Parents at Porter Academy are an important part of the school community.
- Work with teachers and administrators to organize and/or assist with special events including the Fall Festival, Fun Run, Family Olympics, and fundraisers.
- Contribute to classroom learning as Mystery Readers (Lower School) and through Career Education presentations (Upper School)
- Assist with Clerical duties through our PALS program
- Organize teacher appreciation activities including monthly luncheons and teacher appreciation week
- Participate in events such as Muffins for Mom, Donuts for Dad, and Grandparents Day to strengthen the family-school connection
What Parents Say About Porter Academy
“My son had been in public school for 4 years and still did not read beyond a pre-k level. When he left The Porter School, he had progressed to the 10th grade in reading and 4th grade in math. You will try one method after the other to reach your students instead of re-teaching the same method. It is wonderful to know that children with learning challenges can and do learn with the right teaching models.”
“My daughter joined The Porter School in 1st grade as a scared, puzzled, timid and lost child. She just finished 3rd grade and her self esteem has made a 180 degree change. She is completely empowered to live life to the fullest. She now searches for adventure and is willing to try new things.”
“Porter Academy has given my son his self-esteem back. Every person that works there actually cares about the children. My son WANTS to go to school now! It’s a loving, nurturing environment that any child could thrive in. I am forever grateful!”
“The Porter School gave Sammy back his self-esteem and was a wonderful place of growth. Many thanks.”
“Today is the first day of school for my son – a new school, a new challenge. Because of the strong start he got with The Porter School, I know he will be fine.”
“I am very pleased with The Porter School and how they have helped my son. When we came in August, my son could not recognize his numbers past six, nor could he count past six. He was unable to recognize all of his letters and his handwriting was very poor. Through the highly trained, skilled and loving teachers, by January of the same school year, he is reading primary books, is able to add, subtract and has a working knowledge of fractions. I would highly recommend this school to any parent whose child is struggling in other school environments.”
“The teaching staff is loving, warm and patient. The family participation that surrounds the school is like no other. Our daughter never feels threatened or afraid to be herself. The children work in a team environment to help ensure success on a daily basis. We will be forever grateful for Claudia and her wonderful staff. They have made such a positive impression on our daughter’s mind, heart and soul.”
“Mrs. Porter, you create a magical balance of inspiring the students to achieve while motivating them to accept responsibility for themselves. My son enjoys being at The Porter School because he believes that he is an integral part of it. The strong sense of community within the school is so rare that the students instinctively advocate for each other.”
“The Porter School has given my son an environment of acceptance and support that he could not have attained from the public schools. Students are recognized for their individual strengths and are taught to view the other children in terms of their strengths.”
“My son has attended Porter for three years. My son has gone from a soft spoken kid to one that raises his hand so excited to know what is going on. Not only is that great, but he loves all the teachers & staff. Thank You Porter for the changes you have made in William and the changes you have made in our family.”
“We chose Porter after a referral from a parent. All three of our daughters were attending a catholic school that was not able to accommodate the new diagnosis of dyslexia. This is our first year at Porter and we are very impressed with the personal attention and detail to each child and how they work with the parent. They test in the beginning and at the end of the year. They discovered that my youngest has a strong visual tendency after trying 6 different reading programs with her. She is working in three now in order to help close the gaps she has in her reading and language. All three of our girls are strong in Math so they take them where they are and build on it. My oldest is actually doing pre-algebra! The only thing we miss is the catholic formation because they are not a religious school.”
“My child is attending currently (09-10 year) and is doing great. Academically as well as physically – we are seeing great things happen for him here, so we plan on staying. Our teacher is highly qualified to work with my son and we are getting services here than we could get in a public school. After years of failure in other private and public schools, finally we are seeing progress.”
“Claudia has touched so many lives. She has helped students learn about their strengths. She lets them know they are special people and should not be ashamed of who they are.”
“You really prepared my son for a great year at middle school. He made all A’s and one B, played Jr. Varsity soccer and is a member of the chess club.”
“The quality of [the] academic program is excellent and the quality of the teachers is exceptional. Porter has integrated the extras, music, art, sports, into their curric – excellent! This year especially there is very active parent involvement. This school has so much to offer special needs student. They are respectful of your child and foster the child to respect themselves, all too rare in most schools. I really want to emphasize again how truly special these teachers are…they go above and beyond every day, and our children do too! The administration is excellent too, always mak[ing] parents feel comfortable and welcome and are excellent at what they do too. Many families moved from different states to attend this school. That is how special it is!”
“[My 10 year old son] is now in his sixth month at this school and all of my hopes and desires for him are being met. He had just begun reading, at an early kindergarten level, when school started. He is now reading at a second grade level! His math skills which were rote and limited have expanded already to a much greater level, with comprehension of math concepts. I attribute all of his educational advances to the knowledge and dedication of his teachers. They have poured themselves into this school…because they are committed to helping children, with special learning differences, achieve.
My son is currently enrolled at Chrysalis Academy. There is no way he could be doing what he is doing now if he had not gone to The Porter School for the 3 years prior to middle school. When he left your school he had progressed to the 10th grade in reading and reached 4th grade in math. He has done exceptionally well this past year. I do not believe he could ever have gotten into Chrysalis without your help!!! HE has done all 6th grade curriculum except for Math, where he is about 6 months behind.
I have told so many people about The Porter School and told them how you approach teaching from a multisensory perspective. You will try one method after the other to reach your students instead of re-teaching the same method. It is wonderful to know that children with learning challenges can and do learn with the right teaching models.”
What a blessing!! Since our son has been attending Porter Academy we have noticed an outstanding difference. He has blossomed!! Every morning he is excited to go to school. He loves learning, and his confidence in his work has excelled. He has made friends, and has turned in to a happy, funny, content little kid. He is able to be himself. Learn the way he learns, and excel at his own pace.
Again, what a blessing for everyone in our family to have found Porter. Especially, our son Christopher!!! – Spring 2012
March 7, 2012
Dear Porter Academy,
Words can’t express the tremendous change in our daughter Leighton since she has started Porter. She has shown amazing progress in many ways.
Our story goes back a few years when we began to notice Leighton would have extreme behavioral reactions to certain issues that didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. She was around three years old at the time. We thought she was just a stubborn and determined little girl with a strong personality. We would soon realize that it was much more when she was kicked out of preschool at age three. As parents, we thought it was possibly something we were doing/not doing at home. We were told by the Pediatrician that this could be phases, and she was too young to get a diagnosis at the time.
She started pre-K, would have meltdowns, and at times was a bit hard to handle. I felt that it was because my husband and I both worked and I was out of town a bit. There was a lack of consistency in our home with all going on. I quit my business to be home and things seemed to get better at pre-K, but still some struggles.
As Leighton approached Kindergarten, her issues were obvious and becoming more extreme. Within the first few weeks of school, we were informed our child was uncontrollable, very disruptive, and would have meltdowns. The school said by law, they would have to have a certain amount of timed documentation in order for her to receive public school assistance. We decided to get assistance through recommended doctors: Psychologist, Neurologist, & Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist would medicate her based on her behavioral issues. We didn’t know what to do and thought it would be best to go by the advice of the doctors. Leighton was put on a variety of medications and things got extremely worse. She was either sedated, overly emotional, or violent. We decided at the end of the Kindergarten year we would take her off the meds.
Leighton missed a good bit of school and would need to repeat Kindergarten. Not only academically, but socially, and emotionally, she was so far behind. We thought getting her in private Kindergarten with small class size may help and we would look for a school during this time that would be able to specialize in her needs. During a required testing for Leighton from an OT (Ellen Teerrell) to attend this school is when we discovered that Leighton has Sensory Integration Disorder. We had never even heard of this. We started Occupational Therapy immediately and finished the school year at another public school. In the meantime, we found Porter, that was highly recommended.
Leighton started Porter Academy August of 2011. She was seven years old with processing, sensory, and social issues, and had a lack of self control.
Since attending Porter, Leighton has become much more confident with herself, has more self control, less meltdowns, processing much better, and learning! We can’t thank-you enough for all that you have done in helping our daughter in giving her an education, coping skills, and direction.
Thank-you for all the love and compassion in what you do at Porter Academy. Leighton is a happy little girl and loves going to school! May you continue to touch and change other children’s lives, as you have hers.
Jack & Leigh Braglia
Teacher’s observations of changes in Leighton between August 2011 and March 1, 2012
- Since the beginning of the school year, she is turned onto learning. She asks questions and retains information.
- Great improvement in reading and math. She is at grade level in reading and math now.
- She accepts consequences for behaviors in a more mature fashion.
- Sensory system is more mature. She still has issues, but in August, it was extreme
- Overall, there are positive changes in all areas of development.
- Handwriting, coloring, and fine motor skills are excellent since she slowed herself down.
- She is more aware of how her engine is running. She asks for appropriate input – brushing, chewy, deep pressure, and spinning.
Our son was 4yo when he started in pre-k at Porter Academy. Before Porter he had always been very high sensory-seeking with endless energy, and therefore a handful. But our happy little boy was becoming miserable as he fell further and further behind his classmates at traditional pre-school. He could only make dark black straight lines on any type of worksheet/paper/art assignment he was given. He would stand alone at recess as his friends pedaled circles around him on tricycles. He started karate with great enthusiasm, but came to hate it because he knew he could not come close to matching the coordination of his peers. Finally, he ended up each day at pre-school screaming and thrashing on the floor in misery, stress, frustration and hopelessness. He had no other way to express this because his speech/conversational skills were so poor.
From the first day at Porter our son was happy. And over these past 6 months at Porter his confidence & skills have grown remarkably. He can trace & draw & is learning his letters & sounds. He is starting to grasp basic math principles. He is enthusiastic about his new bike with training wheels that he rides now.
When he first started at Porter and I would pick him up & ask how his day was/what he did that day he would say “nothing” – and that would be it for our 40 minute drive home. Yesterday I asked him the same thing and he said “good, good, good!!!” and asked to call his Nana to tell her about it. (he refused to talk on cell phones pre-Porter). He then talked to his Nana & with me most of the way home.
Our son remains behind his peers, but is definitely “closing the gap” – and we are very grateful to Porter for providing an emotionally safe and effective school for our son.
We moved to Atlanta two years ago, and were thrilled to enroll our child in kindergarten in a school with an international presence, 100 years of history, and a reputation for innovative education. However, rather than finding this community open and compassionate, we found it to be rigid and limited in perspective. Creativity was not fostered unless viewed within the limitations of this surprisingly old fashioned system.
So we hired a consultant to navigate through the many private school options offered in Atlanta. A Reggio Emilia system had proven a good fit for our child the year before in Michigan. However, despite the large number of private schools in Atlanta, there are only a couple of Reggio programs, primarily for the earliest years. And to further complicate matters, our son’s current school did not have him reading or writing in kindergarten.
Combined with our son’s sensory processing issues, our possibilities narrowed quickly. The more traditional private schools felt that even though he was obviously bright, he was too far behind academically. A couple of the schools were honest enough to say that they were not equipped to handle children with learning issues. Some of the schools were steeped in their traditions, or agendas set by parent/founders that worked for a certain group of children.
The traditional and liberal private schools are not equipped, trained, or care to handle children with learning differences. This is curious, since the number of these children seems to be growing exponentially every year. And many of them are bright, capable children. As our wise pediatrician told us, I dare anyone to visit Silicone Valley and find a group of people that are not on the Spectrum.
And then we found Porter. As soon as I set foot inside, I was greeted with warmth and openness by intelligent and compassionate educators. And within minutes of meeting our son, they immediately saw the child we see: a bright, creative boy with a big heart and some sensory and social issues. They embraced him at once and that embrace has only increased over our past year there. One year ago, I had a child who disliked going to school because he felt he could do nothing right. Within a month or two at Porter he was asking to go early to school and has become a model for his class. He is interested and engaged because his teachers see that as vital. His anxiety from his kindergarten experience before Porter has given way to curiosity and enthusiasm.
Of the 20 schools that I toured in Atlanta, almost everyone had as a key part of their mission that they ‘met the child at his level.’ I have to say that was not at all neither my experience nor what I witnessed over and over again during the admissions process.
But it was true at Porter. The staff is comprised of open, intelligent, caring educators. They are willing and equipped to handle learning differences. They see the best in the children and address issues with a positive, loving, experienced approach. The children feel safe, loved, and understood. And perhaps the greatest gift for a parent is that they see and celebrate the best in our child, just as we do.
November 2010 – progress check after starting iLs (Integrated Listening Systems)
Seth: Here is an update for you on how Seth is doing at home. Seth has been riding his bike (2 wheels – no training wheels) for about a month now. I’ve been trying to teach Seth how to pedal since he was 5, but he has always had trouble keeping his legs pedaling forward instead of backward – even on his big wheel trike. Starting in September, and into October we’d practice a few times on the weekends and he’s finally got it! Seth is making a lot of strides in the classroom and at home this year.
Zack: Hi! Just wanted to pass along that Zack learned how to tie his shoes this past weekend. We tried before but he got too frustrated. A friend of ours child worked with him for about 30 minutes and he got it! He was very excited and proud. Thanks!
Daniel: I wanted to let you know that Daniel has had the best week ever! I think that maybe we can attribute some of that to the iLs program. He has been jumping out of bed this week and
getting dressed very quickly (as opposed to me having to check on him to “remind” him to get dressed). Also he just seems more together lately. He’s picking up his clothes at night without being asked and hanging up his towel. He’s getting through his homework really well too.
Sydney: Reported that previously, Sydney would melt down after school (kicking, screaming, hitting) and they would have to go directly home. Now she is able to regulate herself during the day to the point where she does not melt down and she is able to go to the grocery store or even a birthday party after school and do well.
We hope this letter will convey some of the enthusiasm we feel for the Porter School. Before this school, every situation (play groups, friends’ houses, pre-school, pre-K) was a major ordeal for Rosie, now 7 and attending the Porter School. Her separation anxiety was intense, her social skills weak, and her interest in going where we thought best, non-existent. Because we chose places with skilled, nurturing adults, she eventually adjusted. Even then, she was unable to bond with the other children and always preferred to be home. This culminated in three traumatic days in kindergarten. We agreed with the teachers that regular kindergarten was not the best place for her. Because the only public alternative was a behavior disorder class, we decided to home school.
For years we had noticed that Rosie had difficulty with certain skills that posed no problem for other children her age, but she was bright and none of her teachers felt there was a problem. When we started home schooling, we found there were areas she needed help we didn’t know how to give. We couldn’t even define the problem.
A chance phone call introduced us to the Porter School. A friend told us she was enrolling her son and it might be a place for Rosie. Without much enthusiasm or hope, we called Mrs. Porter and had Rosie interviewed. Although she was accepted, we assured Claudia that Rosie couldn’t adjust without special transitioning help. Claudia assured us she would be fine.
With great trepidation, we brought her for her first day. At the end of the day she told us she liked it. After the first week she told us she loved it. After the first month Rosie began complaining about being home on weekends. She wants longer school days and no vacations. We were delighted but bewildered. This was a child who had resisted every attempt at separation for 6 years. Over time, we believe we understand what has happened and why.
Claudia Porter is a genius. Her insight into the minds and souls of children has that magical quality that defies understanding and analysis. It is a gift like great musical or artistic ability. Her staff are equally brilliant with the children. Our daughter responds to them in a way she has never responded to anyone else.
For the first time in her life she is accepted for exactly who she is. She is comfortable with the other children and delights in being part of a group. Her learning problems are clearly understood. She is making great progress in reading and math. Most importantly, she is excited about learning and feels great pride in her accomplishments. We consider the school a miracle.
In March 2011, Claudia Porter received an email from Rosie (age 17). Below are excerpts from that email.
After I left Porter School I spent three years at Chrysalis. They let me skip a couple grades, so I ended up being 13 at the end of my freshman year. I actually went off the college for a year after that. I got into this residential dual enrollment program at University of West Georgia, and spent a year there living on campus and taking classes full time. I did really well in my classes (3.85 GPA!). I went back to…public high school. I graduated after a year 8th in my class of about 500 and started going to Georgia Tech at 15.
It’s pretty weird being an actual adult, with my own house, work every day, and rent to pay. It’s not a lot like I imagined when I was young, but still pretty nice. I doubt I’d be here without you and the Porter School, so I wanted to say thank you. Even when I was a weird messed up little kid, you believed I could be someone. So thank you so much. I hope you and Porter School are doing great!
At an early age, it was apparent that our son, Ryan was having difficulties in group settings. In preschool and at church, Ryan often got in trouble because he could not sit still. When other kids were singing and making hand motions to go along with the songs, Ryan was diving under tables trying to avoid the activity. He frequently refused to participate in groups. In many ways, Ryan did not seem to fit in, and he was frequently punished for what was seen as his misbehavior.
When Ryan was four years old, he was evaluated by a psychiatrist specializing in child development issues; the information we learned from that experience changed Ryan’s life completely. We learned that, instead of being a problem child, Ryan is a child with problems. He suffers from motor dyspraxia (which is the inability to plan motor movements). Thus, when the other kids were making hand motions to go with the songs they were singing, Ryan was not being “bad” by diving under the table: he was trying to hide his embarrassment at not being able to figure out the motions. We learned that Ryan did not like to participate in groups because he knew he could not keep up with many of the others, and he did not want to look bad in comparison. Ryan also suffers from a fine motor delay and from a Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), which is the inability to properly integrate sensory information from the environment. Individuals with SID can be either over or under stimulated by sensory information. In Ryan’s case, he does not get enough sensory information from the environment, which cases him to need to move and to “attack” life. For example, Ryan frequently breaks crayons when using them because he needs to hold them tightly to get the sensation of holding them. You can imagine how many times Ryan has been chastised for breaking crayons and other objects, when he was simply trying to hold them as best he could!
Children like Ryan are often labeled “bad” or “misfits”. Unfortunately, without appropriate intervention, these children often live up to those labels. Many public schools lack the knowledge or the resources to adequately address these issues.
That is where the Porter School comes in. The Porter School is an accredited elementary school dedicated to children with atypical learning styles who have not been successful in a regular classroom. Some of these atypical learning issues can include ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Language Processing issues, motor dyspraxia, poor fine and gross motor skills, and dyslexia. While the number of children with these problems is increasing, there are few schools focusing specifically on their education. The Porter School provides a magical experience where these children learn to overcome their difficulties and reach their full potential.
Today, Ryan is a bright and happy first grader at The Porter School. He is at the top of his class in all academic areas, and he thrives in group activities. He gets very upset when his academic and behavioral record for each day is not perfect! He participates in Cub Scouting and church activities, loves trying new things, and often reaches out to other kids to draw them into his group of friends. As one woman from my church remarked, “He’s like a different child!”
What made the difference? Early intervention by knowledgeable and caring individuals at the Porter School are helping Ryan overcome his difficulties and achieve his full potential. I am scared to think what Ryan’s life could have been like had he continued being labeled as a “problem child”. With the help provided by the Porter School, Ryan’s future is so bright!
Do you know any Ryans? There are many, many children like Ryan, which is why it is so important to keep schools likes the Porter School alive.
For my family, Porter Academy has truly been our saving grace. Prior to arriving at Porter, my family’s nerves were strained from disappointing achievements at school and a lack of real support by teachers/administrators. Our daughter’s self esteem had become almost non-existent as she struggled with feeling frustrated with her academic achievements and alienation at school. And our family’s feeling of hope seem to be quickly slipping away, as there didn’t seem to be any options for things to be done differently. It was our first visit to Porter Academy that made us feel that this place was different. And after 4 years our strained nerves have turned into renewed energy of empowerment for our child’s success. Our child’s low self-esteem has transformed into one of strong self confidence and our family’s fear of fleeting hope developed into one of a secured state of success, because we now know that a level academic of success can in fact occur for our child, we just have to have the right environment to foster it.
So thank you, Porter Academy, for helping to restore our family’s life.
Much love, The Kenyatas
I am the mother of Ben, an eight year old who is currently enrolled in the Porter School. Ben started the 2000 school year in public school but was diagnosed with a mild learning disability to September. The psychologist who did Ben’s testing recommended that we find a special needs school as soon as possible. She suggested the Porter School first off, sighting Claudia’s reputation for using creative strategies in teaching both academic and social skills. As a result of luck and good timing, Ben filled the school’s only open slot and has been happily enrolled there ever since.
The Porter School, with its approximately five to one student to teacher ratio, has given Ben an environment of acceptance and support that he could not have attained from public schools. Students are recognized for their individual strengths and are taught to view the other children in terms of their strengths. Such positive behavior is encouraged by the school’s reward system, where play money can be earned and used to buy toys and school supplies. Academically, Ben is much more confident and is beginning to read independently.
My daughter Jillian, seven years old, has been attending the Porter School since August 2000. In these five months, her progress has been astounding. Her own expectations of what she can accomplish have risen because she feels she can be successful. Prior to the Porter School, she would shut down when faced with something she considered too difficult for her. Now she has so much more confidence in her abilities that she seeks challenges and believes that she can at least give it an attempt.
In August, Jillian could not read, now she is approaching reading at grade level. Due to fine motor and visual spatial difficulties, Jillian was also having problems with math and handwriting. All three of her teachers have worked extremely hard at finding teaching methods to match my daughter’s learning style. Jillian has always been blessed with caring teachers, however, this is the first environment which has enabled Jillian to be successful in so many ways. She knows herself that she is learning and improving academically. I have never come across such a dedicated and resourceful group of people. I believe that my daughter’s future prospects have brightened tremendously due directly to the Porter School.
The school experience encompasses so much more than academics. All of the children in the school seem to respond incredibly well to Claudia Porter’s unique system. Jillian is my greatest treasure and I feel very fortunate indeed to have found such a wonderful school for her. She loves going to school and feels valued there.
Claudia Porter was my ten year old daughter Jenny’s teacher and speech therapist at High Meadows School from the time she was five until she was eight. Jenny’s problems are severe enough so that she was diagnosed with ADD, speech and language problems, and learning disabilities by around age three. When I brought her to Claudia, she had been in speech and occupational therapy since that time. I had thought Jenny’s therapists ot be very good, even though they led me to believe her potential was limited. Claudia changed that.
I watched as she taught Jenny step by tiny step. The truth is, I didn’t really believe that Jenny could be taught to read, until I saw Claudia do it. I watched my shy, fearful child blossom and grow in confidence under her care. I’m not sure any other teacher could have done what she did. Her level of commitment is extraordinary. She always gave 110%, and not just to Jenny, but to all her students. She puts herself on the line for each child. She is always educating herself, and always open to new ideas. She believes in each and every child, and loves them, and they know it. She is the standard to whom I compare everyone who works with Jenny now, and I suspect she always will be.