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New School Unveiled To Help Dyslexic Students

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A classroom in Wolcott High. (CBS)

A classroom in Wolcott High. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) — It’s estimated that one in five students suffer from dyslexia and other language-based learning disorders.

This weekend, the city’s first high school dedicated to students with such disorders will hold an open house.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker tours the new Wolcott High and takes a look at what it will mean to those with different style of learning.

With construction still underway, you have to use your imagination to see the students who will soon walk these halls and fill the classrooms.

Gabrielle Schmidt would have benefited from the school. She suffers from a form of dyslexia and spent her early years in special education classes.

“I struggle with reading comprehension. It’s difficult for me to read and process what I’m reading,” she says. “I felt horrible. I was crying every night.”

The tears stopped when Gabrielle’s parents sent her to an East Coast high school specially designed for students with dyslexia and other learning differences.

“I learned special note-taking skills,” Schmidt says.

She used those skills to become a successful college and graduate student. Students at the new Wolcott High School will learn similar skills — only right here in Chicago.

The school will offer a challenging curriculum with small classes, no more than 10 students.

It’s housed inside the former Union League Club for Boys in Ukrainian Village. The doors will open this fall for 40 ninth- and tenth-graders, but there’s room for a 160 students who can benefit from specialized teaching.

“We understand how our students learn, how they learn best, how they need to develop the skills to help them succeed,” Miriam Pike says.

Wolcott is a private school and tuition is pretty hefty: $37,500. However, there is a tuition-assistance program, and administrators promise to work with any family that’s interested.

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