In 2016, Sheri and Angelique discovered a tremendous need in our community for an educational center that focused on improving the educational outcomes for children in Clark County with learning disabilities, difficulties, and challenges.
In 2017, Sheri and Angelique left the Clark County School District to open Learning Unlocked.
“Our goal was to educate children and provide much needed parental support for families,” Angelique said.
Learning Unlocked’s mission was possible because both are highly trained licensed educators in general education and special education, have earned master’s degrees in Education, and are both certified Educational Therapists (Educational Therapy is a form of therapy that provides intense interventions to resolve and improve a child’s learning outcome).
“Together we have over 40 years of experience working with children in our community,” she said. “Within six weeks of opening, we already needed to move to a larger office space. Within six months of being open, we had full schedules with a waiting list.”
Learning Unlocked provides three specific services advocacy, special needs homeschool support, and Educational Therapy. Special Education advocacy is help provided by professionals who work on behalf of a student and the student’s family to help the family obtain special education services within the public school setting. This service helps families navigate the Individual with Disabilities in Education IDEA act that provides these necessary services to students with disabilities. We work directly with the schools to provide support and accommodations for the child and to improve the outcome of their Individual Educational Plan.
Homeschool Support for Special Needs
Another service provided by Learning Unlocked is special needs homeschool support for families who choose to homeschool their child.
“Often, children with learning difficulties do not thrive in a traditional learning center,” she said. “Children with dyslexia, visual, auditory, or sensory processing disorders fatigue quickly, and the traditional school day is just too long. These learners need extended time to process, multiple opportunities for re-teaching, individualized instruction, and a small group environment that traditional schooling cannot provide.”
These children can learn to thrive instead of surviving in our small homeschool support group. Together with the family Learning Unlocked provides 20 hours of direct instruction per week in place of traditional school.
“We provide explicit instruction in the foundational skills of reading, writing, math, science, history, and art,” she said. “Learning Unlocked implements a hands-on approach to learning every day. We also provide families with an individualized homeschool plan. Together we help struggling learners reach their maximum potential.”
Misconceptions in Homsechooling
One of the biggest misconceptions that we have noticed in homeschooling is the lack of social opportunities. We have found this to be a myth in our situation. In fact, the opportunities we have found are vast and need much exploration. The children who attend Learning Unlocked are able to really develop their social skills and problem-solving through games playing, STEM projects, research, lunch and field trip outings. We are also not bound to stereotypical activities so weekly plays, creating a store, building a car out of boxes are things we highly encourage.
Learning Unlocked provides Educational Therapy services for students daily in the afternoon. This therapy is individually designed for each child to provide intensive interventions to resolve learning difficulties. These services include remediation of dyslexia, dysgraphia and homework support. Our mission is to provide an exceptional education for children with learning differences. Our goal is to help each child achieve their personal best academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.
One of our goals is to build relationships with the families of our community. These relationship bonds help children succeed. As part of this relationship, we do not require a “time” contract which means if the family feels that they no longer need our services for any reason they are welcome to end their services at any time.
We provide employment opportunities to students attending UNLV that aspire to be educators. It provides them with an opportunity to learn teaching techniques as well as develop relationships with children prior to completing their degree. We also hire retired educators to help provide instruction and training. Their expertise is highly valued at Learning Unlocked.
In the time of COVID-19 we are actively engaged with our families helping them solve new parenting problems such as how every family is handling the pandemic differently. We have encouraged parents to speak openly about their decision making with their children. An example of this is when one child is social distancing while friends are having sleepovers. This is difficult for children to understand and they need thoughtful conversation to understand.