Merit Academy, a 501(c)3, not-for-profit school was founded by Charity Purcell, the current President and Director of the school in February, 2009. She was the Director of a local for-profit school that served similar children for 5 years prior to establishing Merit Academy. Many parents were suffering from the recession and/or were not happy with the new direction of the school their children were in and asked Charity to open a new school. To better accommodate those families’ with financial needs, she decided to open a non-profit school that was tuition based but could also raise funds and offer scholarships for local students whose families’ could no longer afford a private school program.
Merit Academy kicked off its grand opening in June 2009 in Coppell, TX with a Summer Camp. Despite their big plans in their new home, the facility they leased from could not build fast enough for their growth, so they were forced to move and sub-lease space from Central Park Baptist Church in Carrollton, TX in August of 2009. With 7 students and big dreams they found their roots in this huge facility. A substantial grant from the Communities Foundation in Dallas was also helpful in securing the location. Although the school is not affiliated with the church, Central Park Baptist Church was willing to help in any way possible. They shared their bus so MA students could go on field trips and allowed staff and students full access to every amenity.
Merit Academy started with 7 students ranging from ages 5-10 years old and had 4 teachers. Every year it grew at a steady pace with no marketing, as there was no budget for that. They grew with referrals from existing parents, doctors, and therapists, which spoke volumes in the community. Two years later, they had approximately 20 students, ranging from ages 5-13, again with little to no marketing.
Fast forward to 2012, three years later; Charity Purcell is still the Director and President today, but there are 8 more teachers and staff now as well as contracted therapists and diagnosticians. There are approximately 30 students enrolled. Summer Camps are still in session every summer with 10-20 students ranging from ages 5-13 years old.
The launching of this new website will be the biggest marketing endeavor as of yet, and Merit anticipates growing even faster. That is why it is launching a new building campaign that hopes to raise $2 million dollars to build a new facility with a sensory gym, library, science center, and appropriate assistive technology for every student. We hope by August 2013 to be in our new building continuing to serve our students, their families, and the community.