Centreville, Layton schools to merge

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From Centreville Layton School

The Centreville School and Layton Preparatory School will merge on August 1, creating a unified program to serve children with “learning differences” from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the boards of directors of both schools have announced.

The merged institution will be known as Centreville Layton School and will be located on the Centreville School’s  23-acre Kennett Pike campus, where Layton Prep has shared space and acquired adjoining property in the last two years. With the merger, Centreville Layton becomes the only independent school in Delaware or southeastern Pennsylvania offering a comprehensive K-12 program for students with learning differences.

Barton Reese, currently head of Layton Prep, has been named head of Centreville  Layton  School. Deborah Maguire, currently acting head of Centreville, will become assistant head of the merged institution.

Founded in 1974 as the Delaware Learning Center, a formative play program for children with learning differences, the Centreville School gradually expanded into a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program and moved to its Kennett Pike location in 1984.

Layton Prep opened in 2005 with a class consisting primarily of ninth grade students and expanded to serve all high school grades. Originally located in the New Castle Corporate Commons, it moved onto the Centreville School campus in 2012.

The two schools enrolled 120 students during the 2013-14 school year, 85 at Centreville and 35 at Layton Prep. Most are residents of New Castle  County, but some live in southeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas in Maryland and New Jersey.

Reese and Maguire said,  the boards of the two schools had begun exploring ways of sharing resources  R about the same time as Layton moved onto the Centreville campus. All factions quickly recognized that a merger would enhance and expand academic, social and cultural opportunities for current and future students while creating efficiencies in both the academic program and the business office, they said.

“Students can now benefit from a continuum of education on a single campus, with the elementary, middle and high school programs being able to draw on each other’s strengths to provide an exceptional overall experience. By combining resources, we will be able to do more,” said Paul F. McConnell, chairman of the Layton Prep board of trustees.

“The merger also provides both stability and sustainability for both programs and helps ensure that we will continue to serve as many children as possible for a long time,” said Edward B. “Ted” Rosenthal, chairman of the Centreville School board of trustees.

The language, speech and occupational therapy services that have long been a part of the Centreville program will now be readily available to all students. “We are excited to offer this additional access to counseling and therapy services to students in our upper school,” Reese said.

The expansive and lush campus with all it offers is equally thrilling to Reese, “To an even greater extent we are eager to utilize the entire campus to enhance the delivery and broaden the scope of our academic offerings.  By way of the Outdoor Classroom (“the Habitat”), the garden, the stream and pond, and the barn and its inhabitants (two goats, two ponies, two dwarf pigs and four sheep), we’ve enriched our core curricula and have added animal science, agricultural economics, primitive technology and environmental biology electives.”

Having a pre-kindergarten through high school program housed on one campus, like many traditional private schools in the area, “will provide opportunities for cooperative learning for students of all ages across all three instructional levels – lower, middle and upper,” Maguire said. “We are creating a learning community not yet seen in Delaware; one that can serve students with learning difficulties from the start of their education through high school graduation.  What’s more is that folks in the community not enrolled at Centreville Layton School can access therapeutic and tutoring services through the Centreville Layton Learning Center (CLLC).”

Sharing similar missions on behalf of students who learn differently and those who seek a more personal academic experience, the two schools have a combined 50 years of preparing students to take on and meet the demands of their educational and life endeavors.

When the merger takes effect, The Centreville Layton School will continue as one institution serving students, their families and the educational community.  As of August 1, Centreville Layton will launch a new website, www.centrevillelayton.org. Until then, information about the schools is available at their current websites, www.centrevilleschool.org and www.laytonprep.org.

Anyone seeking information about admissions or academic programs at Centreville Layton or the Learning Center may contact Reese at 302 655 3280 or Maguire at 302-571-0230.

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