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College-Preparatory School in DC Region, Commonwealth Academy, Becomes Founding Member of Association of LD Schools (ALDS), New Education Association for Schools Exclusively Serving Students with Learning Differences

College-Preparatory School in DC Region, Commonwealth Academy, Becomes Founding Member of Association of LD Schools (ALDS), New Education Association for Schools Exclusively Serving Students with Learning Differences
Destiny Esper


Destiny Esper, Director of Communications
Commonwealth Academy

ALDS Membership to Promote, Celebrate Community and Collaboration Across LD Schools and Further the Reach of Commonwealth Academy’s Impact, Mission

ALEXANDRIA, Va., October 10, 2023 — Commonwealth Academy, a regionally acclaimed and fully accredited college-preparatory school serving students in grades 5-12, is bringing its 25-year-old mission to life by co-founding a new education association — ALDS — focused on collaborating, celebrating, and advocating for students with learning differences.

The Association of LD Schools (ALDS) is a new non-profit, private/independent school organization including more than 50 founding schools across the United States and Canada that serve students with learning differences such as ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and executive functioning challenges. The organization creates and provides opportunities for specialized schools like Commonwealth Academy to establish formal partnerships, share resources and support one another to make a positive impact for all students with learning differences — many of whom have been historically overlooked and under-supported in traditional school and association settings. 

“When Commonwealth Academy was founded in 1997, our founding board and team members set out to transform the life trajectories of students with learning differences not only in the greater DMV region, but nationally and internationally,” CA Head of School Anabelle Morgan said. “As founding members of ALDS,  an organization that speaks for and represents the bright minds that we serve, we are excited to continue working towards and fulfilling our mission while also effecting change on a larger scale. These are our students — they deserve for this type of organization to exist.”

ALDS is an outgrowth of partnerships formed among LD school leaders at an annual LD Leadership Retreat and a luncheon at the International Dyslexia Association’s annual conference. LD schools are frequently the only specialized school of their kind in their respective regions and, as such, often are not represented equally or equitably at outside educational events, conferences, etc. The association will make it easier for schools and educators to find opportunities to connect and grow relationships to support one another and impact more students.

“At ALDS, our goal is clear: to foster an inclusive and empowering environment where schools dedicated to supporting students with learning differences can come together, collaborate, and flourish,” said Cheryl Cook, who recently retired as the academic dean at Lawrence School in Ohio and is serving as the Association’s founding Executive Director.  “My goal for ALDS is to figure out how we can help LD school leaders and educators connect with each other about their work and efforts to support learners. We are stronger together.”

All founding schools will have the opportunity to help shape the association's future. ALDS’ founding board members are from the following schools: Spring Valley School (Birmingham, AL), Noble Academy (Greensboro, NC), Landmark School (Beverly, MA), The New Community School (Richmond, VA), Gulliver Prep School (Miami, FL), Westmark School (Los Angeles, CA), Hamlin Robinson School (Seattle, WA), and Windward Academy (New York City, New York).


ABOUT ALDS: The Association of LD Schools (ALDS) is a formal community established to connect and support schools that specialize in education of students with learning differences (LD), such as ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and executive function challenges. As a formal 501c3 non-profit, ALDS will be able to connect the community of LD institutions by dedicating both time and resources to organizing opportunities for interactive collaboration and reaching other schools sharing a common goal. Ultimately, ALDS will advance the movement of reaching more students and change the future of education for students who learn differently. Learn more at:

ABOUT COMMONWEALTH ACADEMY: Commonwealth Academy (CA) is a leader in differentiated instruction for students with executive functioning challenges and learning differences. With an emphasis on college prep, Commonwealth Academy empowers students to fully explore their intellectual passions and potential while fostering the growth that enables them to excel now and in the future. CA’s tight-knit community allows for the types of learning environments, relationships, and opportunities where students are seen and supported for exactly who they are and able to become their very best selves. CA sees the value, spark, and promise in every young person. Learn more at

(Please note: You can find a PDF version of this media release here.)