A Hidden Gem For Academic Success
CENTER ACADEMY PREP
Republished from ATLANTICAVEMAGAZINE.COM | JUNE 2018
By Nicol Jenkins | photos By Naila Syed
Center Academy Prep goes above and beyond your typical academic institution to help your child flourish.
Center Academy Prep is a fully accredited, independent private school, family-operated since 1968, providing a college prep curriculum for students with learning disabilities in grades 5-12. The campus is located in Coral Springs, and accepts students with ADHD, Asperger’s, dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
The class sizes are small, with a teacher and a teacher assistant in every classroom. The school population is only 88 students, which helps teachers focus on each individual student’s needs. The teachers understand that each student comes to Center Academy Prep with different learning styles, experiences, needs, and abilities. After an individual assessment, an environment is created for each student that allows teachers to remediate specific learning disabilities and teach compensatory strategies. They offer specialized instruction to accommodate IEP guidelines and each student’s unique abilities and learning style. The school is certified by two private organizations, NIPSA and ADVANC ED, accepts both the McKay and Gardiner scholarships, has a state-of-the-art security system in place, and remains reasonably priced for tuition. The school has a summer program for high school grade recovery, summer credits and tutoring for all grades.
Center Academy began in 1968 with the vision of its founder, Dr. Mack Hicks. Seeing the need for a specialized, full-day school for students who were falling through the cracks in traditional schools, Dr. Hicks established one of the first schools in the United States to focus on the needs of students with Attention Deficit Disorder and other neuropsychological processing difficulties.
With a team of professionals in the fields of neuropsychology, education, and individualized remediation, Center Academy focused on remediating learning disabilities and providing a small, focused, and positive learning environment for students who had experienced academic frustration, and for whom tutoring and other part-time programs were not successful.
“We are the tri-county area’s best kept secret as far as schools. It’s traditionally for students with ADHD, anxiety and those on the autism spectrum. This is the only school currently, of the 11 Center Academies, which is primarily a prep school. We have very high performing students that we are preparing for higher education,” said Barbara Cooper, Director and Principal of Center Academy Prep. “The maximum number of students we take each year is 88. We work with each of our students individually to address his/her individual needs. If any students come to CAP behind in their studies, we work with them to recover the academics. What parents love most about our school is that we help students with learning disabilities finally grasp new concepts and coach them as they go.”
Since the school only takes a limited number of students, they are very selective. They do not accept students with disruptive behaviors. They are also careful when they choose their staff of teachers and administrators.
“We are selective of who we accept for admission and make sure the student is a good fit as well. We don’t just fill the seats. We are also very selective about our staff. We make sure they are compassionate and understanding of the ESE child,” added Cooper.
Center Academy Prep offers more than just academics. They have diverse extracurricular activities including Physical Ed-ucation, art classes, fishing club, sports clubs and computer club just to name a few.
“Center Academy Prep is a recipe for success. Ninety-three percent of students in the graduating class go to college and we are very proud of this record,” said Cooper. “We give stu-dents a feeling of self-confidence which they have never had before. We give their parents hope and a bright future for their child which they never had before. And our staff has a renewed purpose that they are able to make a difference in these students’ lives.”
Parents praise the school staff for being able to help with their child’s academics.
“We homeschooled our son for many years, but we couldn’t figure out why he was struggling with comprehension. When we took him to Nova University for testing we discovered he had some learning difficulties. Since he has been at this school, he has just blossomed. His teachers have given him time when they see he struggles. They are truly setting them up for suc-cess,” said a mom.
“When our son, Mitchell, joined Center Academy he was a C/D grade student with very little in terms of social skills. Af-ter 3 years at the school he is a straight A student, has a job at Publix, earned his scuba diving accreditation by himself and is a member of Police Explorers. We give thanks to Center Acad-emy Prep,” said parents Lisa and David.
“My daughter has felt so welcome by the teachers and her confidence level has shot through the roof. It’s the way they allow students to learn at their own pace. She has blossomed and advanced in her learning abilities,” said another parent.
Mom Hilde Weinstein said, “The small school setting is very helpful, and the staff is dedicated to each individual student. They focus on teaching them independence and to be success-ful when they move on to a university. I am very grateful to the principal and the teachers.”
CENTER ACADEMY PREP
4700 Riverside Dr. Coral Springs, FL 33067