*The Discovery Program is currently close to capacity for the 2016-2017 school year. If you wish to be put in the waiting pool, please proceed with the admissions process by submitting the documents listed on the checklist. Please contact Pam Szydlowski if you have further questions.

Discovery Program Brochure

2015 LCS Discovery Program Checklist Letter

The year-round education and development of children with autism is a distinctive of the LCS campus that is significantly impacting lives on a daily basis.

The Discovery Program is a self-contained classroom offered to students with a specific diagnosis of autism and/or related disabilities. This special education program is available for children 5-14 years old with an emphasis on academic skills and independent living skills. Classroom instruction is based on a blended model of best practice approaches to autism treatment including: applied behavior analysis (ABA), incidental teaching, picture exchange communication systems (PECS), and social skills training.

Curriculum is specially modified to meet each child’s individual needs. Children are taught in a low ratio (1:4) structured classroom by teachers who have had extensive training in autism spectrum disorders and evidence based practice. Each child’s individual education plan is reviewed biannually with the parent to monitor progress and ensure program effectiveness. Tuition costs for the Discovery Program include weekly Speech/Language and Occupational Therapy and the extended school year program.

The Discovery Program began several years ago with four students in one small classroom. As the children moved into their new home in the George W. Jenkins Discovery Wing of the Elementary/Middle School Building, the program immediately tripled the enrollment, with others seeking to participate.

In addition to their specialized academic curriculum, students receive several individual sessions per week of speech/language therapy and occupational therapy.

Families enrolled in the Discovery Program are extremely pleased with the quality and credentials of the faculty, and they are thankful for the many aspects of the program that are not available in the public school setting.

The presence of these very special children on campus is mutually “life-altering.” Discovery students and “regular-ed” students have formed close bonds. Children see that we are all unique and can help one another. Students are learning to build relationships and solve problems – a win-win situation.

Admissions Process

Discovery Program Admissions Procedures:

1.  The inquiring family must provide current ESE paperwork for review by Special Programs Coordinator.
2.  The Special Programs Coordinator will perform a preliminary review of the ESE documentation and will schedule an initial family interview. For a checklist of the required documentation, click here.
3.  The Program Coordinator will schedule admissions testing for the student.  If the program seems to be appropriate for the student, an enrollment packet will be provided to the parents by the school registrar, Mrs. Mary Fairchild.
4.  Final interviews will be scheduled. The family meets with the Headmaster and the Special Programs Coordinator to discuss the mission of the school. The family is also scheduled to meet with Matt Green, Chief Financial Officer, to discuss financial obligations of enrollment and tuition assistance programs.  If the student is not accepted into the program, parents are notified by letter or by the Program Coordinator when student testing is completed.

If you have questions regarding the Discovery Program, please contact Mrs. Pam Szydlowski, Special Programs Coordinator, by phone at 863-688-2771 or by email at pszydlowski@lcsonline.org.

Tuition Information (2016-2017)

Payment Schedule

Tuition payments may be made annually, by semester, quarterly, over 10 months or over 12 months. All monthly tuition payments are made via electronic funds transfer to FACTS Tuition Management. The yearly fee for this service is $10 (if paying by semester) or $43 per family (if paying quarterly, over 10 months or over 12 months). There is no fee if paying annually.

Summer 2016 Program (6-Week Session)

Summer Hours: 9 AM to 12:30 PM
Registration/Materials Fee (due with application): $150.00
Tuition: $2,200.00
(Tuition includes two sessions of speech/language and occupational therapy per week.)

2016-2017 School Term (includes Summer 2017 Program 6-Week Session)

School Hours: 8:05 AM to 2:15 PM
Non-Refundable Matriculation Fee (due with application)
Application Fee: $150.00
Non-Refundable Matriculation Fee (paid by February 12): $350.00
None-Refundable Matriculation Fee (paid after February 12): $450.00
Tuition: $24,700.00
(Tuition includes two sessions of occupational therapy per week. Two sessions of speech/language therapy services are also provided per week at no charge through a federal grant.)

Food Service

The Lakeland Christian School cafeteria offers a variety of meal alternatives that cater to our diverse student population. Cafeteria menus and meal item portions are created to meet the varied levels of student preferences. All menus are reviewed and approved by a registered dietician to ensure menus meet nutrition standards and nutrient composition from a variety of food sources that support optimal nutrition.  Students receive three daily meal options ranging from “the classics” (home-style favorites), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and deli-meat sandwiches. Meal service transactions are processed through a point-of-service register system which allows parents to review and monitor student purchases on a daily basis. Parents are asked to place money in their child’s lunch account and maintain a positive balance at all times. Students may also opt to bring their lunch from home.

Daily meal prices:  $3.85 (through grade 5), $4.10 (grades 6 and above)

Overdue Payments and Early Withdrawal

A late fee of 1½% per month may be assessed on charges older than thirty days. For payments returned to the school because of insufficient funds, the school will assess a $30.00 service charge. No student may be enrolled in a new semester unless all previous semester payments have been made. If a student is withdrawn during a semester, the full semester’s tuition is due. Student transcripts/records will only be released after the family account has been paid in full.

Scholarship Information

Lakeland Christian School accepts the McKay Scholarship and Step Up for Students Scholarship.  Families may also apply for additional financial aid.

Contact the LCS Business Office at 863-688-2771 for more information.

Meet the Discovery Teachers

Erica Allen – Discovery Teacher

I am a 1989 graduate of LCS, and I can tell you that the teachers and coaches here really helped to develop me physically, mentally and spiritually.

After graduation, I completed college and began my career as an educator in the public school system and juvenile justice system and worked many years in the mental health field as an executive.  I have spent my entire professional career working with at-risk and/or special needs students of all backgrounds and ability levels. God has definitely led me on a series of missions I would have never imagined and along the way I have learned the power of the word “yes” when being obedient to God’s leading.  However difficult the task, or even scary the thought, if we are called, he will make the way clear.

After being a substitute teacher for LCS for a few years, I was asked to join the LCS family and assist with the students in the Discovery unit.  Once again, God has led me to a ministry that I love!  Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”  I can honestly say that the children in our Discovery unit are blessing me more than I am blessing them.  The students are amazing, truly ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, and the team of educators has been a real gift.

Christi Jickell – Discovery Teacher

I am a 2015 graduate of Southeastern University with a Bachelors and Masters in Exceptional Student Education. Since I was a teenager I have had a passion for teaching students with special needs and dreamed of one day working in a classroom designed for students with Autism. I have taught one year in the public school system as a middle school resource science teacher. This is my first year as a full-time teacher in the Discovery 2 classroom. For the past two summers, I have filled in and worked in the Discovery Program, and have greatly enjoyed working alongside and getting to know my coworkers and the students. This opportunity is one that I know is from the Lord, and every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to be in this position. 

Sherrie Adams – Discovery Paraprofessional

I graduated from Lakeland Christian School, and I am so thankful for the teachers that made an impact on my life during that time. I have three children that have attended Lakeland Christian School since kindergarten. My family attends Kathleen Baptist Church. I have always loved working with children with special needs. I am so happy to be a part of the Discovery Program. The students are a blessing, and I love working with people who are not only my co-workers, but also my best friends. I love being around people who love, pray, and challenge me spiritually.

Becky Aldridge – Discovery Paraprofessional

I am a parent of two LCS graduates, and my husband attended LCS from the time he was in third grade until he graduated in 1985.  I began working at LCS in 2007 in Special Programs and moved to the Discovery Program in 2011.  I love knowing that I get to be a part of helping each child’s world come alive every day as they learn to communicate and function in the world around them.  Even more than that, it is a special event each day to watch them during worship time and as they learn to know who God is and how much He loves them.  “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God."  Luke 18: 16

Erica Beale – Discovery Paraprofessional

I am a wife and a mother to two very active sons. I work in the Discovery Program as a floating Paraprofessional. I am a graduate of LCS (Class of 1999). I was away from LCS for 13 years before coming back as a staff member and serving in Student Services for four years as an Administrative Assistant. I have since joined the Discovery team where daily I minister to the families and children within the unit. I have a deep love for everything LCS, I greatly enjoy the atmosphere and the people here are the best. I find Psalm 127:3 to be such an awesome verse in reference to children and their importance in life. “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” May we always remember that each and every child is a gift from the Lord regardless of their differences. 

Field Trips/Special Events

The Discovery students go to the Dollar General on a weekly basis. They also have opportunities for reverse inclusion with 5th-grade buddies on a monthly basis to build social skills and to develop language through peer interaction.  The students have regularly scheduled annual field trips to the pumpkin patch, grandma’s huggin’ farm, strawberry fields (for strawberry picking), bowling, and the Florida Aquarium.

The students rehearse and perform a Christmas program for all of the elementary students at LCS.

Here is a video from the 2014 Christmas Program:

Annual Schedule

The Discovery Program coincides with the LCS school calendar with a few exceptions.  In addition to the standard school year, the Discovery Program tuition includes an extended school year program.  This ESY program is 6-7 weeks, ½ day and is an extension of the academic year with many interactive, fun activities and field trips for the students.

Discovery Program Hours

School Hours:

8:05 AM to 2:15 PM

Summer Hours:

9:00 AM to 12:30 PM