Two Delaware private schools announce merger

Two private schools that each serve students with learning disabilities announced they will merge next month.

On Monday, the board of directors at Centreville School and Layton Preparatory School said the new unified program will now teach children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Prior to the merger, Centreville was pre-K through 8, while Layton Prep served all high school grades. 

The merged institution will be known as Centreville Layton School and will be located on the Centreville School’s 23-acre Kennett Pike campus, where Layton Prep has shared space and acquired adjoining property in the last two years.

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

“We are eager to utilize the entire campus to enhance the delivery and broaden the scope of our academic offerings,” Reese said.

Language, speech and occupational therapy services that have long been part of Centreville’s program will now be readily available to all students. Reese continued, “We are excited to offer this additional access to counseling and therapy services to students in our upper school.” 

Maguire said having a pre-K through 12 program housed on one campus will create “a learning community not yet seen in Delaware; one that can serve students with learning difficulties from the start of their education through high school graduation.”

Together, both institutions enrolled 120 students during the 2013-14 school year; 85 at Centreville and 35 at Layton Prep. Most live in New Castle County, but school officials said some students live in nearby Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

Reese and Maguire said the merger did not come as a surprise to members of either community because both boards had already begun exploring ways to combine resources when Layton moved onto the Centreville campus.

“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,” said Paul McConnell, chairman of Layton Prep’s board of trustees.

“The merger also provides both stability and sustainability for both programs and helps ensure that we will continue to serve as many children as possible for a long time,” said Ted Rosenthal, board chair of the Centreville School.

On Aug. 1, Centreville Layton will launch a new website, www.centrevillelayton.org. With the merger, Centreville Layton becomes the only independent school in Delaware to offer a comprehensive K-12 program for students with learning differences. 

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