Providence Hall welcomes students’ various learning abilities, styles

STUDENTS SIT AT THE HARKNESS TABLE to discuss ideas on various topics. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie —

Last year, Leslie Spraggins and Elizabeth Beall began an afternoon educational program with four students. The program catered to the different learning styles of each student.

By Christmas, there were 16 kids in the program.

And this year, the program has evolved into Providence Hall, a college preparatory school serving students first through 12th grade. An estimated 27 students are attending Providence in its inaugural year.

The two ladies, who had been friends for about 10 years prior to moving to Fredericksburg, shared several things in common: backgrounds in child development, and children with both health issues and different learning styles. Their kids were in the same class at school.

Spraggins and Beall began talking to each other a lot about their children’s educational needs.

“In Fredericksburg, there wasn’t a place that embraced kids with learning differences, that met children where they were and moved them forward,” said Spraggins, who co-founded Providence Hall with Beall. “It was a very traditional environment. We would talk about that, how we wished there was a program that would embrace kids with learning differences. A kid with a traditional or typical learning style could go to school with a student with an atypical learning style, and that they would be all welcome in the same place. This way, we could keep our kids together instead of them being strewn all over town in different programs.”

Being all over town and in different programs was not what Spraggins and Beall wanted for their families.

After this past Christmas, the two ladies began talking to community members and educational professionals to see about the feasibility of such a program and if there was a desire for it elsewhere among other parents.

Spraggins described the response as “overwhelming” as it was discovered that this type of school did not appear to exist in Fredericksburg or elsewhere in the Texas Hill Country.

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