Admissions FAQ

What is Mainspring Academy’s philosophy?

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Mainspring Academy is a premier, independent, educational institution, focusing on developing an individualized academic program where children progress through a curriculum of concepts and skills at their own pace. We believe that individuals with learning differences can be taught effectively only when instructional methods and curricula are tailored to each student’s unique learning needs. We utilize a variety of instructional techniques and methods, believing that no one system is ideal for every child. Study and organizational skills are embedded in the curriculum to promote self-reliance and future academic success. Students develop an internal sense of organization and motivation through choice-making, experiencing the results of hard work and pursuing academic inquiry. Mainspring Academy focuses on how each child can learn best, rather than on having the group “cover” a specific quantity of material. Consultation between parents, classroom teachers, resource teachers, private therapists and other specialists is continuous, so that each child’s program can be modified to meet his or her specific needs.

What makes Mainspring Academy different from other schools?

Mainspring Academy believes that learning comes from experiencing. We take our students on a daily journey to different environments, both inside and outside of the classroom. These journeys create opportunities that enhance academic and social learning and encourage life experience.

  • Academic and social learning: Mainspring Academy believes in an integrated approach to academic and social learning. Daily activities, whether academic, therapeutic, artistic or physical, are connected as part of thematic units. This integrated approach allows Mainspring students to see meaning and purpose in each and every activity. The students feel stimulated and confident as their learning allows them to make connections, generalize information and apply their skills inside and outside of our classroom walls.
  • Values and character: Mainspring Academy believes that teaching values and building character is integral to its program. Therefore, virtues, positive reinforcement, community responsibility and outreach are part of the Mainspring day. Many students partake in school contracts enabling them to earn positive incentives for hard work and appropriate behavior. As a vehicle for learning, understanding and developing empathy as well as understanding the gifts of giving and thinking responsibly, Mainspring students conduct “hands-on” community projects and are encouraged with positive incentives for hard work and appropriate behavior.
  • Mind-body connection: Mainspring Academy believes in the mind-body connection. In furtherance of the connection between movement and learning, the Mainspring day includes daily sensory exploration, movement breaks, brain-gym exercises, physical education with fitness experts, yoga and after school sports.

What is the student-to-teacher ratio?

In a majority of classes, the student-to-teacher ratio usually is no more than 5:1 but is frequently lower. The class size depends on the developmental needs of the students. Each classroom has a lead teacher, with additional behavior support provided by students’ private therapists, the hours of which are determined by each student’s Matrix score. Additionally, resource teachers frequently provide push-in and pull-out interventions to address goals for intensive 1:1 instruction.

How are classroom placements decided?

Students are placed in classrooms that will best meet their developmental, behavioral and academic needs. Teaching and learning styles are taken into consideration, as well as the age and maturity of the student.

What does the tuition and activity fee include?

Tuition includes your child’s classroom instruction by a teacher, use of the campus, supplies and a fundraising event fee. All of the equipment and materials used in the school are covered by tuition. Parents will be responsible for classroom supplies requested by their child’s teacher prior to the first day of school. Please see the tuition schedule for details.

What Are Support Services And How Are They Determined?

Support services are Speech-Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA therapy, Feeding Therapy, Psychological, and Psychiatric services. These are charged separately from tuition on an hourly basis and are sometimes covered by insurance. Outside related service providers are welcomed once approved by the Board of Directors and the Head of School.

The required level of classroom support is determined by Mainspring’s comprehensive matrix of services that covers 5 domains: Curriculum and Learning, Behavior, Communication, Independent Functioning and Health. The student’s individual matrix score is then translated to a required number of support hours that the parent will be responsible for contracting through our primary provider, Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, or another approved provider. These services will be billed separately from tuition by the providing therapist or his/her place of business.

Are Support Services Reimbursable Through My Insurance Provider?

Coverage for related services depends upon the insurance provider and plan. Please contact your service provider to discuss insurance coverage.

Are Mainspring Academy Support Services Required If My Child Receives Outside Therapies?

Outside therapies are not a replacement for support services at Mainspring Academy. Although some students receive outside therapies, they merely supplement Mainspring Academy’s program. The academic success of the Mainspring Academy student is a result of our integrated team model. In addition to targeting specific skills, the support service providers within the school setting enable students to access the curriculum by providing in-class support and guiding students in generalizing emerging skills during their school day. This daily team collaboration promotes consistency and maximizes student success.

How Will Support Services Be Delivered?

The Mainspring Academy model allows for flexible and creative delivery of services addressing the student’s ILP goals. Students receive individual support in a variety of ways and settings, which include individual, group, and consultation. Services can be provided within the classroom, in pull-out services, or in any setting that is related to the child’s goals. A child’s services may include a combination of any of these effective delivery models.

Does the Mainspring Academy Accept or Offer Scholarships?

The Mainspring Academy accepts the John McKay scholarship and the Step for Students Grant. In addition, a limited number of Hardship Scholarships are awarded based on financial and educational need. Please visit our funding matrix under the “Parent’s Corner” for additional funding information.

If Payment Is Not Received When Due, Will My Child Still Be Enrolled?

Unless special arrangements are made, your child could be dismissed from school if payment is not timely. Before any child is dismissed from the school, parents or legal guardians are informed in writing.

Can I Authorize Automatic Payment Via My Credit Card For Tuition and Related Services?

Yes. Many parents are authorizing payment this way because it is convenient and saves time. For students on a monthly tuition payment plan, a credit card must remain on file at the school. Payments are required by the 15th of each month. If payment is not received, the credit card on file will be charged on the 16th of the given month.

What opportunities are available for parent to be involved in their child’s school experience?

Parents have many opportunities to be involved at Mainspring. Our Board of Directors recruits community, corporate, and parent volunteers to assist them in carrying out major fundraising events. The Parent Teacher Organization, which organizes innumerable school and family activities is always happy to have new members and volunteers. We also host a day devoted to Grandparents and Special Friends. We feel that communication is an integral part of successful school experience. In addition to providing parent collaboration and ILP meetings, we encourage parents to communicate with teachers via phone or email. Also, parents are always welcome to request a meeting with their child’s team members.