The growth in the number of children with developmental delays and autism at MGLC have presented new challenges which the staff quickly turned into service opportunities. The teachers are attending training sessions with the Alabama State Dept. of Education and the Regional Autism Network (RAN) at Auburn University. Dr. Doris Hill, Director of the Auburn University RAN has stated that MGLC will be responding to a real need in Dallas County where early intervention is needed and would be extremely valuable to the city and county. Because of this new programming demand and that of its traditional enrollment, MGLC began a search and negotiation for a new and larger facility in late 2018.
The most consistent feedback from staff and parents over 10 years was that MGLC needed a safer facility. Unrelenting deterioration at 2601 Marie Foster Street – major roof leaks, an electrical fire and major plumbing leak leaks, among other issues – forced the Board to solicit over $20,000 a year for repairs instead of investing in teacher training and enrichment-programs for the children.
Since 2018, MGLC has raised $450,00 to renovate a donated 37,765 square foot school building that includes 18 classrooms, offices, a library, and an auditorium-cafeteria. This building will allow us to serve 200 children and, with the increase in tuition, invest in a Special Education teacher and teacher training and launch a program for children with developmental delays and/or autism.
The Director is planning to open in the New McRae-Gaines Learning Center in August, 2021!
The mission of McRae-Gaines Learning Center is to give our students the opportunity to benefit from receiving an excellent education “from the least to the greatest.”
The McRae-Gaines Learning Center, Inc. has been part of the community of Selma, Alabama since the 1970s. Though the Learning Center began as a private school founded to serve as an alternative to the public school system primarily for African-American children, over the years it has evolved and serves both bi-racial children and children of other ethnicities. McRae-Gaines Learning Center has educated several thousand of children in this community for almost 38 years assisting those children in realizing their potential by utilizing a non-traditional approach to educate them.
Furthermore, the founders of the McRae-Gaines Learning Center envisioned a day-care center and pre-school that would give children of color and low-income children an advantage when they entered the public school system. They realized that the money a person earns should not determine the quality of education that his or her children receive. Their premise was that if we begin to teach children the alphabet, numbers and recognition of shapes and colors, and small words at an earlier age the children would begin to read and reason earlier. Thus, they will have an equal chance to keep-up and even surpass children from more advantaged environments. The school began with only a handful of students but is now certified to educate 165 children. Currently enrollment is 112 children between the ages of 18 months and eight years-old.
The goals of the McRae-Gaines Learning Center are very basic but always evolving:
1. To educate pre-school and elementary school age children holistically, by utilizing social skills, family, religion, the arts and academics;
2. To teach young students discipline and instill in them the desire to strive for excellence through a curriculum that builds self-esteem;
3. To continually expose young students to the arts, science and history by utilizing local artists, writers, performers, business and industry leaders, scientists and historical figures to teach them about the opportunities available to them;
4. To make sure that the first school experience for our students is one of academic excellence, but filled with fun, love and exploration;
5. To offer more innovative educational programs to our students that will keep them on the cutting-edge; and
6. To offer our teachers the opportunity to get further education through programs at local colleges and community programs.
The McRae-Gaines Learning Center partners with the Wallace Community College in Selma to provide single and low-income parents with affordable child care. It is also a certified provider of child-care and pre-school programming for the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources.
Graduates from McRae-Gaines have continued their educations in local public and private school and have gone on to colleges and universities throughout the United States. Today they serve their communities as teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects, community developers, and government officials to name a few professions.
Review from Guidestar