Hope Academy


Hope Academy, founded in 1997, is an inclusion based private school.  Our mission is to provide each student with academic challenges while insuring personal success.  Classes are small with extra staffing.  Our classes are blended grades enabling children to work at their own level, reducing frustration and boredom.  This model allows us to foster knowledge, character development, and social responsibility.  At Hope Academy, our students “love to learn … and learn to live.”

The Hope Academy Way details our teaching philosophy.  Hope Academy is given a home at Advent United Methodist Church at 2258 Woodruff Road, Simpsonville, SC 29681.  Thank you Advent!

Hope Academy was awarded Best in the Upstate 2013 for Private Schools by the Greenville News readers!  Thank you to our wonderful faculty and families who make Hope Academy a winner!

  • The Hope Academy Difference

    *Low student-to-teacher ratio

    *Individualized curriculum

    *Character development

    *Public speaking opportunities

    *Academic excellence

    *Related arts


    Instilling a love of learning is critical to the Hope Academy philosophy.

    Our administrators and teachers know and appreciate each student as an individual.  We purposefully find ways to enjoy the process of learning, incorporating movement, conversation, and laughter throughout the school day.  We carefully provide a nurturing environment in which children learn for understanding rather than for test-taking.  We emphasize the goal of fluency instead of focusing on a grade.  Our faculty takes the time to develop strategies that emphasize each child’s individual skills and natural aptitudes.

    Working together, Hope Academy’s families, faculty, and administration create a supportive and stimulating educational environment for each child.  Open classrooms allow families to share in the learning process.  An open-door administrative philosophy promotes family involvement and input. As an independent nondenominational school, Hope Academy puts people ahead of policies. Within established guidelines and procedures, we seek creative strategies.   As administrators and teachers, we strive to model respectful, cooperative problem-solving.   Respectful debate and discussion are encouraged at Hope Academy, enabling students to appreciate different approaches and viewpoints.  Hands-on learning and theme-based projects promote creativity and independence.

    The South Carolina Curriculum Standards serve as our baseline for learning.  However, we do not restrict teaching to those prescribed units.  Classroom curriculum is not dictated by standardized testing, although we do administer standardized testing. Those results assist teachers in planning.  Teachers have the freedom to share their own expertise and experiences.  Additionally, we encourage each student to identify, cultivate, and share areas of personal interest and application.  This philosophy permits frequent inclusion of guest speakers, field trips, and enrichment activities.  Recognizing that the ability to communicate skillfully shapes lives, we provide multiple opportunities for students to develop fluency in writing and speaking.  Small classes enable every child to present information to a group, fostering comfort levels in public speaking from a very early age.  

    We embrace character development as a core subject, routinely taking the time to monitor choices of voice, words, and actions.   Administrators and teachers model appropriate character skills through their daily interactions and monthly assemblies.  Role-play, group discussion, and one-on-one counseling facilitate awareness of the connection between thoughts, actions, and consequences.  Our goal is to assist children in developing a moral compass and self-control.

  • The Hope Academy Way - Our Teaching Philosophy

    WE ALLOW EVERY CHILD TO BE BOTH SUCCESSFUL AND CHALLENGED THROUGH INDIVIDUALIZED AND SMALL GROUP LEARNING.

    We allow every child to be both successful and challenged through individualized and small group learning, using a multi-media approach.  Our faculty strives to meet each child’s academic, physical, emotional, and social needs at an individual level.  Our goal is to ensure self-esteem through success and growth through challenge.

    WE RESPECT AND VALUE EACH MEMBER OF THE HOPE ACADEMY FAMILY.

    Working together, Hope Academy’s families, faculty, and administration create a supportive and stimulating educational environment for each child.  Open classrooms allow families to share in the learning process.  An open-door administrative philosophy promotes family involvement and input.

    WE FOCUS ON FINDING SOLUTIONS.

    As an independent school, Hope Academy puts people ahead of policies. Within established guidelines and procedures, we seek creative strategies.   As administrators and teachers, we strive to model respectful, cooperative problem-solving.

    WE ENCOURAGE AND EXPECT INDEPENDENT THINKING.

    Respectful debate and discussion are encouraged at Hope Academy, enabling students to appreciate different approaches and viewpoints.  Hands-on learning and theme-based projects promote creativity and independence.

    WE EMBRACE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AS A CORE SUBJECT.

    We routinely take the time to monitor choices of voice, words, and actions.   Administrators and teachers model appropriate character skills through their daily interactions and weekly assemblies.  Role-play, group discussion, and one-on-one counseling facilitate awareness of the connection between thoughts, actions, and consequences.  Our goal is to assist children in developing a moral compass and self-control.

    WE CREATE DAILY OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-EXPRESSION, BOTH WRITTEN AND ORAL.

    Recognizing that the ability to communicate skillfully shapes lives, we provide multiple opportunities for students to develop fluency in writing and speaking.  Small classes enable every child to present information to a group, fostering comfort levels in public speaking from a very early age.

    WE RECOGNIZE THAT MISTAKES ARE ESSENTIAL TO LEARNING.

    We carefully provide a nurturing environment in which children learn for understanding rather than for test-taking.  We emphasize the goal of fluency instead of focusing on a grade.  Our faculty takes the time to develop strategies that emphasize each child’s individual skills and natural aptitudes.

    WE SEIZE TEACHABLE MOMENTS.

    The South Carolina Curriculum Standards serve as our minimum standards.  However, we do not restrict teaching to those units.  Classroom curriculum is not dictated by standardized testing.  Teachers have the freedom to share their own expertise and experiences.  Additionally, we encourage each student to identify, cultivate, and share areas of personal interest and application.  This philosophy permits frequent inclusion of guest speakers, field trips, and enrichment activities.

    WE HAVE FUN.

    Instilling a love of learning is critical to our philosophy.  Our administrators and teachers know and appreciate each student as an individual.  We purposefully find ways to enjoy the process of learning, incorporating movement, conversation, and laughter throughout the school day.

    WE DEMONSTRATE THAT INCLUSION BRINGS EXCITING POSSIBILITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS, FAMILIES, AND STAFF.

    Hope Academy’s unique educational model intentionally places 1-2 children with autism into classes of typical students.  In small classes with additional staff, children with autism successfully study grade-level curriculum as they learn to interact with and imitate their typical peers.

    Typical children thrive in Hope Academy’s classrooms where individualization promotes unlimited growth. They gain self-esteem and problem-solving skills as they help a friend who has a different approach to life and to learning.  They focus on abilities, not disabilities; see strengths, not weaknesses; accept, not fear.

  • Preschool

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    Hope Academy’s preschool limits class size to approximately 10 children, with both a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. Since its inception, Hope Academy has used a blended-age approach in its classrooms, offering both a K3/K4 and a K4/K5 blend. This approach helps with transitions between classes. Additionally, children have opportunities to experience a wide variety of skills, addressing both the need for extra challenge and the need for extra practice.

    Our K3/K4 class is half-day, five days a week, from 8:15-12:00; we also provide limited options for a Tuesday-Thursday or a Monday-Wednesday-Friday track.

    Our K4/K5 class is half-day, five days a week, from 8:15-12:00; we also provide limited options for afternoon stay until 3:15.

    We fill our allotted classroom slots for children with autism in Hope Academy’s preschool classes thorough our Hope Reach ABA program based upon clinical recommendations.


  • Elementary

     

    Hope Academy’s elementary classes typically include 12-16 students, with both a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. Since its inception, Hope Academy has used a blended-age approach in its classrooms. Children have opportunities to experience a wide variety of skills, addressing both the need for extra challenge and the need for extra practice. Additionally, keeping the same teacher-student relationship for two years promotes increased efficiency and stronger bonds.

    All Hope Academy elementary classes are 8:15-3:15, Monday through Friday.
    We offer a K5/1st grade blend, a 2nd/3rd grade blend, and a 4th/5th grade blend.

    We fill our allotted classroom slots for children with autism in Hope Academy’s elementary classes thorough our Hope Reach ABA program based upon clinical recommendations.


  • Faculty and Staff

    Executive Directors and Founders

    Lisa Lane

    After graduating as valedictorian and class president from Dillon High School, Lisa attended the University of South Carolina, receiving her...

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    Susan Sachs

    After graduating from Aiken High School, Susan graduated summa cum laude from Clemson with a B.A.,majoring in...

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    Hope Academy Faculty

    Rebecca Smith
    Grade: K3/K4
    Academy 1
    Lead Teacher

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    Brenda Allen
    Grade: K4/K5
    Academy 2
    Lead Teacher

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    Christine Gaynor
    Grade: K5/1st
    Academy 3
    Lead Teacher

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    Sheryl Hanshaw
    Grade: 2nd/3rd
    Academy 4
    Lead Teacher

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    Lindsay Robinson
    Grade: 4th/5th
    Academy 5
    Lead Teacher

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    Aletha Garrett
    Grade: K3/K4
    Academy 1
    Assistant Teacher
    Angi Palmer
    Grade: K3/K4
    Academy 1
    Assistant Teacher
    Ticcoa Leister
    Grade: K3/K4
    Academy 1
    Assistant Teacher
    Marianne Wajda
    Grade: 2nd/3rd
    Academy 4
    Assistant Teacher
    Bettye Butler
    Grade: 4th/5th
    Academy 5
    Assistant Teacher

    Support Staff

    Mark Martin
    Development Director
    Pam Townsell
    Administrative Assistant
    Elaine Van Hook
    Special Projects and Technology

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  • Admissions

    Admission to Hope Academy has several paths.  

    • If you are a Hope Reach family, referrals are made from your supervisor.  
    • If you are a Bridging the Gap family, referrals are made from your classroom teachers or supervisor.  
    • If your child has an autism diagnosis but you are not yet part of the HOPE family, we welcome you to complete an enrollment application.  However, space is limited and BTG and Hope Reach families receive priority admission as they are receiving services from Project HOPE Foundation.  If you are not yet receiving ABA therapy for your child, please refer to our Hope Reach program. Click here to learn more about our Bridging the Gap program.
    • For families who do not have an autism diagnosis, you are welcome to complete an enrollment application and we will be in contact with you.  You may contact us directly at 864-676-0028 for more information.  
  • Calendar

  • Tax Credit - Palmetto Kids First Scholarship Program, Inc.

    Support our classrooms and get a tax credit!  The Palmetto Kids FIRST Scholarship Program, Inc.

    Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children (ECENC)

    South Carolina’s Private School Tax Credit Program for Special Needs Children
    On June 25th, 2013, Governor Nikki Haley signed into law the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children (ECENC or Proviso 1.85).  This legislation permits SC taxpayers to donate (or in other words, “redirect”) up to 60% of their South Carolina income tax liability to benefit K-12 special needs scholarship grants.  Individual and corporate taxpayers may claim not only a charitable deduction on their Federal tax return, but also receive a 100% “dollar-for-dollar” tax credit on their SC income tax return.

    For 2014, The State of South Carolina has allocated up to $8 million to fund this program.  However, SC taxpayers must actively support the program by “redirecting” their taxes.  Donations for  the current tax year must be postmarked by April 15, 2015, however, donations are on a first-come, first-serve basis and once the $8 million cap is reached, donations will be refunded and you will miss out on the tax credit.  DON"T DELAY!

    Hope Academy has partnered with Palmetto Kids FIRST Scholarship Program, an IRS 501(c)(3) & SC Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO), to raise donations and award eligible Hope Academy children with private school scholarships.  Although donors cannot designate the individual child or Hope Academy specifically as the beneficiary of your donation, 95% of all donations to Palmetto Kids FIRST will benefit this program, and in turn the Hope Academy Scholarship Fund and its children and families.

    How to Participate in the Tax Credit Program

    Paperless – It’s Fast and Easy!
    1.     Visit www.palmettokidsFIRST.org/pledge
    2.     Complete and electronically sign the Pledge Form & TC-57A.
    3.     Mail your tax credit check to the address below.  (Alternatively donors can also donate low basis publically held stock.)

    Printed Forms to Mail, Fax or Email
    1.     Visit www.palmettokidsFIRST/pledge
    2.     Download a PDF copy of the Pledge Form & TC-57A.
    3.     Complete the Pledge Form. Mail your Pledge Form and tax credit check to PKF at the address below.  (Alternatively donors can also donate low basis publically held stock.)
    4.     Complete Form TC-57A and deliver by mail or email (preferred) to the SC Department of Revenue.

    Make checks payable to:  “Palmetto Kids FIRST Scholarship Program”

    Address:   Palmetto Kids FIRST Scholarship Program, Inc.
    1985 Riviera Drive, Suite 103-126
    Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
    Email:              info@palmettokidsFIRST.org
    Phone:            843-501-1842
    Toll Free Fax: 866-501-7471

    Questions?  For more information or questions, please feel free to contact Palmetto Kids FIRST directly at 843-501-1842 or via email at info@palmettokidsFIRST.org or any of the following individuals for assistance:

    Susan Sachs
    Hope Academy, Executive Director
    864-676-0028   |   via email

    Wendy Rothermel
    Hope Academy Parent, Volunteer & Tax Credit Donor
    864-346-6810   |   via email

    Your participation in the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children (ECENC) is not considered a donation to Hope Academy but rather a redirection of tax liability already owed to the state of South Carolina.

  • TEAM Hope Volunteer Organization

    TEAM Hope is the parent volunteer organization of Hope Academy.  It was born from the idea that we as parents need and want to support our teachers and administrators and thank them for the hard work that they are doing.  TEAM Hope stands for Together Everyone Achieves More and we truly believe that if we all do our part, we can make Hope Academy a phenomenal place to educate and raise our children. 

    Three main areas we focus on are teacher/classroom support, teacher appreciation, and general school support.  Examples of teacher support include a room parent, field trip driver, and making copies.  Teacher appreciation would include "tokens of thanks" throughout the year, "take-out" lunches for teachers, and an end-of-year teacher luncheon.  General school support covers many areas, including helping at school events, coordination of TEAM Hope events, marketing and public relations assistance, fundraising, and much, much more.  As a group, we want the teachers and administrators to come to us with a request and for our response to be "we can get that done!!"

    We all have busy schedules and other commitments, but we hope that every parent will become actively involved in TEAM Hope.  Our motto is: Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something!

    You can find our volunteer form below.  

    Contact Us

    There are many ways to get involved at Hope Academy, click on the form below to let us know how you want to volunteer.

    Volunteer for Team Hope