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The Marshall School Gets to the Root of Students’ Learning Struggles

Feb 28, 2022 10:30PM ● By Emily Freehling

Virtual open houses give parents a chance to explore this unique K-12 school

Learning is a human skill that looks a little bit different for every individual. When children have learning differences that cause them to struggle in traditional school settings, they stand to benefit from an educational approach that targets the specific ways in which their brain processes information differently from others. This kind of customized experience exists in Spotsylvania County at The Marshall School.

The Marshall School focuses on helping children from kindergarten to 12th grade build the learning and thinking strategies needed for a lifetime of learning and real-world success. The school’s smaller environment and customized learning programs are good for all children and have been found to be particularly helpful for children diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing disorders, learning disabilities, and executive function disorders.

Director Christina Carson founded The Marshall School and its partner tutoring center, Learning Enhancement Centers, after becoming frustrated in her career as a public school special education teacher. She saw schools using Band-Aid approaches to pass children through grades while never addressing the underlying issues that were causing them to struggle with academics.

“Whereas the public schools accommodate and modify the activities for the student, we are trying to fix what is causing the problem in the first place,” Carson said. “We are trying to correct the problem, not just treat the symptom. If they can’t read, we aren’t just reading the material to them. We are identifying the specific breakdown that is interfering with their ability to read and working to improve that area. That is the most important thing that distinguishes us.”

Children do not need to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to enroll at The Marshall School; however, the school does not specialize in behavioral or emotional disorders.

“Creative, gifted, and struggling learners benefit from our teaching strategies, low student-teacher ratios, and individualized approach,” Carson said. “We are specially equipped to help students with brain processing and executive functioning struggles.”

Now is the time to think about the upcoming school year

February is an ideal time for parents to explore educational alternatives for their children for the 2022-23 school year. The Marshall School will be holding a series of virtual open-house events to give parents a chance to learn about what it offers.

Virtual open houses will take place:

  • Tuesday, February 1, at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 17, at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m.
Please visit to register and receive information on how to participate.

After attending an open house, parents will schedule a 15-minute intake call with school staff to talk specifically about their child’s needs and determine whether the school is a good fit.

Because The Marshall School’s approach is built around targeting the specific processing challenges that each child faces, one of the most important parts of exploring enrollment is the evaluation educators conduct. Carson created this evaluation over her many years of researching how brain-based training techniques can help children improve academic skills.

“We are looking at the whole person—their memory, attention, reasoning, how they think about what they see and hear, fine and gross motor skills, how their eyes are working,  and then the academics,” she said. “Our evaluation tells us exactly where the child is with brain processing and academic levels and gives us the information we need to craft a learning program that will serve those needs.”

Prospective students will be asked to come to the school in person for this evaluation. They will also get the opportunity to spend a portion of a day at the school with students so that families and school leaders can determine whether this customized environment is the right next step in the student’s educational journey.

To learn more, visit

Stay tuned to the Fredericksburg Parent Facebook and YouTube Channels for a video interview this month with School Director and Founder Christina Carson.

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