“My only regret is not finding y’all sooner”

One of our Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship donors, who has continued to donate after his son graduated, had these words to say:

“You guys were so good for our son and we went through so many schools trying to find some place he would flourish.

“My only regret is not finding y’all sooner.

“I cannot say enough good things the school/teachers and especially Mr. Kevin.  He made a real impression on my son John.

“As long as the program is active you can expect me to participate.”


David Pereira

Thank you for your kind words and your continued support! Your generosity, along with our other donors, helped raise $42,750 for scholarships to aid our families!

John Pereira, class of 2019

#StopStruggling #StartPerforming #WeCanHelp

Ms. Noelle Tells Her Story to the Georgia Senate

On Wednesday, February 26, the day after Dyslexia Day at the Capitol, Ms. Noelle spoke before the Senate Education & Youth Committee regarding Senate Bill 386 and its possible impact on the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (SB10). Her story, along with so many others, is so compelling that we wanted to share it. Below is her speech. If you would like your story featured, please EMAIL it, along with a picture.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and my story.


“Let me introduce myself. I am Noelle Smith. I have a BA in Architectural Studies and a Master of Library and Information Science degree. I am a divorced mother of 3 young women, and we live in Acworth. My oldest daughter, Cheyenne, is studying to be a commercial pilot and graduated in 2011 from Harrison High School in Cobb County. My middle child, Charlotte, is a senior at Kennesaw State University and is studying Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics. She graduated in 2015 as valedictorian from Brookwood Christian School in Cobb County. My youngest, Collette, is a junior studying Neuroscience/pre-med at the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated in 2018 as 4th in her class from Harrison High School. We were a military family for 22 years and stayed in Georgia after my ex retired from the Marine Corps.


“My daughter Charlotte and all the other children with learning disabilities are who I am here to represent today. Let me tell you Charlotte’s story. We had known since she was 5 that there was something going on with her ability to learn letters. They just did not make sense to her. I tried to have her tested at the schools we were at; however, this was immediately after 9/11 so we were transferred to Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana in quick succession. Charlotte received her first IEP in 2004 and a diagnosis of dyslexia.


“In 2006, we moved to Atlanta. Charlotte was in 4th grade. I immediately began the process of having a new IEP issued. At this point, she attended Vaughan Elementary in Powder Springs. She loved school but struggled because she was different and could not read more than simple words at this point. I knew unless she received intensive, one-on-one specialized instruction, she was going to be lost in the public school system and maybe never be able to read. I began to look for a school that specialized in helping students with learning disabilities. I found Brookwood Christian School in Acworth.


“Luckily, Charlotte had an IEP in place and the state of Georgia had just begun the SB10 program. This scholarship enabled me to place my child in a small school with specialized instruction and small classroom sizes. Best of all, all the students had a learning disability of some kind, so everyone was on a level playing field. She thrived.


“When Charlotte was in the 9th grade, my husband and I divorced. He was unwilling to help with her private education, so the SB10 scholarship literally saved my child. I am a teacher and my income was not enough to keep her in a private school. She was able to stay at Brookwood Christian School only because of the SB10 Scholarship. I knew fighting to keep her at Brookwood was worth all the hardships when she began reading books for pleasure. Now she is excelling at Kennesaw State University and has a 3.52 GPA.


“I fell into teaching because my child needed me, and as a teacher of students with learning disabilities, I have seen how the SB10 has changed lives. There are many success stories to hear. There could be many more. I have seen students that want to attend Brookwood Christian be unable to because their families were unable to pay the tuition. Many of these students had a 504. Many returned to the public school system in an attempt to obtain an IEP.  Some were successful at gaining an IEP and were able to enter Brookwood Christian. I have seen several who were unable to obtain an IEP. I remember one such student who dropped out of school. I fear for him. He has fallen between the cracks.


“I ask that you please expand this program to include all children with disabilities; be a part of the success stories. 


“I appreciate your time. Thank you.”

~Noelle Pearson

And THANK YOU Ms. Noelle, for taking the time to advocate for our students and other special needs students!

You can also read Mellie’s Story in our 2018-2019 Annual Report, and Blake’s Story in our 2017-2018 Annual Report, both are compelling, and the statistics for students who do not get appropriate reading instruction are grim, and outlined in the Progress Reports in both stories. You can also see the statistics regarding the success of our programs HERE.

Get to Know Families Impacted by Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship.

#SayDyslexia #UntilEveryoneCanRead #1in5

Noelle Smith, Teacher, Brookwood Christian School.

Jan’s Story

Our story began when one of my twins was struggling to keep up with sight words in the first grade. She began to notice that other kids could remember a lot better than her, and she couldn’t keep up. She had been tested for ADHD through the school but fell into the classic school “umbrella” of what might be the problem.

It wasn’t until second grade when a very kind special ed teacher pulled me aside to let me know that Katie was a classic #dyslexic student and she needed more extensive services. I was then directed to Brookwood Christian. After her first week at her new school she declared “I’m never leaving”. For the first time she was acknowledged, understood and accepted for who she was and her abilities. Within the first month her stress rashes disappeared and she began to come into her own person.

It was shortly after Katie joined Brookwood that her twin Jessica was showing signs of struggling in several different areas at school. After having her tested, she fell under the “umbrella” but wasn’t getting what she needed. It was only after further testing that not only with her ADHD diagnosis, she also has an #AuditoryProcessingDisorder. Knowing what I did about Brookwood, it was the best choice for her as well.

Today they are thriving Freshmen who love not only school, but the family they have gained through our school. Brookwood Christian was the exact answer to lots of tears and prayers. Previous hours of homework struggles and the outbursts that accompany stressed out kids became the past.

I love Brookwood for not only the learning environment, but the extent that each staff member cares for the children’s personal well being. We feel like we have not only made friends for life, but family for life. It’s like coming home.

~Jan Murphy, Parent

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

Mr. Kevin’s Story

When Kim first started BCS, I was more than a little nervous.  When she said she wanted to buy property and build, I was scared.  I was supportive, because I believed in her and knew it was what my daughter needed, but it wasn’t until I began working at the school in 2009 that I really understood.  It wasn’t about money or buildings or prestige.  It was about meeting kids where they are and really educating them.  

I have Dyslexia, and I struggled at first in school.  I had the support of a wonderful teacher and tutors to get me over the hump. What we have created here is a family that supports, encourages, and uplifts each other.  

~Kevin Wigington, Teacher

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

Ms. Kim’s Story

I have always been an educator since graduating from college in 1989. I had three degrees in education by the time my daughter was diagnosed with #dyslexia, and I had no idea what to do for her. I started to network, read, ask questions, study… anything I could do that would help my daughter learn to read. She was a good sport as I drove her from appointment to appointment day by day.

Private school, a resource teacher, tutoring, vision therapy, and occupational therapy was going to cost $40,000 per year. I couldn’t afford that, and she couldn’t learn without it! I realized I didn’t have the training to help her, but I could get it. We started to homeschool in November of her 2nd grade year. Within a week I was homeschooling 5 students around my kitchen table (which is now my desk at school).

In 2004 I had 18 students, so I took out a loan for $50,000, hired help, and rented a room from a church. In 2007 we outgrew that property. Brookwood Christian School became incorporated, and we bought our own property. Today BCS has outgrown our space again!

There is such a need in the community for kids who learn differently. In order to help more students, we are adding another building to the property to house our upper school. God is good.

~Kim Wigington, Headmaster

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

Ms. Kristen’s Story

I was diagnosed with #dyslexia when I was 7. I remember always going to some kind of therapy or tutoring session. I felt like I was different or something was wrong with me.

With the Wilson Reading System, vision therapy, occupational therapy, and lots of other help, I was able to read on grade level. The first books I read on my own, just to enjoy them, were the Twilight series books. I was so proud of myself.

Today I am a lead teacher in a preschool Montessori classroom. In May 2018 I will graduate from Kennesaw State University. I hope to open my own Montessori school one day.

~ Kristen Wigington, BCS Graduate

The AmazonSmile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

*EDIT: Since this post, Ms. Kristen is now a teacher at Brookwood Christian.

Charlotte’s Story

Brookwood Christian School changed my life. Being very #dyslexic, I have always struggled with reading. At Brookwood, I was taught the rules for the English language, rules that come naturally for most English speakers. I learned there are 9 different ways to make an ‘a’ sound and how to apply the rules so I can make the correct ‘a’ sound when reading.

Thank goodness I am very capable at Math. Learning to apply the Wilson Reading System increased my Math skills by giving me the ability to read word problems correctly, and then solve them. I credit Brookwood with my success at Chattahoochee Technical College where I am successfully studying Computer Engineering.

Thank you Brookwood Christian School for providing me with the tools to shape my future.

~Charlotte Smith, BCS Graduate

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

Mellie’s Story

The first book I ever had to read for a grade was “The Westing Game”. I read it in elementary school, and I still have no idea what it’s about, because I never actually read it. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. It felt impossible to sound out any of the scrambled words on the page.

My teachers told me I was lazy, and that I could read it. They thought I was trying to get out of working, which wasn’t true. I worked harder trying to read that book than I ever had before. They made me feel ashamed of myself; even trying my hardest, I couldn’t read it. Everyone in my class thought I was stupid, and it was okay because the teachers did, too.

Then, I was diagnosed with #dyslexia, which led me to Brookwood Christian School. From the beginning, everyone was kind and understanding. Many students at Brookwood also have disabilities, so for the first time, I wasn’t alone.

The teachers are specially trained and willing to help struggling students and never belittle them for their differences. Some teachers even have their own disabilities that they have overcome. The amount that I improved during my first year at Brookwood was life changing. Before I began going there, I could barely read; now reading and writing are my favorite activities.

Brookwood encouraged me when I needed it most, and it still encourages me to this day to succeed even when all odds are against me.

~Mellie Finkel, Student

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

*EDIT: Since this post, Mellie has graduated, is enrolled in college, and working part time at Brookwood Christian as an office assistant.

Deb’s Story

Meg is a very bright, hard working, and intelligent girl. However, learning has been extremely challenging given she has #dyslexia#ADHD#AuditoryProcessingDisorder, and expressive receptive #LanguageDisorder. In the public school system, Meg quickly fell behind and often felt inferior to other students. Realizing that her educational needs were not being met, we began looking into private schools. Even at the private schools we tried, we found that the instruction was not appropriately tailored to our daughter’s educational needs.

Since attending Brookwood Christian, Meg has flourished at school. Brookwood teachers are willing to invest in her as a person. They never give up until they have found a teaching method that allows her to understand and remember what is being taught. The Wilson and Fast ForWord reading programs have helped Meg immensely. For the first time, Meg looks forward to going to school. The teachers don’t rush her or become impatient with her which means a lot to Meg. In Meg’s own words, “this is the first school where I can actually learn.” Meg is so well instructed that she can do her homework independently for the first time.

~Deb Henrie, parent

The AmazonSmile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098

Ms. Julie’s Story

Brookwood Christian School has been the answer to my prayers!

My son was diagnosed with #AuditoryProcessingDisorder 3 years ago. He was in public school at the time and struggling to learn how to read. I was told that he had a short term memory problem and that he would probably not be able to read. He was being pulled out of class most of the day and hated it. He referred to them as stupid people classes and thought he was being pulled out because he was stupid.

For me, that was the last straw. I knew my son was not stupid and could learn to read with right support. Luckily I found Brookwood Christian School! My son started Brookwood 5 weeks ago and was immediately placed in Fast ForWord and Wilson Reading. Blake was reading 3 weeks into the programs.

Blake went from not being able to read to reading 3 letter words in 3 weeks. I love listening to him read and see the pride on his face when he finishes a story!! I cannot thank Brookwood Christian School enough for what they have done for my son!! They have answered my prayers and given my son confidence in himself!!

~Julie Trundle Burnette, parent & staff member

The Amazon Smile donations augment the costs of the #WilsonReading and #FastForWord programs (#dyslexia) at Brookwood Christian School. So during this #SeasonOfSmiles, you can help support Brookwood Christian by shopping at: smile.amazon.com/ch/20-8499098