The new Centreville Layton School will be located on the Centreville School's 23-acre Kennett Pike campus

The Centreville School and Layton Preparatory School officially merged on Aug. 1, becoming the only independent school in the region to offer a comprehensive k-12 program for learning disabled students.

According to boards of directors of both schools, the merger was done in an effort to create a unified program to serve children with learning differences from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

The merged institution will be known as Centreville Layton School and will be located on the Centreville School’s 23-acre Kennett Pike campus.

With the merger, Centreville Layton is now the only independent school in Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania offering a comprehensive K-12 program for students with learning differences.

Barton Reese, currently head of Layton Prep, has been named head of Centreville Layton School. Deborah Maguire, currently acting head of Centreville, will become assistant head of the merged institution.

Founded in 1974 as the Delaware Learning Center, a formative play program for children with learning differences, the Centreville School gradually expanded into a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program and moved to its Kennett Pike location in 1984.

Layton Prep opened in 2005 with a class consisting primarily of ninth grade students and expanded to serve all high school grades. Originally located in the New Castle Corporate Commons, it moved onto the Centreville School campus in 2012.

The two schools enrolled 120 students during the 2013-14 school year; 85 at Centreville and 35 at Layton Prep. Students come from throughout New Castle County, Southeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas in Maryland and New Jersey.

According to Reese and Maguire, the merger was no surprise to members of the Layton and Centreville communities, since the boards of both schools had begun exploring ways of sharing resources about the same time as Layton moved onto the Centreville campus.

“Students can now benefit from a continuum of education on a single campus, with the elementary, middle and high school programs being able to draw on each other’s strengths to provide an exceptional overall experience. By combining resources, we will be able to do more,” said Paul F. McConnell, chairman of the Layton Prep board of trustees.

“The merger also provides both stability and sustainability for both programs and helps ensure that we will continue to serve as many children as possible for a long time,” said Edward Rosenthal, chairman of the Centreville School board of trustees.

The language, speech and occupational therapy services that are a part of the Centreville program will now be available to all students. The expansive campus also offers a variety of academic offerings, including Outdoor Classroom, garden, a stream and pond, and a barn with two goats, two ponies, two dwarf pigs and four sheep.

Having a pre-kindergarten through high school program housed on one campus will provide opportunities for cooperative learning for students of all ages across all three instructional levels, Maguire said. “We are creating a learning community not yet seen in Delaware; one that can serve students with learning difficulties from the start of their education through high school graduation,” he said.

Anyone seeking information about admissions or academic programs at Centreville Layton or the Learning Center may contact Reese at 302 655 3280 or Maguire at 302-571-0230. Or visit their new website at