Partner Schools

The Learning Center

About The Learning Center

The Learning Center provides a truly individualized, comprehensive, educational program for students grades 6 and up who have more significant needs. Located on the CCS campus, The Learning Center is a 3,900+ square foot, state-of-the-art, learning facility complete with simulated home and work environments and academic classrooms. It is designed for 30+ students. Siskin Children's Institute (SCI) offers consultation and integrated therapy services, and Chattanooga Christian School (CCS) provides the educational and social programs.

Celebrating the Individual

Often, those with disabilities are placed in classes with such a mix of students that it is difficult to recognize and therefore address individual students’ needs. We provide a tailor-made approach to educating your student, offering a more effective model than the self-contained classroom. Here’s how it’s done:

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  • Low Student-to-Staff Ratio

    Our ratio, approximately 3 to 1, is in place to ensure that each student is engaged as an individual. This enables our staff to identify and implement meaningful, inclusive opportunities, to customize schedules, and to provide the best learning strategies for each student.
  • Individual Assessment

    Constantly assessing each student as an individual is key to creating optimal learning experiences—both inside and outside the classroom. Our staff is able and eager to customize community involvement and to implement job training opportunities that are specific to each student’s interests, as well as abilities. This individual attention gives students the confidence and tools they need to become engaged in their communities both while they are with us and—more importantly—once they have graduated.

    The Learning Center seeks to provide the maximum impact in academic, therapeutic, post-secondary, and independent living domains of growth. This looks different for every student, and we are committed to helping every student grow.
  • Academics

    Using the best curricula for educating students with a range of learning abilities, we expect many students to continue to follow a standard sequence of academic instruction for middle and high school with modifications when necessary. Students also focus on the more functional aspects of learning such as using money, calculating the time needed to complete tasks, designing a budget, and reading for work and daily life.

    Some students take standard middle and high school courses, while other students follow an alternate curriculum across academic disciplines. Planning with multidisciplinary teams with significant input from the student and the family allows us to create tailored academic programs that are specific to each student’s needs.
  • Therapy

    Therapy services that assist with the integration of school, life, and vocation skills are a vital part of the student’s day. Occupational, speech-language, and physical therapy strategies are integrated into daily learning across activities, and are also offered in more private settings depending on the individual needs of the students.

    Students can access the right amount of therapy in the right settings according to areas of need for targeted development. Having the flexibility and the resources to integrate therapy services based on each student’s needs allows the focus to be on individual growth. This approach is preferred over a one-size-fits-all approach offered a limited number of times per week.
  • Post-Secondary Opportunities

    What happens after graduation is a daunting subject for all high school students. Our staff works with students to determine high areas of interest and high levels of skill potential in order to begin planning toward post-secondary work, training, or school placements. Our general education students are invited to participate in post-secondary planning programs alongside The Learning Center students.

    Some of our unique business partnerships within the community allow us to look at vocational possibilities for students in order to train for jobs that focus on the strengths and interests of each individual. We offer Alternate Academic Diplomas for students who are able to meet the criteria and who plan to continue with a post-secondary educational placement like a college or university.
  • Independent Living Skills

    Creating a budget, planning a grocery list, caring for a living space, setting an alarm, and accessing transportation are some of the skills we teach to support independent living. These skills are explicitly taught in the classroom and involve regular practice out in the community. For instance, some students take sections of the Personal Finance course, then visit banks to practice the skills taught in class in real-life settings. Practicing all that is involved with having a bank account, grocery shopping, meal planning, budgeting, and components of housekeeping such as safety, laundry, food storage, etc. are explicitly taught, then generalized across real-world environments.
  • Safe and Sound

    Safety and good care are fundamental priorities for our students. Parents often worry about what is happening at school and want to ensure safety as a top priority. For students with limited verbal ability, families should have frequent communication from teachers and other school staff. Families are invited to check in on students in-person or through available systems remotely. The policy is an open door with frequent communication as needed to keep loved ones informed and assured of student safety.
  • Come By and Come Often

    Parents and families are always welcome to come visit The Learning Center. We know this is a way to provide communication and information for students who may be challenged to provide this information on their own. Communication and input from everyone who knows the student is a necessary approach in Exceptional Education school environments. Outside therapy providers are also welcome to come visit their clients at The Learning Center and to share their knowledge of the student in order to assist our staff. Our goal is to provide the best possible support and care for the growth of the students.

Care Beyond the Classroom

We know that many families
need care beyond the typical school day. The Learning Center provides after-school and summer care for all students. During the summer, we open up spots to others within the community who need access to good care even when the school year is over.

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  • Pre-Vocational Partnerships

    We have a group of unique community partners to draw from when working toward post-secondary vocational goals. We know that not every student fits into the categories for employment that are typically available for adults with disabilities.

    Our goal is to work with students to determine areas of high interest and skill potential and to find a fit with employment that can be meaningful and promote the uniqueness and dignity of each student. Whether it is a small business venture, service industry work, or an IT job, we have campus facilities and community connections to help students meet their career goals.
  • Next Steps

    Students may participate in Pre-Employment Transition Services through vocational rehabilitation services to explore vocations and learn 21st century work skills as well as self-advocacy, goal setting, and other important, life skills.

    Leveraging specific partnerships with businesses and state services available, students graduate with skills to enter the next phase of working, learning, and participating in community. 
  • Extended Care

    Often, after-school care is not available for students with more significant needs. We provide care for your student well after the school day has ended. The purpose of this time is to allow busy and/or working parents more flexibility when picking up their students.

    Extended Care fees include great care and a snack, and students may be involved in supervised on-campus activities. By providing these extended hours, we hope that families with working parents or multiple children involved in activities will find the school day more manageable and compatible with busy family schedules.

    EXTENDED CARE DETAILS: Extended Care begins after the school day at 3:00 PM and ends at 6:00 PM.
    The charge for each 90-minute session of 3:00-4:30 and 4:30-6:00 is $10 and $20 for both.
  • All Summer Long

    While there are many wonderful camps in Chattanooga, full-time summer care is not available for older students with more significant needs. We offer care throughout the summer.

    Beginning in the summer of 2021, our facility is open year-round, and we provide care to students in our program, as well as other students in the community who need more focused care.

    SUMMER CARE DETAILS: Summer Care begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 4:00 PM. We operate M-F except Memorial Day and July 4. The Learning Center Summer Care progRam ends with the first day of school at CCS. The cost for Summer Care is $300.00 per week. Students may arrive as early as 7:30 AM for an additional 90-minute charge of $10, and students can stay until 6:00 PM for an additional $10 chargeA 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM day, five days per week, is $400.00 per week.

Application Process

The Learning Center admissions and financial aid processes begin with each prospective applicant going through the checklist described below. Applications for the 2023-2024 school year are accepted beginning Sept. 1. The application process and financial aid application must be completed by Jan. 31. We will continue to receive applications after this date as long as there is space available.

To begin your online application or to schedule a tour, please create an account in MyCCS. Within 24 hours a checklist will be assigned for registration.

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Partnering with Excellence

In establishing the concept of The Learning Center at CCS, conversations related to serving older students well—in the way that SCI has been serving students in their preschool program for more than half a century—led to a partnership between SCI and CCS. 
Families in Chattanooga have been fortunate to have Siskin Children's Institute as a resource. Through the opening of The Learning Center, CCS is thrilled to create ease of access through a collaborative relationship with SCI.

The CCS Community

Students at The Learning Center are full members of the CCS community. With a vibrant community full of arts, athletics, and STEM events; chapel; and a vast array of Student Life activities, there is always something to attend when you are at CCS. The opportunity to experience life beyond academics is an essential part of The Learning Center experience.

Meet Our Team

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  • Shonda Caines

    Director of Exceptional Education
  • Haley Faith Morin

    Admissions Representative
  • Kristina Williams

    Coordinator and Lead Teacher
  • Council Copeny