The ClearWater Story
Are you searching for a school that meets all the needs of a child with learning differences?
Our names are Dr. and Mrs. Kassem and we are the founders of ClearWater Academy. Dr. Kassem is an established physician on the south side of Atlanta. Our family has lived on the Southside for over 20 years. ClearWater Academy was founded for our child with learning differences and others like him. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you our very personal story or “journey” as we call it.
Frustration and Fatigue
Like so many parents of special needs children, we were searching for an answer or solution. We had gone the public school route; however, our child was not progressing academically, socially and emotionally. Like many parents of special needs children, I found myself in the car – a lot!!! Driving to and from various after school programs or therapies, because my child was not receiving what he needed in the typical academic setting. This situation was not only exhausting, but time consuming. It also had an effect on our family individually and as a whole. Less time was spent with our other child, and our son had no time to “just be a kid” after school.
Searching for a Better Way
Our quest was for a better and effective way to holistically educate our son and gain back our family time. In addition, we sought a program that actually had an individualized plan on “how” to address his challenges while developing his strengths. We began researching the private schools on the south side of Atlanta. Unfortunately, we found that private schools on the south side were non-existent for our child and others like him. The schools we did find were either for children with very mild learning disabilities or programs that served the severe and profound. No educational programs existed for these high functioning children with learning differences on the south side. We knew our child was bright, but just had a different way of learning. WE believe that children with special needs cannot benefit or be successful when placed in one classroom, utilizing the same classroom strategies for all. WE believe every child is a unique individual and we need to figure out what their learning style is or more accurately; “how they learn best.”
Our next journey was a short one. We checked out several schools on the north side of Atlanta. We found logistically they were too far and relocating was not an option. The programs that we did investigate were not comprehensive and lacked academics. Some schools had an “a la carte” type program where parents did a pick and choose whether to have or not to have specific therapies like Occupational (OT) and, or Speech. It was our belief that ALL the needs of the child with learning differences MUST be met in order for the child to become a successful learner and adult.
We Couldn’t Find the Right School, So We Built It
It became clear and imperative (even urgent), that we do something to help our child and other children like him. We needed to fill a critical educational gap on the south side, as well as setting forth a state-of-the-art model for how children with special needs must be educated. My husband and I became committed to starting this state-of-the-art, research-based school program focused on academics and technology, with balanced therapies to regulate the child physically, socially and emotionally–all during the school day! We firmly believe in family time. We firmly believe in an all-inclusive program for, again, we believe ALL the needs of the child MUST be met, not just some of the needs.
As parents we wanted it all! We believe in high standards and expectations. We were given the opportunity of building the school from the ground up. Certain criteria were non-negotiable. Our program had to have proven, researched-based strategies, curriculum, technologies and therapies. We envisioned an expert staff trained above and beyond traditional educational training. For the physical environment, we wanted small class sizes of 4-6 students; a home-like, sensory-sensitive environment paying close attention to colors, furnishing, artwork and lighting; lots of windows providing natural light and of course, no fluorescents; and dimmers for all lights. These are just a few criteria; I could go on and on!
So I welcome you to ClearWater. Study our website and understand all we have to offer! We are extremely proud of all our accomplishments and believe our program and results speak for themselves.
Dr. and Mrs. Kassem
Owner/Founder ClearWater Academy