Case Study Pepin Academies
Over the past two decades, Pepin Academies has helped hundreds of learning disabled students light their own way to a better future. At first the nonprofit was only staffed to help high schoolers but soon grew to help those with special needs in grades 3-12 as well as offer job training for young adults around Tampa, Florida. Today, Pepin Academies is a tuition-free, award-winning, public charter school for students with learning-related disabilities, offering education for kids in elementary school all the way up to special needs students in their early 20s. Public schools, with their overstuffed classrooms and tight budgets, just weren’t able able to give these kids the kind of attention and tools they needed to succeed.
In recent years, the school’s success allowed the Pepin Academies team to expand beyond downtown Tampa and add campuses in nearby Riverview in the southern suburbs and New Port Richey on the northern coast. That expansion came with heightened demands, though, as well as a much wider range of learning disabilities across a more diverse population. Pepin Academies contacted OneScreen to help it go above and beyond expectations.
Daviera Powell at Pepin Academies laid out the mission of the school, We wanted every child that comes here to know that they don’t have to be limited by their disabilities. The world needs everyone, no matter what their gifts and challenges are. Whether it’s learning a technical trade, going on to higher education or just gaining confidence in themselves, we want to provide the bridge to a better life for more children.
When traditional classrooms and learning tools don’t deliver positive results, children with learning-related disabilities tend to blame themselves and get discouraged. This common problem launches a cycle of declining performance that helps no one and hurts far too many.
Pepin Academies sought out next-gen learning tools and techniques to create a low-threat learning environment that boosted the self-confidence of each special learner.
Pepin Academies found that OneScreen combined the potential for unlimited teaching moments with simple, approachable technology. The students were awed and delighted by what they could achieve using a just few swipes of their fingers or clicks on a mobile device.
The intuitive design of OneScreen helped them understand immediately that not everyone learns in the same way. Collaborative classroom experiences allowed each student to show oﬀ their abilities rather than spotlight their challenges. In the end, Pepin Academies installed more than 60 OneScreen whiteboards across its three campuses.
M’liss Ferlita, who’s son Taylor was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, described what Pepin Academies and its new technology has meant for her family
“In kindergarten, he couldn’t recite his own name — he was nonverbal. He also couldn’t write, and he would sit in the back of the room while the other children raised their hands when the teacher asked a question. He never interacted with the other kids,” she explained. After Taylor got the attention he needed from Pepin Academy teachers, Ms. Ferlita said, “My son has gone through a complete transformation. He’s far exceeded everyone’s expectations! Pepin Academies is a true gem and a place where miracles happen.”
After graduation from Pepin Academies with a full high school diploma and a 4.0 grade-point average, Taylor was granted a Bright Futures Scholarship and was accepted at St. Leo University in Pasco County, Florida. That’s that kind of change the world needs to see on a grand scale, now more than ever.