how to become independent, and how to be successful. Our school and teaching are focused on addressing specific and nonspecific learning differences, such as Dyslexia (i.e. specific reading disability), ADHD, Auditory Processing Deficits, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, certain nonverbal learning disabilities…etc. Before coming to our school, children often show frustration when reading words, comprehending what was read, solving math problems, trying to keep up with classwork/homework, taking notes, working independently, organizing, and/or paying attention to directions.
Each student who is a prospect for our school is required to participate in admissions testing. This testing helps us to determine if the child demonstrates: average to above average intelligence; academic difficulties or a real risk of future learning differences; one or more underlying causes of learning difficulties, such as differences in the processing of certain types of information (visual or phonological information) or significant organizational difficulties; a general performance and attitude which suggest congruence between the student’s learning style and The de Paul School’s teaching style.
Our school is not suited for individuals whose difficulties are primarily due to behavioral or emotional concerns. Our school’s challenging course of study is best suited for those of average to above average intelligence.
Our entire school is designed intentionally for the purpose of teaching bright students who learn differently. Everything about the student’s daily school experience (curriculum, schedule of classes, courses of study, manner in which lessons are presented, materials which faculty use in their classrooms, disciplinary techniques, study skills, and school culture) declares “de Paul.”
We have developed many of our own textbooks, teaching materials and student resources for Language Arts and Mathematics instruction, and those have received national acclaim. Visitors to our school may observe different classrooms during their tour, but every single room will be characterized by: high levels of organization and diligence, keen attention from both the students and teachers, hands-on activities which help the students best understand new concepts, engaging discussions with eager participation from the students, calm and respectful behavior.
Each faculty member receives extensive and ongoing professional development to enhance their individual ability to present the de Paul difference.
The average length of enrollment at The de Paul School is four years. However, it is important to answer this question with an eye on the individual, rather than the average.
Each child’s learning style and particular collection of strengths and weaknesses must be considered. Some students may need an increased amount of time to build fundamental skills in Language Arts or Mathematics: those key concepts which must be mastered before the student can handle more difficult material. Other students with exceptional difficulties associated with distractibility and disorganization may need more time to learn and apply study skills. Other students may require only one or two years to polish skills that were relatively stronger when they first enrolled at de Paul.
Many students spend their entire elementary and/or middle school careers with us, despite our recommendation that they may be prepared to transition back into a traditional school program, because their families find this to be an ideal situation for their children. Our curriculum and techniques are ideal for preparing students for high school, including those whose skills have reached or exceeded grade level.
Our staff is highly regarded for its communication with families. We enjoy regular conversations with parents about their children’s progress, continued areas of need, and recommended best times for transitions to other schools.
As an independent school, The de Paul School creates its own school year calendar that guides us in realizing our de Paul goals and obligations. Because many students have siblings in other schools throughout the region, we do try to present a calendar that is closely aligned with those other schools. We are mindful to avoiding scheduling conflicts within families’ households, especially when scheduling major breaks (such as spring break and holiday breaks). There are, nevertheless, differences in our calendar that allow us to advance our instructional rhythm and secure sufficient professional development time for our faculty and staff.
Yes, if they are on the same academic level. All students with specific learning differences need a structured, multisensory, attention-based approach with plenty of opportunities for practice and reinforcement. Therefore, students with different reading skills may work very well together in Mathematics or Social Studies. However, a student with Dyslexia has needs in Language Arts that a strong reader does not. That is why, within each age level, our school subdivides students according to their educational needs for each subject area.
We feel the term “learning difference” best refers to the specific learning profiles that require the type of “educational difference” that The de Paul School offers. Some factors to consider:
- Learning disability unintentionally implies that the student cannot generally learn well. This is certainly not true of our students! Due to this negative message, the term is receiving criticism by many researchers. Learning differences is becoming a commonly-used phrase in the field.
- We do not want to imply that a student who is enrolled at The de Paul School is automatically eligible for state or federal services. de Paul does not use state or federal diagnostic guidelines for learning disabilities. Such criteria do not always identify students with more mild academic needs, although these students also require a teaching difference to succeed.
- Learning disabilities may not apply to students with severe organizational and attentional difficulties, such as those related to ADHD. The de Paul School’s structured program does address the needs of these students.
- Learning disabilities emphasizes troubles; learning difference emphasizes potential.
Our school does offer a formal athletics program, with over one-half of our students participating in one or more teams: basketball, cross-country, field hockey, golf, volleyball, swimming, and tennis. Practices are typically held after school. We compete against local public, parochial and independent schools. Our Huskies are quite competitive, and they represent our school with pride.
We also have various extracurricular activities, including quick recall teams, art club, cooking club, builders club, and theater.
We do not offer after school care at this time. We do have excellent relationships with some local after school providers, and can relay their contact information.
We are proud to report that local high school personnel speak highly of our de Paul alumni. As one local administrator recently shared, “No school prepares its students for the academic and organizational demands of high school, and no school nurtures better citizens than The de Paul School.” Over 95% of our students are accepted into the high school of their first choice. Last year’s 8th grade class went on to attend nearly 20 different public, private and parochial high schools. Many are enrolled in honors and advance placement classes.
Visit our Where Are They Now? page to see a growing list of these schools.
The de Paul School is one of the nation’s premiere independent schools for bright students who learn differently. Because our mission compels us to be accessible to all families within our reach, we have historically presented tuitions that are far below regional averages for similar schools. We receive no federal or state dollars to offset our expenses, so tuition and fundraising are our only sources of revenue. Families can e assured that over 80% of each tuition dollar goes toward the excellent faculty and staff who serve your children. The rest of your tuition dollar funds classroom resources, technology, utilities, professional development, campus care, and other activities and operations which ensure that de Paul will be healthy and influential for years to come. Tuition literally pays the school’s bills for the calendar year.
- Nearly 40% of students each year receive significant tuition assistance. All tuition assistance is funded through generous donations received during the previous fiscal year. We encourage all families to apply for tuition assistance when enrolling.
- We can help families apply for student loans through reputable financial agencies. While taking out a loan for an independent school education may seem unusual, we at de Paul believe that such an investment in your child’s education now–rather than in the future–is a very wise course of action. Our Business Office can help by recommending some good options.
- Families sometimes ask if a de Paul School tuition is tax deductible. If your child has been diagnosed with a specific learning disability or learning difference like ADHD, you should contact your tax professional or financial adviser for an informed answer.
Call us at (502) 459-6131 and schedule a visit. Let’s meet and talk about your child. Tell us about your son or daughter, and feel free to voice your concerns about next school year. We will do our best to answer your questions, and we will share openly with you what we believe we can do to help. We will walk about the school, so you can see teachers and staff. You will see our classrooms in action (if you visit during the school year), and see the many elements of our school which have made us so successful for more than four decades. Call us today! We thank you for taking the time to visit our website.