Founded in 2019, Rockwood Preparatory Academy is an Arizona private school like no other. That’s because Rockwood Prep is not a traditional public school. Instead, we go beyond the norm to provide at-risk children with learning disabilities a safe place to land… and learn.
Our high-performing school offers alternative learning, ABA, PT/OT, and speech therapies. Also, we help families with special needs children to navigate the financial and regulatory maze that they often face.
Additionally, Rockwood Prep children (affectionately known as Rockers) are immersed in other learning modalities like cooking classes, engineering classes, karate, and our Happy Campers Summer Camp, plus other My Turn® programs and alternative learning classes.
Our greatest accomplishment is reading the many letters and emails from students and parents thanking us for making a difference in their lives.
What We Do
Rockwood Preparatory Academy provides education and therapies to all levels within our special needs community. Our responsibility not only lies with our students but is also extended to all individuals with learning disabilities and developmental delayed attributes. That’s why we make available to the special needs community, critical therapies, social and behavioral skills groups, and other enriching activities.
Our signature My Turn® programs and modalities greatly enhance the overall development of children with special needs in a positive, joyful environment. We like to say that we turn impossibilities into possibilities!
Students, ages 3-18 attending Rockwood Prep spend part of their day setting and achieving academic goals, while learning how to adapt and thrive with their unique set of social, behavioral, and educational challenges. The second part of the school day includes fun and innovative activities and therapies with tangible wins and successes.
What Sets Us Apart
- Small Class Size
- Individualized Curriculum
- Dyslexia Reading Specialists
- Class Placement by Ability
- Integrative, Therapy-Based Enrichment Electives
- Social Skills Group / Leader in Training Program
- Peer Mentoring Group
- Flexible Transportation Assistance
- Invested Teachers and Mentors
Our mission is to create a standard of excellence in education, therapies, family support and advocacy for our learning-disabled students and to offer innovative strategies and programs to the special needs community.
We see ourselves as the go-to epicenter of educational, therapeutic, and community resources for families and individuals living with special needs. The future of children with disabilities must change to better provide inclusiveness, advocacy, educational support, and work transition success. Our vision is to coach, mentor, and assist these remarkable children so that they grow into thriving, functioning, and fulfilled adult community members.
Student Comes First!
Our belief is that every child can, and wants to, learn. Our role is to give them the right educational tools, mentorship, and relevant teaching strategies.
Courage and Integrity
The curriculum at Rockwood incorporates character development to give students the courage to stand up, speak up, and do the right thing.
Diversity, Creativity, and Independence
Our philosophy is that we, as teachers and educators, must never stop learning, growing, and innovating. We owe it to our students to consistently deliver teaching opportunities that help them understand the value of diversity, creativity, and independence.
Community Advocacy and Awareness
We can’t do this alone. That’s why we strive to build relationships with our neighbors and in the business community. These children need, and deserve, your acceptance and support.
Most children with special needs feel alone, when all they really want is to be included. They may speak differently, process information differently, and may look different. At Rockwood Prep, we look for every opportunity to help our students experience integration and inclusion in every day, mainstream activities through extra services like speech, physical, and occupational therapies.
Parent School Partnership for Success
We recognize the pivotal role that a family plays in their child’s academic and social development. That’s why we consistently inform and engage parents in the learning process of their child.
Professionalism and Credentialed Employees
Our teachers and educators have degrees and select credentials in the following areas: educational assessments, inclusive schooling, differentiating instruction, data-based decision-making and positive behavior supports, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, speech/ language impairments and moderate to severe disabilities.
Why Parents Trust Us
Rockwood Prep parents know that we base the successful education of their learning-disabled child on not only a plan, but with real mentorship, and on these important pillars. They are Transparency, Respect, Trust, and Communication.
We believe in, and embrace, a culture of transparency. Some personnel issues, student privacy issues, medical situations, and security issues must remain confidential by law, otherwise, our offices, phones, and records are always open.
We teach, and practice, respect for our students, their families, and each other. Collaboratively, we choose to further a “respectful learning environment” at Rockwood Prep.
Trust is a core value at our school. We grow trust among our children, parents, and each other by adhering to complete honesty in our communications and actions.
Using active listening as our guiding light, we create a safe and supportive place for expressing thoughts and ideas.
Our Rockstar Leadership
MARCI GABRIEL, FOUNDER AND CEO ROCKWOOD PREPARATORY ACADEMY
From her comprehensive construction career of building charter schools to c-level financial administration, Marci Gabriel’s personal and professional life have been dedicated to serving her community.
Ms. Gabriel founded Rockwood Preparatory Academy in early 2019, after having a heart-to-heart discussion with a dear friend about her ongoing struggle to find a school that put her developmentally delayed daughter before numbers, tests, and “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentalities.
Ms. Gabriel was so moved by her friend’s plight that she started researching and found, to her dismay, that there were no alternative schools for children with special needs and learning disabilities. She knew then that her life was about to change forever.
After three years of hard work and research, investors were lined up, and her plan was realized. A new Arizona private school called Rockwood Preparatory Academy, opened its doors to serve the underserved learning disabled children in this community. Currently, Marci is the CEO of this fast-growing educational initiative that includes innovative dyslexia tutoring, peer mentoring, and active learning modalities like farm-to-table cooking.
She lives in Queen Creek, Arizona with the love of her life, her daughter, Ashlyn.
RACHEL MEYERS, ABA DIRECTOR
Rachel Meyers brings exciting expertise in both Applied Behavior Analysis and Administration. Her responsibilities at Rockwood Prep include the ongoing training and mentoring of the school’s Behavioral Tech Team as well as the continued development and build-out of the specialized behavior program for children and teens.
Ms. Meyers was named as a MVP for her record-setting home run hits while attending Phoenix College. She harnesses that same all-star attitude and skillset when working with children with Autism.
Ms. Meyers obtained a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Grand Canyon University. Prior to joining Rockwood Prep, Ms. Meyers worked as a highly sought-after Behavior Technician.
SONJA PARKIN DENSLEY, ACADEMIC DIRECTOR
KARRI MASENGALE, DDD/HR
PAM MILLER, BILLING
JENNIFER HUFFMAN, BOARD CERTIFIED BEHAVIOR ANALYST
MANNY AYON, LEADER IN TRAINING | TEAM MENTOR
AMI BISSON, REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN
KAYLESE PRICHETT, REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN
ANDY KOWALLEK, BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
PAIGE QUEEN, BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
DEMARA BLEDSOE, BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
TAYLOR SIBLEY, BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
ELISE OLSEN, BEHAVIOR THERAPIST
ERICA MCENTIRE, SUMMER CAMP ASSISTANT
LOGAN PARKIN, JR. CAMP ASSISTANT
CALEB BIGELOW, JR. CAMP ASSISTANT
Our Staff Standard of Excellence
Teachers | Educators
Lead teachers are highly qualified with years of classroom experience and/or varying levels of degrees and SPED certifications. Teachers are provided ongoing training from our leadership team as Dyslexia and Behavioral training by certified and accredited BCBA.
Instructional Classroom Aides
Instructional aides are trained in the principals of Applied Behavior Analysis and are presented with formal training from our Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). They are trained in the areas of classroom management, appropriate behavior support and child development/psychology.
All staff are required to have a Level 1 background check, Article 9 training, and CPR First Aid Certificate. ALL staff are required to participate in on-going development and leadership training that they chose depending upon their career goal