Starting in early April, Atlanta special-needs school, Cumberland Academy of Georgia, will open a new “living laboratory”, this new classroom will provide a facility where students can learn independent living skills.
One of the primary goals for administrators and teachers at Atlanta special-needs school, Cumberland Academy of Georgia, is to help students grow into confident, independent and productive members of society. Beginning next month, Cumberland will take the next step in preparing students to be successful in an adult world. The school will open a new facility designed to teach students skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and dorm style living in the schools new “living laboratory” .

“While our academic programs are the core of education at Cumberland, in preparing our students for college or career, they need to be prepared to live independently. We want our students to be prepared to be self sufficient upon graduation and living skills such as cooking, cleaning up the kitchen, doing the laundry and making beds are very important life skills,” explained Debbi Scarborough, headmaster and founding director of Cumberland Academy of Georgia.

Over the past year, a former commercial kitchen has been totally renovated to fulfill its new purpose. New kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave, have been installed. Laundry equipment (washer and dryer) and a 3-piece bathroom have also been incorporated into the new space. What was an archaic, non-functional commercial kitchen now resembles a college dorm room and residential kitchen.

“We have received donations from corporations that included architecture, new appliances and painting. Cumberland is so grateful to our partners for their support of our students, and our students are so excited to expand their knowledge in a beautiful new space.” noted Scarborough.

Once the living laboratory is in full operation, students will be regularly cooking and cleaning in the space, and even spending an occasional night there under adult supervision for a college dorm-style experience. “There aren’t a lot of schools with laboratories like this, and we are thrilled to be able to offer such a beneficial educational program to our students,” Scarborough said. “The kids couldn’t be more excited about it. They love the new kitchen and can’t wait to get in there and start reading the recipes and measuring ingredients.”

Ultimately, the living laboratory will allow Cumberland students to get a taste of what it will be like to live on their own. “We’ll have staff members on hand to supervise them, so that while they’re learning these life skills, they’ll be in a safe environment,” Scarborough said. “Really, what we’re hoping to accomplish with the living laboratory is to prepare our students for the future, so that when the time comes, the transition into college life or living in their own apartments will be seamless.”

About Cumberland Academy of Georgia:
Cumberland Academy of Georgia specializes in the needs of students in grades 4 through 12 who have high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities. Cumberland was founded in 2007 by Debbi and Matthew Scarborough, and is a fully-accredited, independent, non-profit school that seeks to provide a safe and supportive academic atmosphere for its students. Cumberland accepts applications year-round. To schedule a family tour, please contact Terri Brooks, director of admissions, at 404-835-9000, or