Building a sense of self for students with special learning needs through academic and experiential programming, The Cottage School prepares individuals for fulfillment of their true potential as confident, productive, and independent adults.
In 1985, one teacher following a dream helped academically frustrated students experience success through a tutorial and after-school program. A spartan one-room office in a Roswell, GA office park, furnished by a card table and folding chairs, comprised the classroom.
At the end of the semester, several parents asked the teacher to continue to work with their children full-time while they researched alternative educational options.
From that moment, The Cottage School was established, the fulfillment of a dream launched as the result of countless dinner-table discussions between founders Jacque and Joe Digieso about their experiences with students, especially the inability of many capable and hard-working students to learn in traditional classroom settings. Over the years, the educational program evolved into a fully accredited middle and high school curriculum, the office relocated to a 23-acre campus with five cottage-style classroom buildings, and the initial student population grew to a dynamic, energetic, and diverse group of close to 200 from throughout the Metropolitan Atlanta area.
In 1998 with the support of the Board of Directors and a strong parent base the school embarked on its first major capital campaign and building project. $1,000,000 was raised and a major overhaul of the campus infrastructure was completed along with two six-room cottages, which provided classroom space, science and photography labs, a computer lab and a small media center. Those buildings were full when the ribbon cutting occurred and students moved in January of 2000. Planning began almost immediately for future growth, specifically for space for the middle school and the enlargement of the cafeteria and media center.
In the spring of 2002, in order to address its continued growth and to provide additional instructional and administrative space, the school embarked upon a $1,261,478 Capital Campaign. The campaign provided a middle school classroom cottage and expanded the current administrative building to add a state-of-the-art media, a Career and Post-Secondary Center, a new cafeteria/Community Center, and additional administrative office space.
In 2005, the school’s Strategic Plan recognized the growing need for a multi-purpose activities center that would include a gym, stage, fitness center, art studio, carpentry shop, locker rooms, and office space. In December 2007, the school embarked on a $2 million campaign to “Bring It Home.” On January 24, 2009, The Cougar Center opened its doors to a capacity crowd that unleashed a new wave of Cougar Pride on The Cottage School campus.
The 2011-2012 school year marks the 27th anniversary of the founding of The Cottage School. For over a quarter of a Century, the school has changed lives with the Keys to Education, Independence, and Success!
The Cottage School’s history of success repeatedly demonstrates that students who come to the school disillusioned or discouraged–some to the point of “giving up” on education–flourish in the school’s environment and emerge as independent, capable, and successful young adults. Carefully designed to meet State of Georgia high school graduation standards, as well as HOPE scholarship requirements, the curriculum also exposes students to various situations and subjects that assist them in unlocking their own unique talents and finding their niche in life. All seniors must prepare an approved post-secondary plan as part of graduation requirements.
The centerpiece of The Cottage School program teaches students the basic work skills that will prove essential to them as adults. Among the school’s unique learning techniques is a time management system, similar to the daily planners utilized by many adults. Students receive assignments in two-week blocks, enabling them to engage in short-term planning, with rewards for completing tasks on a timely basis. An instant “task feedback system” rewards students for completing assignments on time through the payment of a mock “salary” which they manage through a checking and savings account. Students learn that wages can increase for a job well done, and they learn the value of saving to pay for privileges such as off-campus activities or trips.
Every other week, the students participate in “levels,” a model of the corporate staff meeting, in which students can apply for promotions, give or receive feedback from peers and teachers, and discuss issues of interest. Dress code and respectful ethic builds awareness and appreciation for appropriate workplace attire.
The Cottage School serves a diverse enrollment of approximately 150 students in the Middle and High School programs on its 23-acre wooded campus in Roswell, Georgia. Its dedicated staff of 50 includes 40 professional educators, of whom 42 percent possess advanced degrees.
In addition to the traditional day school program, The Cottage School offers a wide range of educational opportunities, including:
- Summer High School for Credit: customized academic instruction, either for current students or students from area schools requiring specific courses for full or half Carnegie Credit units;
- Summer Success: Art Enrichment, Reading Comprehension, Math, and SAT/Test Preparation;
- After School for Credit: All high school core curriculum subjects;
- After School Success: Homework reinforcement, study skills, test taking, and organizational skills;
- Project Work: Learn work skills that will help you get your first job, while you have a great time working as part of a team;
- Art: Art and Self Expression for the Creative Thinker;
- High School: Post Secondary Enrichment: Public Speaking, SAT/ACT Prep, Written Expression;
- Tutoring All Subjects.
For information on the above programs, visit our Admissions section or contact The Cottage School at 770/641-8688.