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Covington, LA: Ribbon cutting for dyslexia school; more expansion coming

July 31, 2023, NOLA, Covington, LA: North shore school for dyslexic students reveals new building at open house https://www.nola.com/news/education/northshore-school-for-dyslexic-students-reveals-new-building/article_15fb79ea-2bd3-11ee-b7c4-8f0b6ae21f34.amp.html
The yellow ribbing swaying in the breeze marked a coming home for students and faculty of Louisiana Key Academy in Covington. After spending a year in portable buildings, the charter school for students diagnosed with dyslexia was celebrating the opening of its new campus.

“Honestly, it just means the world to come home," said Rachel Oubre, the school's lead case manager. "Last year we were in portables. Now, we’ve grown from about 119 students to 203 and have many more in the process.”

Officials of St. Tammany Parish's only charter school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house Tuesday to showcase the new site on Privette Boulevard that will serve as an instructional haven for students struggling with reading difficulties. Attendees peered in and out of the 25 classrooms before mingling over sheet cake and mini-sandwiches….

Teacher training

“I’m so excited. My classroom is right here,” Hallmark exclaimed to another teacher in the busy hallway while hugging the wall.

She is now certified as a dyslexia therapist and will teach at the academy this year where all three of her children attend.

Students are taught by a staff of 18 homeroom teachers and eight small group reading teachers who undergo specific dyslexia training which will ultimately clock in at 720 clinical hours after two years.

High Demand

The school is in high demand with families traveling from across the parish for the school’s specialized curriculum, according to Dr. Laura Cassidy. Students must be screened for dyslexia and have an active diagnosis for admission.

But officials believe many families from smaller communities may be unaware it exists

. “We take students from any parish. It’s just a matter of trying to get the word out to communities who don’t know about it,” said Cassidy, walking the hallways with her young grandson.

Cassidy, spouse of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., co-founded the Baton Rouge school in 2013 as the mother of a dyslexic child herself.

"This is stage one, phase one of several new buildings,” Cassidy said. School officials plan to expand the site over the next few years, adding a new grade level each year until eighth grade. McMath Construction, the builders of the site, did not provide construction costs.

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