"We fly in the face of accepted wisdom, but we know that
we have something here that is powerful and necessary..."
Elizabeth Earl, Founder
Growing out of a frustration with the current educational model in this country, West Charleston Enrichment Academy was founded to provide an environment that maximizes the strengths of all types of learners. Whether a child is above average, typical, or a little slower, in this school the child will find acceptance and help to maximize his or her abilities.
Elizabeth Earl, our founder, was dissatisfied with the one-size fits all system of education when her oldest daughter was really never challenged academically until she reached high school. Elizabeth knew a child’s age alone should not determine what they should be learning. Furthermore, she believed that children should not be separated from one another based on their intelligence. Kids are very quick to notice differences made by administration, and especially quick to label themselves and others. Her second child could not keep up with the pace of the class and the public-school class obviously could not slow down for him. By 5th grade he had an IEP with many labels all being used at one time or another. Elizabeth went in search of alternatives for middle school where her son would feel accepted and comfortable, finally finding the answer.
There was a school where children were performing at their highest level without respect to their age. No one was held back because others could not move as fast, and no one was forced to move faster than they were capable of because they needed to keep up with the group. Every child knew what they were supposed to be doing. They helped each other; they played together. No one was stigmatized. No one was ostracized or left out. They all formed one kind and accepting group like a family. This private school was not just for rich people who thought they were “too good for public school” or for kids that fell so far outside of the mainstream that public school could not accommodate them.
Elizabeth now had the chance to do something different with her last child. His grades were average or above average, his test scores were good. Yet, the system was not working for him also. The quality of the work he was bringing home was very poor, and he did not seem to care. Soon he was enrolled in this school with his brother. Everything changed for Elizabeth's youngest son. Suddenly he was adamant about getting his homework done every night. He actively sought help in reviewing flash cards and practicing spelling words. He talked about everything that happened in school that day and what they would be doing in the coming days.
Elizabeth realized that not only the kids at the top and the kids at the bottom, but even the kids in the middle, the vast majority, are not well served by the way we do education in this country. They may not be drowning or being held back, but they are floating along in a sea of mediocrity. Everyone benefits from smaller, mixed classrooms where the needs of children can be met on an individual rather than group basis. This miracle of a private school was a wonderful place for all children. That school is this school.
After two years of observing and helping in a small way with this existing school, Elizabeth decided it was time to expand and offer these same benefits and opportunities to more children. A non-profit was created, and the school was moved to a new, more central location in order to draw students from all over the valley who can benefit from what is offered. We fly in the face of accepted wisdom, but we know that we have something here that is powerful and necessary, and we offer it to you and your family in the hope that you will receive the same miracles.
Come and see.