Sadie’s Journey: Finding a Loving Community at Raphael Academy

Visit Raphael Academy on November 13 ~ 9:00 am to 11:00 am

November 3, 2021

Raphael Academy is a state-licensed K-12 school for students with exceptionalities. It is the only Waldorf-inspired school in New Orleans dedicated to understanding and nurturing the varied abilities of all students with special needs.

The mission is to meet students and their families with reverence and compassion; and to educate them wholly, awakening their full potential as unique individuals, so that they may be actively involved in life and engaged in community.

Raphael Academy will host an Open House on November 13th, 2021 from 9 am to 11 am.

To RSVP, please contact Enrollment Director, Matt Thekkethala, at or at (504) 524-5955. For more information, please visit

Sadie’s Journey: Finding a Loving Community at Raphael Academy

It can be challenging to find the right school environment for your child with exceptionalities. The quality of special education in inclusive classrooms varies from school to school, and more often than not, your child does not receive the individual attention they need to flourish. Inclusive schools struggle to meet the sensitive needs of these students and do not adequately prepare them for vibrant, productive adulthood.

Margo Whiteside faced this dilemma five years ago when her daughter Sadie had difficulties in school. “I tried to mainstream her until the third grade,” Margo explained, “and it just didn’t work for her. She was very overwhelmed.”

Sadie is highly attentive to detail, especially when it comes to geography -- just try quizzing her on U.S. states, capitals, and their flags. But neither her impeccable memory, nor her loving personality (she’s a hugger!) were getting nurtured in school.

Margo searched high and low for a school that would recognize Sadie’s gifts and ultimately found Raphael Academy, the only state-licensed, Waldorf-inspired, K-12 school in New Orleans dedicated to understanding and nurturing the varied abilities of all students with exceptionalities. Margo thought Sadie would benefit from the small class sizes (average 7:2 student-to-teacher ratio), as well as opportunities for multisensory learning. She also appreciated the faculty’s conscientious approach to the enrollment process. “They truly make sure they can help the student and that their approach would be a good fit for her.”

Sadie’s triumphant first day at Raphael Academy coincided with her tenth birthday. “Jackie, the Executive Director, got her a cake, and they made her feel so welcome. She’s been here ever since.”

Fast forward to 2021, and Sadie is 15, and she loves her classmates and her teacher, Ms. Megan. Thanks to one-on-one speech therapy, her difficulties with stuttering and blurting have significantly improved. She never gets bored with the dynamic Waldorf ‘block schedule,’ in which classes explore a specific theme or subject over the course of three to four weeks, such as History (e.g., The Renaissance), Science (e.g., electromagnetism), and Mathematics (e.g., fractions and percentages). One of the key aims of her Transition (high school) Class curriculum is to prepare for independent adult living and internships in community workplaces. The emphasis on building professional skills has inspired her to set goals for her future.

Ultimately, what Sadie loves most about Raphael Academy is what she realized on her first day, five years ago: “The thing she loves most is that she feels comfortable and accepted in this community. She’s very happy here. It’s helped her flourish.”

Margo wants all New Orleans parents to know that Raphael Academy’s small classes allow their devoted teachers to cater the learning environment to each child’s needs so that they may function more independently. Rather than trying to make students with exceptionalities conform to a traditional school structure, Raphael Academy’s curriculum is designed specifically for their growth and fulfillment.

If Raphael Academy sounds like an interesting prospect for your child’s education, you can stop by for our first Open House of the Fall 2021 semester on November 13th from 9 am to 11 am. This event will be an excellent opportunity to meet our teachers, explore our campus, and learn more about our Waldorf-inspired curriculum. If this date does not work for you, don’t fret! There will be multiple opportunities to check out our school for Open Houses and School Tours on:

●Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 (9:30 am to 11 am)

●Saturday, January 22nd, 2022 (9 am to 11 am)

●Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 (9:30 am to 11 am)

To RSVP, please contact our Enrollment Director, Matt Thekkethala, at or at (504) 524-5955. For more information, please visit our website at