A School for Dyslexia

DePaul School of Northeast Florida

We Teach The Way They Learn©


What kind of students attend DePaul?
DePaul is for children with learning differences, with an emphasis on the 1 in 5 kids who have dyslexia. Our multisensory curriculum also benefits many students with sensory processing disorders, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and communication difficulties.

The typical DePaul student is intelligent, hard-working, and wired to receive and process information differently—it’s why they fall behind in traditional education and special education programs. DePaul uses research-based techniques to deliver outstanding instruction in ways that make sense to these students. In other words, we teach the way they learn. Want to see for yourself? Schedule a tour.

What grades do you serve?
We currently serve grades 2 through 8.

How long have you been around?
Almost four decades! We are Jacksonville's first school for dyslexia. The very first DePaul School was founded in Louisville, KY in 1970 and was so successful that many Jacksonville parents sent their children to the boarding program. Recognizing a need for a similar school here, a group of three parents worked with Louisville to establish a DePaul school in Jacksonville. We were founded in 1980 as a Saturday program, then a summer program. In 1982, the full-time day school opened its doors.

Is DePaul accredited?
DePaul has been accredited since 2004 by the Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF), and we are in full compliance with the regulations of the Florida Department of Education.

What kind of curriculum do you use?
All of our staff members are Lindamood Bell Certified instructors. We use a combination of Orton Gillingham aligned strategies to engage children in dyslexia-specific programs, such as LiPS® (Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing) and Visualizing and Verbalizing® Program for Cognitive Development, Comprehension, and Thinking.

Our curriculum is also completely customized for each student, based on his or her own unique needs. The teaching plan is based on careful and continuous assessment of the individual’s learning differences and academic progress. Content presented must be mastered step by step for the student to progress. The DRA2 (Direct Reading Assessment), STAR testing, I-Ready Reading and I-Ready Mathematics are used to place, monitor, and plan for each student. 

Voyages in English, Handwriting Without Tears, SRA Imagine It by McGraw Hill, the Barton Reading and Spelling System, and Saxon Math are used to supplement instructional activities.

Our curriculum is slower-paced, deliberate, and repetitive. We avoid the “one-size-must-fit-all” mentality found in traditional schools, opting instead for creative, direct instruction methods along with experimental and hands-on learning. We don’t just assume the kids are learning—we have several checks and balances in place to make sure they are.

An important character trait of our curriculum is FUN. These kids have been conditioned to hate school. It takes strong relationships, motivation, and FUN to allow students to believe in the process and in themselves again.

Are their resource/elective classes available? (clubs, etc.)
Yes. These are a big part of our multisensory curriculum, as they give our students a chance to apply concepts from core academics in other contexts. This year, we have Speech/Debate, Art, Drama, Cooking, Gardening, Guidance, and Technology. Once a month we also have Clubs Day, featuring Bricks 4 Kids (STEM-based Legos), MindLab (puzzles), Soccer, Yoga, and Art.

Does DePaul have homework?
Yes, we have homework, but we do not overload our students with it. We have optional Homework Help every Monday through Thursday from 3:15-4:00. We also have our students read anything of their choosing for 20 minutes every day at home.

What about P.E. and recess?
We give our students regular breaks to avoid brain fatigue; they get to go outside and play on every clear day. We also assign every student to a P.E. class.

Do you have classroom accommodations?
Our entire school is an accommodation! Since our students have learning differences, we work to match multisensory lessons with their neurological wiring. To accomplish that, we:
-Regularly assess students for Reading, Language, and Math levels, then sort them into classes (for subjects) by ability, teach the curriculum to mastery, then bump them to the next level when they are ready
-Allow extra time for assessments
-Don’t overload kids with homework
-Present lessons in a variety of ways
-Employ repetition in lessons, since many of our kids struggle with memory difficulties
-Engage kids with lessons in a variety of creative ways to help them apply information to everyday life.

How do I know if DePaul is right for my child?
If your child has dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, communication difficulties, serious reading/spelling problems, or sensory processing disorders, we highly recommend scheduling a tryout school day, where your child attends a regular school day at DePaul. This is an excellent opportunity to see firsthand if our lesson style is compatible with the way (s)he learns. On the tryout day, we will administer the DePaul new student screening assessment, which takes less than an hour. Once the day is done, parents and administration can discuss whether DePaul is a good fit for your student. Your child may also take our screening assessment without doing a tryout day, if school is not in session.

How will I know if my child is progressing? How will I know if these strategies help her?
We regularly send home graded papers, and the students receive a midterm report and a report card each quarter. DePaul parents also receive quantitative and qualitative growth data on their children in December (mid-year) and May (end of year). The growth data covers reading and mathematics progress. Parents meet with teachers formally twice a year to discuss individual progress. Informal conversations and conferences are also a regular part of life at DePaul.

Partnering with you to help your children is a privilege we do not take lightly.

Do you offer any scholarships?
Almost every DePaul student has the McKay scholarship. If your child has a Florida IEP, you may apply for it here: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/mckay/

The McKay is not available to children with an out-of-state IEP.

We also accept the PLSA and 504 plans.

Additionally, DePaul itself offers an annual scholarship to help offset the cost of our program. This scholarship is not yet open for 2017-18 applications. When it does open, you may apply for it here: https://www.ismfast.com/FastPage.php?id=6d0e02a39b6fc38e844f8c7841fcec87

Are you a religious school?
DePaul is not affiliated with any church or denomination, and does not teach religious curriculum.

Are you a school for autism?
DePaul is designed for children with dyslexia. While our program is beneficial for many children with other learning differences, this dynamic multisensory environment isn't compatible with everyone. To effectively address each child’s needs, we determine suitability for non-dyslexic students on a case-by-case basis.

When does your school day begin and end?
We begin at 8:15 AM, and dismiss for the day at 3:15 PM. For parents who need extended hours, we offer three programs:
1. Extended Day Morning Care: Drop your child off as early as 6:45 AM. ($40/monthly or $5 for cash drop-in)
2. Homework Assistance: Monday through Thursday of each week from 3:15 to 4:00 PM, students may remain in a classroom working on homework with teacher assistance. ($125/quarter; no drop-ins)
3. Extended Day Afternoon Care: Students may stay as late as 5:30 PM under teacher supervision, where they do homework, have a snack, and play games/electronics once homework is completed until an authorized person picks them up. ($140/month or $10 cash drop-in)

Do you have any sports teams?
While we don’t currently have sports teams, students who attend DePaul may try out for and play sports at any school for which they are zoned.

Do you take behavioral cases?
DePaul is designed for children with learning differences, and we keep a code of conduct. We are well equipped to help children with special needs handle their frustrations with school work, however, we are not a school for significant behavioral management. DePaul students should be mindful, work hard to finish assignments to the best of their ability, and respect other classmates and teachers. Our small student-to-teacher ratio helps us to see and address any issues quickly and effectively. 

We also have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.

Are DePaul students able to transition to other schools after 8th grade?
Yes--many of our students do. Each child has different expectations based on their unique abilities. Parents should talk openly with teachers about their child’s potential and high school plans. Our students transition into all kinds of learning environments after they graduate DePaul, including several local private schools, public school, and more. Many go on to get degrees at various colleges and universities. We are also proud of our growing community of alumni, as there are multiple benefits when students maintain their relationships with each other and DePaul after graduation.