Centreville, Layton Prep to merge

The Centreville School and Layton Preparatory School will merge on Aug. 1, creating a unified program to serve children with learning differences from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the boards of directors of both schools have announced.

Deborah Maguire

Deborah Maguire

The merged institution — an outcome that has been in the works for nearly two years— will be known as Centreville Layton School and will be located on the Centreville School’s 23-acre campus on Kennett Pike, where Layton Prep has shared space. With the merger, Centreville Layton becomes the only independent school in Delaware or southeastern Pennsylvania offering a comprehensive K-12 program for students with learning differences.

Barton Reese, currently head of Layton Prep, has been named head of Centreville Layton School. Deborah Maguire, currently acting head of Centreville, will become assistant head of the merged institution.

Founded in 1974 as the Delaware Learning Center, a formative play program for children with learning differences, the Centreville School gradually expanded into a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program and moved to its Kennett Pike location in 1984. Layton Prep opened in 2005 with a class consisting primarily of ninth-grade students and expanded to serve all high school grades. Originally located in the New Castle Corporate Commons, it moved onto the Centreville School campus in 2012.

Barton Reese

Barton Reese

The two schools enrolled 120 students during the 2013-14 school year, 85 at Centreville and 35 at Layton Prep. While most are residents of New Castle County, students also come from southeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas in Maryland and New Jersey.

About the same time as Layton moved onto the Centreville campus, the two schools began exploring ways of sharing resources. “Students can now benefit from a continuum of education on a single campus, with the elementary, middle and high school programs being able to draw on each other’s strengths to provide an exceptional overall experience. By combining resources, we will be able to do more,” said Paul F. McConnell, chairman of the Layton Prep board of trustees.

Reese said the opportunity to capitalize on the offerings of the entire campus, such as the outdoor classroom and the barn, which houses two goats, two ponies, two dwarf pigs and four sheep, will enrich students’ experiences. Maguire noted that having a pre-kindergarten through high school program housed on one campus will “a learning community … that can serve students with learning difficulties from the start of their education through high school graduation.”

When the merger takes effect, the Centreville Layton School will continue as one institution and will launch a new web site on Aug. 1, www.centrevillelayton.org. Until then, information about the schools is available at www.centrevilleschool.org and www.laytonprep.org. Anyone seeking information about admissions or academic programs at Centreville Layton or the Learning Center may contact Reese at 302-655-3280 or Maguire at 302-571-0230.

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