Gates School

$100,000

Community Facility Loan
Charleston

Community Facility

A Charleston- based charter school is creating a space for children with dyslexia and related reading challenges to feel supported and empowered while learning.

Gates School will provide a learning space for first through fifth grade students in Berkley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties who have an identified specific learning disability in reading. The goal of the school is to help students with dyslexia open the gates to their academic potential in an environment that empowers students to develop a positive and socially conscious self-image.

“We want the students (of Gates School) to know that dyslexia is not a disability,” said Stephanie Sams, who serves as board chair for the school. “We want them to know they can actually be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do.”

One in five students have dyslexia, according to the International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects an individual’s ability to read, write, and spell.

Children with reading challenges are more likely to experience behavior issues and low self-esteem if they are never shown how to study with their learning differences. Costs for tutoring can range from can range from $25 to $80 an hour, according to Understood.org.

A group of parents came together to brainstorm an affordable way to support children in the Lowcountry community that live with dyslexia. The idea of Gates School was born from these conversations.
The school was financed through a community facilities loan with South Carolina Community Loan Fund. It is scheduled to open in the fall to students.

“We are so excited to see this school open,” said Stephanie. “We want to show the students that this is not a disability, it’s just a different ability . Given the right tools, they can be the next leaders.”