About Raphael Academy

Raphael Academy student colors with teacher

About Raphael Academy


Our mission is to meet our students and their families with reverence and compassion; and to educate them wholly, awakening their full potential as unique individuals, so that they may be actively involved in life and engaged in community.


In 2011, Raphael Academy began as a summer program for special needs students. By the fall of 2012, the school opened with five students ages twelve to twenty. The school quickly grew into a state-licensed, private school that now offers classes to students enrolled in Kindergarten through the twelfth grade. Due to the large span of ages in the first class, The Guild was founded in 2013 for adults ages eighteen and older. The Guild was created to provide post-secondary education for adults with disabilities including vocational and life-skills training, social opportunity, and self-expression through the arts.

In December of 2016, the board of directors announced the founding of Raphael Village, which combines Raphael Academy, The Guild, and a future residential program, The Hearth. Raphael Village is an affiliate member of the Camphill Association of North America . Camphill is an international movement of intentional communities designed to meet the needs of children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities through a combination of community life, the arts, vocational training, and sustainable gardening.

Anti-Racism Statement

Please read our letter on anti-racism at Raphael Academy.

June 22, 2020

Dear Members of the Raphael Village Community,

The events of the past few weeks have shone a bright light on the systemic racism that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) experience in our country.

From increased morbidity and mortality rates experienced by these communities and highlighted by the coronavirus outbreak, to the brutal, public killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we are being asked to finally be brave enough to recognize the inequitable and unjust nature of our systems. We are being asked to proactively work against injustice. We are being asked to recognize that we are not yet the land of freedom and equality—we are a work in progress, and there is much work to be done.

Raphael Village stands in solidarity with all those protesting and organizing for just and equitable treatment of BIPOC everywhere, and we affirm that Black lives matter. As educators, we recognize that we have a responsibility to teach and advocate anti-racism.

We are committed to continued anti-racism and racial reconciliation education for all of our leadership, faculty, and staff, and open to members of our community. We are also committed to looking at our practices and policies—and listening to voices outside of our own—to continuously assess where we need to make changes to support the creation of a truly diverse community where ALL feel welcome and can participate. This includes looking at ways to more actively financially support families of color interested in our programs but with limited financial means.

Raphael Village Board of Directors

“We enrolled our daughter, Sadie, in Raphael Academy three years ago. Sadie has Autism and was struggling in school. The small class size and individualized lesson plans have made her thrive and enjoy learning. The teachers and staff at Raphael Academy understand each student’s special needs are different and take the time to help them succeed.”

—Margo and Bates Whiteside

Nola Family: Family Favorite 2017
Nola Family: Family Favorite 2018
Nola Family: Family Favorite 2019

Raphael Academy was chosen as the ‘Best Special Needs School’ ​for three years in a row!

Student Profile

Raphael Academy is a private school for children who may have been in other private or public schools, but would benefit from a more practice-oriented, adapted Waldorf curriculum. Review our student profile to see if Raphael Academy is the right choice for your child’s educational needs.

All Grades (1st–12th)

Raphael Academy’s classrooms provide a teacher and an assistant, but cannot provide one-on-one assistance to children who need individual full-time academic or social inclusion assistance. In order to provide a positive learning environment, Raphael Academy cannot accept children who are physically aggressive (hitting, biting, kicking, slapping, spitting, cursing, self-injurious behavior, etc.) towards other students or staff or who may threaten the safety and security of others.

Individual aides (shadows) for academic or medical support may be considered on a case-by-case basis up until the student enters the sixth grade. All fees associated with an aide are the responsibility of the family. Please know we are not able to accommodate students who require shadows due to behavioral issues that would distract from classroom instruction or the safety of our faculty and students. All aides must be interviewed and approved by Raphael Academy and provide a recent background check or submit to a background check as part of our licensing requirements.

Raphael Academy accepts children who have independent toileting skills and do not require assistance going to the bathroom. Raphael Academy does not have a school nurse on staff.

Raphael Academy students sit together on an outdoor bench, waving


Children applying to our Kindergarten class should be working towards becoming independently toilet trained by six years of age as part of first grade readiness. Families will be asked to commit to working on independent toileting skills at home as part of their child’s IEP goals. Independent toilet training is a prerequisite to move up to the first grade at Raphael Academy.

Learn More about Raphael Academy

Raphael Academy student reads at his desk


Raphael Academy uses a Waldorf-inspired curriculum for students who need a more practice oriented approach to academics.

Early Grades student holds a kickball and smiles


Raphael Academy is currently accepting applications for the 2020–2021 school year.

Raphael Academy student and teacher play with shaving cream on the desk


Read our FAQ for more information on common questions about Raphael Academy.

Learn More About Raphael Village from Our WDSU Feature


Please contact Emilia at 504-524-5955 or [email protected] to learn more about our current openings.

Raphael Academy is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnic origin, or disability.