Immaculate Conception Catholic School started in 1913 as the parish school for Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church…. and now, a little more than 100 years later, it has evolved into a private school for children with special needs– including autism, down syndrome, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and more.
Through small class sizes and low student/teacher ratios, ICCS of Special Education is changing not only its students’ lives.. but their family dynamics.
Marykatherine Gorlich has two children at the school.
“When an entire family has a better life because of a school, you make changes for that.”
Gorlich’s family has been in a lot of schools… because a military family moves a lot. but she had to make a change.
“I had to get out of the military and stay home because I would get called all the time for my son, and ldon’t get that. He is – they are – both in an environment where they are loved and they are understood and their needs are met.”
Nicole Albert is a special education teacher at ICCS. She says that’s the kind of reaction the administration loves to hear.
“Part of that is just when they come here, they are successful and it allows them to put the walls down that they’ve built up after being in public school or other programs that didn’t build them for success.”
Gorlich’s children have different learning struggles; one has autism, the other dyslexia.
Jennie: “When you say your whole family life is better, what does that look like?”
Marykatherine Gorlich/parent: “My children are happy, safe and successful. To have any ONE of those things is lovely, but to have all three at a school makes such a huge impact on our lives as a whole.”
Principal Allison Palfy has been in education some 30 years.
“I knew what we were starting was important because we had a lot of people who were not successful in public schools and they were looking for an alternative and something did not exist. We’re making such incredible progress, I thank God for it everyday because it’s certainly His blessing, but it’s also these teachers – all of our teachers have to be certified and we’ve got the higest accredidation in the nation under Advanced Ed.”
Teachers like Nicole Albert, who sees the strides students make first hand, especially those with autism.
“Seeing them be able to pick up a book and interact with the text, be able to make connections and understand what they’re reading, be able to talk about it at home with their family, that is so amazing to see.”
Palfy realized she had the opportunity to create a new learning environment at ICCS.
“It blows my mind as an educator because we shouldn’t be getting the results that we get but we’re getting them, we’ve had teenagers potty-trained– we’ve potty trained them. We’ve had kids who doctors said who never talk who are talking and singing and participating. Our blind student did not talk, knew nothing- and she’s now reading in Braille after one year.”
Nicole Albert says the environment is loving and supportive and it makes a difference.
“If you just come in and watch our classrooms there’s such love with everybody. The classroom community that is built is a really beautiful thing to witness.”
Tuition at this year-round school runs between $15,000 – $20,000, depending on your child’s needs.
ICCA of Special Education is approved for students receiving the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship.
For more info about the Special Needs Scholarship program, click here.
For more details about Immaculate Conception Catholic School of Special Education, the application process and contact information, click here.