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Couple reaches out with special summer school

DACULA -- A Lawrenceville couple is opening a Christian school this summer for students with language learning differences such as dyslexia.

Sage School will be housed in Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church. It will open with grades three to six, but the school will expand to serve students in kindergarten through grade eight, founder Angela Patton said.

Patton, a speech language pathologist, said the school will use research-based practices, such as the Orton-Gillingham approach, to teach students.

"The public schools are doing a phenomenal job with what they are allowed to do," Patton said. "This will be a special setting for kids who think and learn the same way."

Patton said she and her husband, Joe, decided to start the school because there aren't any schools in Gwinnett that specialize in teaching students with language learning differences in a Christian environment. She said there are fabulous schools in metro Atlanta, but the nearest one is in Buckhead.

The school will focus on creativity and take a multisensory approach to finding out what the students are good at and helping them to learn language.

"Nothing can augment poor language skills," she said. "Nothing is going to substitute a good vocabulary and being able to create a sentence and being able to express yourself well."

Many of the students with language learning differences are intelligent, but their academic performance doesn't match their potential. That challenge destroys the students' self-esteem, said Joe Patton.

"We know all of our kids were created uniquely by God," he said. "We want to exploit those gifts that God gave them to motivate them to learn. .... Our desire is to create a culture where kids feel proud to be there, and they feel special."

For more information, visit www.sageschool.net.