Sophia Academy, a school for children with learning disabilities

History & Philosophy

Sophia Academy History and Philosophy

History

Sophia Academy was established in 1999 as the only Christian school devoted to students with learning differences. Finding no suitable options for her daughter, Marie Corrigan founded the school with 11 students. Within 5 years enrollment soared to over 100 students, and in its seventh year, Sophia Academy secured SACS/SAIS accreditation.

Seeing that many children who need more often get less, Mrs. Corrigan's vision was to provide a comprehensive academic experience. The acclaimed Orton-Gillingham method was chosen as the specific program to teach reading and spelling. The Orton-Gillingham method is a solid phonics approach that is multi-sensory, systematic, structured, sequential, cumulative and success-oriented. The Georgia Performance Standards guide the grade level curriculum and the "vision quest" per grade level supports a curricular collaboration that integrates enrichment activities to encourage and enhance high level thinking skills and deeper understanding.

Extracurricular activities including clubs, sports, drama, and community service offer additional venues for student engagement and learning.

In 2006 a Capital Campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase a permanent location as the school had outgrown leased space. With successful fundraising and on-time, under-budget renovations of the Dresden Drive property, the school began the 2007 school year with its largest enrollment.

Research overwhelmingly supports the low student-teacher ratio and multi-sensory teaching presentation as keys to success for all learners. In response to requests to include students without learning differences, Sophia Academy expanded its student profile in 2010. All students--those with learning differences and traditional learners--will benefit from the expanded school community and the continued expectations for academic and personal excellence.

Christian Life

Our students come from all faith backgrounds. We believe that each child is a gift from God; like a fingerprint, no two are alike. We want to nurture and educate our students so that they can become the people God intended them to be – both intellectually and morally.Foot Washing

The concept of a Christian community is the basis of school life at Sophia Academy; at the heart of our school is the spirit of servant leadership. Judeo-Christian principles and teachings provide the basis for the development of personal faith and moral development.

To understand the world around us and to develop compassion, we incorporate numerous service opportunities, mission trips and Bible studies. We supplement the curriculum from the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education with our monthly character trait program.

Our school crest symbolizes our values. The lamb represents Jesus – we are his children. The Bible is the foundation for our Judeo-Christian teaching and principles. The dove symbolizes peace and our goal to encourage peacemakers. The lamp says we are called to be the light in the world.

 

Milestones:

  • 1999 Sophia Academy was founded by Marie Corrigan, for her daughter Caroline. It began with 11 students and 2 teachers in grades 1-5. It was given the name "Sophia" which means "wisdom" and served as the only Christian school in Georgia for students with learning differences.
  • 2000-2002 Middle school classes and a music teacher and were added.  Parent Council hosted its first Masterpiece Gala. The school gained accreditation from the Georgia Accrediting Commission.
  • 2003 Responding to the need for earlier intervention, the school added a Kindergarten class. The school year ended with 100 students.
  • 2004 With donations from the Annual Fund, a Physical Education program was implemented. The Corrigan Family Scholarship Fund was initiated as a merit scholarship.
  • 2005-2006 One hundred nine students were supported with 19 teachers at the start of this school year with $700,000 in reserves.  Having outgrown the rented space, the school identified property and a building by the end of the school year. The first Capital Campaign, “A One of A Kind Imprint” began to raise funds for the purchase and renovation. SACS/SAIS accreditation completed.
  • 2007-2008 On-time, under-budget construction project allowed school to start as planned on Dresden Drive. Capital Campaign exceeded goal with $2.6 million in gifts and pledges including 2 challenge grants.
  • 2008 With tremendous enrollment growth and fundraising momentum, began building and fundraising for a gym/chapel/theater space which opened in 2009.
  • 2009 Began a relationship with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), for assistive technology including audiovisual textbooks.  Only K-8 school to enter into this partnership in Georgia.
  • 2010 Received a challenge grant of $500,000 to be collected by May 2012.  Benefits of gym include 6 new teams, tripling of school and community events, space to host the entire school community, trophies and awards, and middle school growth.  Received Energy Star status by earning an 84% energy efficient rating—one of only 12 K-8 schools in the state to earn this status. 
  • 2011 Received SAIS-SACS Re-Accreditation
  • 2012 Won the Green Cup Challenge for the state of Georgia. Collected $500,000 challenge grant as a result of raising sufficient funds toward our gym. In January, Marist School extended an opportunity for Sophia Academy to become affiliated with the Society of Mary/Marist School. This was accepted by the archbishop and Sophia Academy began the process of becoming an independent Catholic school.

 

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