CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Gates School says they are set to be the first public charter school for children with dyslexia and other related reading challenges in the Lowcountry.
A group of parents who have children diagnosed with dyslexia say they saw the need for charter special eduction and they’ve been doing what they can to make it a reality.
Two years later, the same parents say they believe they are nearing the finish line and will soon be sending their children to the second charter school in state that specializes in dyslexia.
Gates School Planning Committee Chair Stephanie Sams says they aren’t ready to disclose the exact location of the proposed school since they are still waiting on permits from the Department of Transportation and the Office of School Facilities.
Sams does say that the Gates School is set to be near the interchange of I-526 and I-26 in North Charleston to allow for kids from all Tri-county areas to attend.
“The kids will finally be in an environment where the teachers understand them, their piers understand them,”. Sams said. “This is not a lack of intelligence at all. This is just, they learn differently. They are not disabled, they are different-abled.”
The Gates School will have teachers trained specifically to work with kids with dyslexia, and Sams says they will be individually trained in the Orton-Gillinghan Approach.
Classes will have a maximum of 15 students, and for the first year they will only provide education for first through fifth grades. Sams says they have plans to add an additional grade every year.
Since the school is a public charter school, the school is completely free. Sams says funding is very similar to regular public school funding and the school will receive a per pupil amount from the state. She says school leaders are fundraising and applying for grants to fund the facility.
Sams says so far they have received about 90 applications for the 125 available spots allotted for the 2021 school year.
Sams says Gates School will also be looking for certified teachers starting in the end of January.