Camperdown Gets More Room

Greenville Journal—October 18, 2017

Cindy Landrum

When construction of a new Camperdown Academy is complete next summer, the school serving dyslexic children will have something new – room.

The 32,000-square-foot school has double the space and double the capacity of the old Junior Achievement building on Howell Road that has served as the school’s home since 1991. No longer will a foyer have to serve as a classroom.

But part of the reason for the new $5 million school is the demand for the specialized training Camperdown provides for school teachers, said Allison Rogers, the school’s director of development.

“The number of students we’ll be able to reach will increase exponentially,” she said.

Camperdown is one of nine schools in the country certified by dyslexia education leaders the Orton-Gillingham Academy as both a training and teaching institution. Orton-Gillingham is a language-based, multisensory, and structured approach used to teach students with dyslexia how to compensate for their learning disability. Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be taught directly and systematically to students with dyslexia.

The new school will have a series of small rooms in the center of the building, providing space dedicated for one-on-one student-teacher interaction, Rogers said. The new facility will also have a gym and a library, features Camperdown has not had before. The Verdae site off Laurens Road was chosen because of its proximity to the interstate.

Space constraints at the current school only allow teacher training to be held in the summer. Between 60 and 80 teachers are trained each summer. With the new facility, training will be held year-round, although school officials don’t yet know how many additional teachers will be able to be trained each year, Rogers said.

The school is in the midst of a $5 million capital campaign and has received commitments from foundations, families of former students, and other donors for more than 75 percent of it, Rogers said. 

Camperdown’s students come from six different counties. The site also has room for the school to expand in the future, she said. Its current site is landlocked. The Verdae site also features woods and a meadow that can be used for outdoor learning space. It is also close to a section of the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail now under construction.

Camperdown was founded in 1986 by parents who were looking for new educational opportunities for their bright dyslexic children. The school, the first of its kind in the Upstate, was first housed at Eastlan Baptist Church.