Our History

The Community School was started by Executive Administrative Director Dave Nelson in an effort to develop a program that could meet the needs of his own adolescent son, who had always struggled socially and academically in school.  Dave was convinced that autistic students or those who face similar issues could be better served by a small, individualized program that focused specifically on strengthening core developmental capacities.

…that autistic students or those who face similar issues could be better served by a small, individualized program that focused specifically on strengthening core developmental capacities.

After five years of operation solely as a school, the staff realized that there was a clear and growing need in the arena of young adult support.  While many students in the Atlanta community could complete school in some fashion, life after high school often seemed bleak and isolating.  TCS’s work with young adults arose out of a desire to provide an extended learning environment and supportive community that helped young adults more successfully transition into a meaningful, connected adulthood.

…a desire to provide an extended learning environment and supportive community that helped young adults more successfully transition into a meaningful, connected adulthood.

The Community School is one of only a handful of programs in the country that has explicitly embraced Stanley Greenspan’s DIR model as the foundation of its approach. We believe that healthy social-emotional development is the key to success in the social realm, the academic realm, and in the “real world.”

Since 2005, TCS has grown from serving seven students to serving more than 25 participants comprehensively each year. Our highly individualized programming requires a student to teacher ratio of about 2:1. To that end, the staff has grown as well; TCS began with a clinical staff of four individuals, with no administrative support. Today, TCS employs a highly professional staff of 21 people, including educators, counselors, administrative staff, and counseling interns.

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