Our Mission

The mission of Lake Michigan Academy is to transform lives by empowering students with learning differences to achieve their full potential.

​Lake Michigan Academy strives to transform the lives of children with learning differences.  We empower students to focus and build their strengths not their weaknesses.  Students leave LMA with renewed self-esteem and lifelong tools for success. Our alumni continue to develop learning skills, social skills, and self-awareness techniques which help them beyond the classroom.

​From Humble Beginnings to an Exceptional Future

Chuck Stoddard and John Lowe began talking to each other while at the airport to see their kids off to a school out east for children with learning differences. In 1984, this conversation grew and a group of six parents, including Stoddard and Lowe, all of whom had children with learning differences, decided to open a school that would provide an environment in which their children could learn. They pooled their knowledge and financial resources, hired a teacher, ordered books and supplies, and rented classroom space. The doors of Lake Michigan Academy opened in September of 1985.

Lake Michigan Academy was founded with the stated purpose of rebuilding the often tattered self-esteem of children with learning differences, and improving their academic skills through a specialized and personalized instructional curriculum.
Lake Michigan Academy has grown significantly over the years. Initially, the school served five students. By the end of the second year, enrollment had grown to sixteen students. A high school program was added as enrollment continued to grow and as our middle school students progressed successfully through the grades.

Principles & Values

Community of Learners
Lake Michigan Academy is a state-recognized, independent day school for children with learning differences and ADHD in grades 1-12. We believe that teaching must be approached from a student-centered perspective, taking students where they are and progressing from that point. Inherent in the learning process should be the student, teacher, and parent sharing the responsibility for learning. The success of Lake Michigan Academy is contingent upon effective communication between these three entities. Because we believe in this team approach, we encourage active parent participation. Mutual caring by teachers, administrators and students will provide impetus for developing a positive self-concept.

Self-Esteem through Success
Children with learning differences are capable of learning. Some are even more capable than the average child, often exhibiting gifts that have not yet been recognized. However, our students learn in non-traditional ways; our job is to align our teaching with your child’s learning style and needs.

Teaching Advocacy and Independence
We work to teach our students how to compensate for their learning differences by utilizing appropriate coping skills as they learn to advocate for themselves. Our ultimate goal is to transition students out of Lake Michigan Academy to experience success in another academic settings and/or post-secondary environments. LMA is committed to assisting students in becoming career-college ready. Our goal is to prepare them to be successful with the expectations of the 21st century world.

Different Learning, Different Teaching
Lake Michigan Academy is a specialized school. Because of this, we have a specialized curriculum aimed to teach strategies leading towards independent learning, remediation and self-advocacy. This is accomplished through our small student to teacher ratio and application of research based methods. Students are grouped in multi-age classrooms. The 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio allows the content classes to be tailored to the needs and strengths of the students in that class.

At LMA, teachers and parents alike have high expectations for the education of their children. They want a program that understands how students with learning differences learn and implement this understanding through appropriate teaching techniques. Parents need strong communication and a partnership between all those involved in the child’s education. They want their bright, interesting child to have positive self-esteem, as well as the reading, writing, math and communication skills necessary to be successful. We value and count on parent partnerships.

​LMA’s program is designed with the parents’ expectations and student needs in mind. Our teachers are state-certified, with a complementary mix of general and special education certifications, including endorsements in Learning differences and various academic subject areas, which strengthens our staff. Throughout the year our staff participates in school provided professional development and attend a variety of educational conferences. Communication is valued and key to your child’s success. Teachers’ email addresses are provided to each student and students are encouraged to contact staff with homework questions or other concerns. Educational planning meetings are held three times a year and are also in attendance of Non Public Service Plan meetings where, as a team, they develop goals and objectives along side physical therapist, occupational therapist, social workers, and speech and language therapists.

Individualized Education for Each Child’s Strengths and Needs
Each year, the teachers, student and parents set goals for the upcoming year. New students are tested in the fall to obtain a baseline for academic planning. Current students are given a battery of achievement tests every spring in order to demonstrate growth and guide future planning. The results are shared with parents in a written format. Additionally, teachers write end-of-the year content summaries for core academic classes which review the syllabus and note individualized learning and necessary accommodations.

Remediation and Accommodation for Skill Development
Our program is designed utilizing the best information gained from current educational research. Core classes challenge students to further their knowledge as well as remediate skill areas; smaller labs work on specific skills, including reading, writing, math and social skills.

Literacy in Every Class
Literacy is the central focus of the program. There are five components of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. Various strategies and programs are used to facilitate strengthening student skills in these areas. Because it is our focus, literacy skills are not just taught in English class and the Reading Lab, but rather, they are integrated into every class. Many opportunities are given for students to practice planning, reading, writing, oral expression, technology and projects.