Furtah Preparatory School (Furtah Prep) is a private, non-profit, secondary education institution dedicated to students who learn differently. The headmaster, teachers and staff do not consider ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia (reading difficulty), Dyscalculia (math difficulty), Dysgraphia (writing difficulty), Aspergers, Autism or other LD’s as learning disabilities or disorders. The mental pathways of these individuals work differently, not dysfunctionally.
Every child is gifted in some way. The goal at Furtah Prep is to discover how the child learns, and then to shape the curriculum and teaching methods to the child’s learning differences. Children who struggle in reading may be brilliantly gifted in art or music. Some children may “see” answers without being able to write down the steps from the problem to the solution. The movie, Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise is an example of an individual, played by Hoffman, who sees mathematical answers without the ability to demonstrate the process on paper.
Quite often, the root cause of behavioral issues in children who learn differently is a reading difficulty that is not decoded in public school. As the student advances into grades with coursework that requires more reading and comprehension, their frustration increases and their grades and behavior decreases. A potential reading difficulty can manifest itself as misbehavior at school, arguing with parents and siblings at home, and anti-social behavior in a variety of social settings. These children are labeled as problem students or problem children, and subsequently “taught and talked down to,” making them feel even more inferior and incompetent, and exacerbating the behavior and learning issues instead of correcting them.
Society tends to marginalize these individuals because of their physical appearance or behavior, and public schools do not have the resources to teach gifted students, whether they are bright in many subject areas or in just one special area. Many students who are bullied in public schools because of their behavior, appearance or performance, find a home at Furtah Prep, where their unique learning differences are explored, developed and celebrated.
Reading difficulties are not uncommon. In fact, over 65% of today’s graduating high school seniors from all public schools cannot read at their grade level. This will translate into a host of issues in college and the workforce, because reading is the basis for writing, mathematics, (the Three R’s: reading, writing, arithmetic), vocabulary, clear communication and cogent thinking.
The gift that Furtah Prep provides for children with learning differences is first to determine how and why they learn differently, decode any hidden reading issues, and then begin to instill hope into the child to inspire them back into learning. What the school needs are additional resources to increase all of its facilities and faculty to serve more students, since there is no shortage of challenged children in public schools that need an affordable education alternative.
Furtah Prep also accepts SB-10 funds, which means these children receive educational services, known as I.E.P.’s or Individualized Education Plans in public school that the system cannot adequately provide due to budget cutbacks. SB-10 funds can follow the child from public school to help offset private school tuition. These funds are reduced every year by the state and only cover a portion of the tuition at Furtah Prep. Nonetheless, Furtah Prep is the only school in the area that can provide the curriculum and support these children need.
Consequently, Furtah Prep also provides Student Scholarships which currently range up to $9,437.00 to help families reduce their tuition and fees obligation and ensure that no child who needs the curriculum, greater teacher attention and small class sizes of 15 students offered at Furtah Prep is turned away.
Furtah Prep serves children in the geographic area from Cartersville in the northwest to Dallas in the southwest, to Roswell in the southeast to Canton in the north, including the cities and towns of Woodstock, Marietta, Acworth, Emerson, Holly Springs, Sandy Plains, Powder Springs and many of the communities in Cherokee, Bartow, Paulding and Cobb Counties. The school accepts students of all nationalities, races and religions, locally and globally, which creates the same cultural diversity students will experience in life.