Raphael Academy student draws a diagram


Raphael Village FAQs

What is Raphael Village?

Raphael Academy began in spring of 2012 as an after school program for middle school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, and other intellectual differences. Over time our program offerings have expanded to include a Transition Program for students in grades 9-12, and an adult day program. The Guild was established in 2013 to provide post-secondary education and vocational training opportunities to young adults. In 2016, Raphael Village was created to reflect our vision of providing an all-encompassing community for differently-abled people throughout all stages of life.

What makes Raphael Village unique compared to other programs for differently-abled people in New Orleans?

Raphael Village offers New Orleans’ only Curative, Waldorf-inspired high school: Raphael Academy. We are also the only Affiliate Member of the Camphill Association of North America in the Southeast region of the United States.The Camphill Movement, founded by Karl König in 1940, is a worldwide fellowship of people and places whose work includes establishing and maintaining healing and socially supportive environments based on Anthroposophy. Raphael Village provides differently-abled people of all ages with the educational, vocational, and personal support they need to lead joyful, engaged lives in the New Orleans community and beyond.

What is Camphill?

As a community-oriented educational and social movement, Camphill communities have devoted over 80 years to nurturing the personal, spiritual, and professional abilities of people of all ages with and without intellectual disabilities. With over 100 Camphill initiatives worldwide, Raphael Village is proud to be the first and only Affiliate Member of the Camphill Association of North America in the Southeast region of the United States.

What are the three programs of Raphael Village?

Raphael Academy (our private school offering a Transition Program for students in grades 9-12), The Guild (our adult day program for young adults), and The Hearth (our future life-sharing community) are the three main programs that make up Raphael Village.

Why is Raphael Village divided into three programs?

The division allows each program’s faculty and staff members to focus on the specific learning and social needs of differently-abled people throughout different stages of their lives. All three programs work together to make Raphael Village a comprehensive, caring, and vibrant community for our students and members.

Does Raphael Village have a residential program?

The Hearth is Raphael Village’s future life-sharing community and is in the preliminary planning phase of its development. To date, we have secured three vacant lots where we plan to build family-style homes for differently-abled people to live semi-independently with caregivers.

Do you accept volunteers?

Yes, we accept volunteers for Raphael Academy, The Guild, and our various fundraising events. To learn more, visit our Volunteer page.

Raphael Academy FAQs

What is Raphael Academy’s approach to education?

Our Waldorf-inspired curriculum, paired with Curative educational interventions, ensures that each student’s education is compatible with their own intellectual, spiritual, and physical development. Our mission is to meet our students with reverence and compassion so that we may discover each student’s unique challenges and capacities in order to offer an individualized approach to learning.

What is Waldorf education?

Designed by educational philosopher Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education offers students of all ages a hands-on, experiential-based education that is comprehensive and appropriate for each student’s individual skills and abilities.

What is Curative education?

Curative education is an extension of the Waldorf approach that incorporates techniques such as movement, drawing, and painting exercises to help children with difficulties in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

How is a school day at Raphael Academy structured?

Students are individually welcomed by the class teacher at the start of each day. Curative movement (composed of rhythmic clapping, stomping, and bean bag tossing) song, and recitation invite students to engage with their senses in order to prepare their bodies and minds for independent learning, deepened attention, and increased self-regulation.

Following these opening activities, students receive academic instruction through both the Main Lesson and individualized Ability Groups, which reinforce math and literacy skills for each student at their own level. Following lunch, students attend specialty classes, which include music therapy, handwork, movement, and gardening in addition to other focused areas of academic instruction.

Our small class sizes allow teachers to respond to the specific needs of each student, bringing observation and love to the forefront of our educational practices.

What is the Main Lesson?

The Main Lesson is an integral part of the Waldorf curriculum; it is the key theme or subject that a class explores over the course of a few weeks. These topics, such as History, Science and Mathematics to name a few, are taught in blocks averaging 3 to 4 weeks. Instead of working off of a textbook, students create their own Main Lesson books from the content presented by the class teacher. This hands-on approach to learning encourages both intention and creativity. These creative, curriculum-rich books and other artistic expressions such as painting or modeling, become the culmination of all students have learned, in depth, throughout the year. The books serve as both learning tools and documentation of the work learned.

Why is art an integral part of the adapted Waldorf curriculum used at Raphael Academy?

At Raphael Academy, we see arts education as a vital aspect of our goal to educate the whole child in mind, body, and spirit. Music, art, and dance allow human cultures to shape their histories, identities, and philosophies. Further, scientific research over the past two decades has demonstrated that a child’s consistent engagement with art and music practices correlate to the positive development of key neurological pathways that inform their creative capacities, as well as their language and math comprehension.

As a Waldorf-inspired Curative school, our sensory-rich, hands-on and experiential approach to education allows our students to remain actively engaged in learning throughout the school day. Activities such as painting, weaving, music-making, dance, and cross stitching help our students to gain necessary tactile and creative skills that will help them live more independent and confident lives in their communities.

What is Raphael Academy’s student profile?

Our student body is made up of teens who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, or other intellectual disabilities. Our students typically have specific developmental needs that require more patience, compassion, expertise, and individualized attention, which our small class sizes allow us to offer. Please click here for a more detailed description of our Student Profile.

Is Raphael Academy an inclusive school?

Raphael Academy is not an inclusive school. Often, inclusive schools are seen as the right choice for children with physical or intellectual differences because parents want to see their child thrive in a “normal” school environment. However, inclusive schools often cannot properly meet the specific needs of their students with accommodation requirements, causing them to fall behind in their studies. Raphael Academy is dedicated to providing individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities a holistic learning environment.

Do your students receive a high school diploma upon graduation?

Raphael Academy students do not receive a high school diploma upon graduation. Our holistic curriculum and personalized learning objectives support and address each of our students’ unique developmental needs—a traditional high school diploma is not an appropriate measure of the education that our students need and receive. Our students instead receive a Certificate of Completion and are celebrated with a special cap and gown ceremony with friends and family gathered.

What are the tuition and fees for attending Raphael Academy?

Tuition varies depending on which classroom a child enrolls into. Please click here to review our tuition and fee schedule.

What is your student-to-teacher ratio?

Our ideal classroom size maintains a 7:2 student-to-teacher/assistant ratio. Class size may vary depending on the particular composition and needs of a given class. We are happy to offer small class sizes that allow our amazing teachers and paraprofessionals to work one-on-one with our students and help them thrive both in the classroom and the outside world.

When can we apply for Raphael Academy?

Raphael Academy offers rolling admissions. We encourage you to visit our admissions overview page to learn more about our application process.

The Guild FAQs

What is The Guild at Raphael Village?

Established in 2013, The Guild offers post-secondary education, as well as vocational and artist guild training for young adults (18 years of age or older) who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, or other intellectual differences. Our day program also focuses on the continued development of life skills for greater independence both at home and in the community.

What is The Guild’s Member Profile?

Guild members are individuals who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, or other intellectual disabilities. Potential members should be comfortable with participating in both team-based and individual tasks and activities. Potential members and families should also be comfortable with members participating in activities and tasks outside of The Guild’s main facilities. Please click here for a more detailed description of our Guild Member Profile.

What post-secondary education does The Guild offer?

The Guild offers continued academics that focus on skills needed for greater independence and personal enrichment, such as money and time management, resume writing, book clubs, and creative writing. The post-secondary education program is tailored to the individual ability level and interests of each Guild member.

What life skills programming does The Guild offer?

Embedded in our program is the ongoing strengthening of daily life skills, including housekeeping, wellness and self-care, social and human relationship skills, healthy cooking and baking, and goal-setting.

What vocational training does The Guild offer?

Our unpaid vocational training internships prepare our members for the workforce through continued discovery and development of individualized interests and skill sets. Members that participate in these internships gain real-world work experience that will help develop their individual portfolio of skills needed to secure future employment within the community.

What does artist guild training look like?

The Guild’s artist training gives our members an outlet for creative expression and the ability to develop skills required to pursue work in various creative fields. Members have the choice to participate in the Fiber Studio (a weavery), weekly multi-media arts instruction, and a ceramics program in partnership with YAYA.

What are the costs and fees for The Guild?

Click here to review the Program Fee Schedule for The Guild. Please note that we accept both private pay and Medicaid payment options.

Does The Guild accept Medicaid Waiver recipients?

The Guild is a licensed Medicaid provider that accepts the NOW, ROW and Supports Waivers. Oftentimes we have a waitlist for waiver recipients. Individuals interested in placing their name on our waitlist should contact the Enrollment Director at [email protected] or by calling 504-482-0058.​

When can we apply for The Guild?

We receive applications for The Guild on a rolling basis. We encourage you to visit our admissions overview page to learn more about our application process.

The Hearth FAQs

What is “life-sharing”?

In the Camphill Movement, life-sharing describes the practice of individuals with and without disabilities living daily life together in shared residential and community spaces. Typically, residential homes in life-sharing communities include experienced household managers, volunteer care providers, and residents with disabilities living and working together. All members of a life-sharing community cultivate caring, mutually beneficial residential and social environments through shared daily work in both the home and the community.

How will The Hearth incorporate the Camphill movement’s concept of life-sharing?

The Hearth will be an integrated residential living community for differently-abled people and their peers to live alongside one another, gain greater independence, and receive daily, loving support from live-in caregivers and the greater Raphael Village community. As an Affiliate Member of the Camphill Association of North America , life-sharing is at the core of Raphael Village’s vision and mission; The Hearth is how we plan to bring that vision to life. Please click here to learn more about The Hearth.

When will The Hearth be active?

We plan for The Hearth to be an active residential program by 2026.

Where will The Hearth be located?

The Hearth will be located in the Irish Channel and other surrounding neighborhoods in Uptown, New Orleans.