In January 1971, founders Shirley Meredith and David Dunn, both special education teachers themselves, began the program with tutorial services for three part-time students. These much-needed services were soon expanded to include evaluations, tutoring, Saturday classes, and summer program. By 1978, a full day private school program was operational.
In 1980, Meredith-Dunn acquired the old Melbourne Heights School from Jefferson County Public Schools with a lease/purchase agreement for one year with the obligation to purchase the property at the end of the year. The building was, however, in a state of major disrepair, and with slim resources, restoration was undertaken only through the efforts of numerous volunteers. At its temporary completion, the program included 37 full time students, limited support services, and Meriday Preschool-an early childhood developmental program that provided preschool and extended daycare services.
A generous benefactor in 1982 purchased the school building and donated it to Meredith-Dunn School, with the understanding that the mortgage would be forgiven during the following ten years. This major contribution provided the springboard for growth and expansion of the instructional and support programs, and from that point forward, Meredith-Dunn School was truly on its way!
The positive impact of all the services provided by Meredith-Dunn School had long been recognized through its affiliation with Kentucky Association of Independent Schools and the Learning Disabilities Association of Kentucky. However, in order to gain national recognition as a quality institution, the staff and administration in 1995 began the comprehensive task of scrutinizing all aspects of the programs in order to qualify for full accreditation by the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS). The comprehensive self-study and accreditation process was completed by 1997 and at that time, Meredith-Dunn School was awarded full membership in ISACS, and subsequently in the Louisville Association of Independent Schools.
Meredith-Dunn School, a non-profit organization, presently serves students in grades 1-8 who have been identified as having specific learning disabilities and/or other learning differences. It is noteworthy that approximately only 10% of our population of learners would qualify as learning disabled under federal guidelines and be eligible for any special services in public schools. Since Meredith-Dunn receives no federal or state financial assistance, the program’s continued development must rely on tuition, grants, private donations, and fund-raising efforts.