Gracepoint School board member Angie Strack told a crowd of about 50 parents and teachers about what the school will offer when it opens this fall at a meeting Thursday night at StoneBridge Church on the Marietta Square. Fellow board members Carrie and Jud Thompson, Brian Strack, Molly and Trey Holm, and Brenda Fitzgerald also attended the meeting.
Fitzgerald, who serves as the executive director of the Georgia Educational Training Agency and is a board member on the Georgia International Dyslexic Association, will help train teachers in The Complete Reading Series and oversee the curriculum and instruction at Gracepoint for the first couple of years.
Fitzgerald said the school would be a private, nonprofit organization that will serve Cobb elementary and middle school students with dyslexia. After graduating from Gracepoint, the students would then transition back into their original school systems better prepared to meet the rigorous demands of high school.
“It was exciting to see parents interacting with (Fitzgerald) since she is so knowledgeable about dyslexia,” said Angie Strack about the meeting. “She described the mission of the school and explained what we had to offer their children.”
Fitzgerald works closely with children who have dyslexia and teaches “Understanding Dyslexia” classes in Cobb and surrounding counties to parents like Angie Strack whose children have been diagnosed with the learning disability but are unsure what it is.
“I didn’t even understand what it was, so it was pretty crazy,” Angie Strack said. “I immediately tried getting our child into a few schools in the Atlanta area, while at the same time I was taking classes (under Fitzgerald). Unfortunately, with the schools, you can’t always get into them and there aren’t that many options.”
Angie Strack said she decided to open a specialty school when she found how few there were in Cobb.
The school has not been staffed, and the number of teachers will be determined by how many students apply, Fitzgerald said. However, they have started accepting resumes and conducting interviews for teachers or administrators.
It is unclear how many students in Cobb have dyslexia.
The location of the school has not been determined, but Fitzgerald said they are looking at two possible places in Marietta. Until they find a permanent home, they plan to conduct school at StoneBridge Church. The school will not be affiliated with the church.
Tentatively, the board has discussed an annual tuition of $18,500, which Strack said was about $6,000 less than similar schools.
Strack said one of the school’s goals would be to raise money for privileged families who can’t afford to send their child to a specialized school like Gracepoint.
“There are so many kids who don’t have access to any help, and that’s the sad part,” she said. “You have these extremely bright children, but they need to channel their creativity.”
Strack said the school would also try to raise money to help families pay to test their children. A dyslexia test can cost around $2,000, she added.
Board member Carrie Thompson said she decided to join in the effort to open to the school because she is trained to work with children who have learning disabilities.
“My husband (Jud Thompson) is dyslexic, so we assumed that out of the five kids that we have, we could probably have that issue, so I got certified in it,” she said. “I have a heart for it and it just kind of fits.”
Thompson will help with admissions and curriculum.
The school will host a second informative meeting 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at StoneBridge. For more information or to enroll your child, contact Strack at (678) 472-2023.