McKay Academic Center


McKay Academic Center

Maximizing Students’ God-Given Potential for Greater Academic Success

Support. Connect. Engage. Challenge. Inspire. Those are just a few words that describe what happens in the McKay Academic Center. As a college preparatory school with high academic standards, Dunham serves students who are capable of performing advanced academic work. We understand that each student learns differently and believe those differences should be honored in the classroom. We also recognize that some students will need services beyond those provided in the traditional classroom.

We've designed the McKay Academic Center for Excellence (MAC) as a place where students who learn differently can receive the support they need to succeed academically, whether that need is for accommodations and services designed to help a student keep pace in the traditional college preparatory classroom or through a specialized classroom environment for the student with more specific academic needs. The MAC is not a separate entity from The Dunham School but is an integral part of our school community. Our entire faculty and staff—division heads, teachers, reading specialists, and tutors—work together to help our students maximize their God-given potential for greater academic success.

McKay Academic Center

Our Services

Please use the links below to learn more about the services offered through the McKay Academic Center. For more information about any of these services, please contact the McKay Academic Center at 225-767-7097 ext. 307. We welcome your questions and would be happy to explain our services in greater detail.


Second through sixth grade students may participate in Homework Helpers, an after-school program that provides a quiet place to complete homework, monitored by a proctor who helps students stay on task and offers reasonable assistance with assignments.

The Mac offers tutoring services for students who need additional academic support to be successful in their college preparatory coursework. For some of our students this means subject specific tutoring, while for others, it involves assistance with organization and time management. Tutors act as academic coaches for many students by developing weekly plans for homework completion, setting academic goals, monitoring progress, and addressing study skill needs. Tutors communicate with parents on a regular basis, typically every two weeks or more frequently if necessary.

Reading specialists, including academic language therapists and dyslexia tutors, work with students diagnosed with dyslexia, as well as students without a diagnosis who struggle with reading and spelling skills. Explicit instruction is provided through an Orton-Gillingham approach, a multi-sensory instructional method proven effective for learners with difficulties in reading, spelling, and writing.

Individual and small group courses, also referred to as MAC classes, are available for students who need consistent and in-depth help to successfully complete our college preparatory program. These classes follow the school's curriculum but allow for different pacing and instruction methods to maximize student success and achievement.

The McKay Academic Center for Excellence offers a limited number of compensation classes for students who require a more comprehensive, specialized classroom environment due to specific learning differences such as high-functioning autism, sensory integration disorders, language-based learning differences, and pervasive developmental delays.

Inclusion is an integral part of the compensation program. Every effort is made to move students toward increased participation in the traditional classroom. Based on progress, some students move from the compensation setting to the traditional classroom with appropriate MAC support as needed; other students continue to have most of their academic needs met in the compensation program.

Students' social, emotional, and adaptive skills are also developed through the following compensation program components:

  • Social skills class
  • Peer mentoring
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Sensory and behavioral strategies
  • Communication skill enhancement
  • Work ethic and independence development
  • Academic and life skills connections

Please note that the compensation program is small by design and may not accommodate all ages each year. Individual consultation with the Dunham Admissions Office and the staff of the McKay Academic Center are required to determine the possibility of enrollment.

Based on individual student needs, the MAC offers other academic support services, including out-of-class testing, shadowing, and classroom accommodations. For more information on these services, please contact Barbara Germany, Director of the McKay Academic Center.

"My teachers match instruction to my individualized needs so I can learn and be successful. I am confident because I know I'm smart, too."

- Dunham Upper School Student

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