The 50 Best Private Special Needs Schools in the United States
46. The Summit School, Edgewater, MD
As a leader in diagnosing and understanding dyslexia and its manifestations, The Summit School provides unparalleled help for children with dyslexia, executive functioning, and other learning differences. Summit’s students are bright and emotionally sound, but they often experience frustration with reading and other academic tasks. Once the school evaluates a student and assesses his/her specific needs, trained teachers create curricula which both challenges a student and offers structured learning at a doable pace. Summit recognizes that students with language-based learning differences are often not sufficiently helped with once-a-week tutoring, but instead require daily, intense assistance that begins with sound/letter recognition and works up to sentence structure and word function (grammar). In addition to its detailed academic program, the school offers technology instruction, including an iPad for every sixth and seventh grade student.
Profile: co-ed day school for grades 1-8
Student-Faculty Ratio: 4:1
Awards: selected as a 2008-2009 National Association of Special Education Teachers School of Excellence (2008); awarded Non-Profit of the Year by the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (2008)
47. Chamberlain International School, Middleboro, MA
Chamberlain International School accepts students from around the world with learning or emotional challenges which make succeeding in mainstream schools difficult. Upon acceptance, students are assigned to a therapist, clinician, or social worker (depending upon the individual needs) who assists the student throughout her/his duration at the school. Chamberlain’s intent is to wholly serve the student and her/his parents by focusing on three main aspects of a young person’s development: educational, clinical, and social life. In addition to the school’s strong academic and therapeutic programs, it also offers instruction in art, music, drama, automotive technology, and aviation. All students take part in an enrichment program, which complement the academic curriculum, and encourage development of skills and outside interests. For example, students who participate in the auto mechanics program have the opportunity to take on a project of re-building a car, while those in the aviation program get to fly planes and build up credits toward a pilot’s license.
Profile: co-ed boarding school for ages 11-22 with day options
Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Awards: teacher Marge Rose received Direct Care Worker of the Year from The National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC) (2014)
Tuition: upon request
48. The Siena School, Silver Spring, MD
Taking its name from the town Siena in Italy as a nod to that region’s rich artistic heritage, Siena School is a creative and inspired educational haven for students with language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and those whose academic performances have not matched their intellectual capabilities. The school focuses on college readiness, and prepares its students with the tools and techniques they will need to succeed. Each student receives individualized instruction and lessons which build upon previous learning, so that knowledge is relevant and makes sense. As its name indicates, Siena School is dedicated to fostering artistic skills and art appreciation in all of its students. With an “Artist-in-Residence” who assists in student projects such as, among many productions, an art, geometry, and photography collaboration, a “shortened Shakespeare” festival, and a school poetry and short fiction anthology, Siena School combines academic instruction with personal growth and character development.
Profile: co-ed day school for grades 4-12
Student-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Awards: certified as a 2014 Maryland Green School by The Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE)
Tuition: $33,856/year grades 4-8; $35,463/year grades 9-12
49. Monarch School, Houston, TX
Asserting that “learning must be learner-centered and intrinsically motivated,” Monarch School services students with attention and learning disabilities, difficulty with social and emotional regulation, Tourette Syndrome, seizure disorders, and traumatic brain injuries. The school’s articulated “Fore Core Goals” address each student’s needs comprehensively, working to ensure that a student achieves self-regulation and awareness, executive functioning, relationship development, and academic and professional competence. Students often enter Monarch School as passive, unmotivated learners, and through the school’s expert instruction and challenging curriculum, they grow into independent thinkers with a passion for education.
Profile: therapeutic day school for grades pre-K-12
Student-Faculty Ratio: 2.5:1
Awards (selected): NAPSEC Award for Leadership and Innovation in Special Education (2014)
Tuition: ranges from $14,000-$53,000 depending on the program
50. The Bedford School, Fairburn, Georgia
The Bedford School was founded in 1985 for the purpose of assisting students who have trouble organizing, producing, or finishing school work due to cognitive, social, or non-verbal learning disabilities. Bedford’s goal is to diagnose each student and provide a structured, individualized academic plan which responds to a student’s needs and prepares her/him for transition to future educational environments. The faculty at The Bedford School recognize that learning disabilities may result in frustration, and at times, low self image, and each program emphasizes not only academic improvement, but also personal growth and positivity. Students at Bedford have the opportunity to participate in the Bedford Challenge Course, an outdoor adventure area which features rope courses and other challenging activities used to build teamwork and cooperation skills.
Profile: co-ed day school for grades 1-9 with after school care available
Student-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Reprinted with Permission from Masters-in-Special-Education.com.