The Atlantis Academy Coral Springs private school was recently recognized for its special education program, as it was named Education Provider of the Year by the Broward County Advisory Board for Individuals with Disabilities.

Atlantis Academy, owned and operated by the Tennessee-based firm Educational Services of America, opened in 2003 with about 60 students and has since grown to more than 100 children in kindergarten through 12th grade, said Carla Nichols, the center’s director.

“We keep our class sizes smaller, and we evaluate students’ needs and performance at their previous schools and devise interventions and alternatives to meet their needs,” Nichols said. “We also do a lot of hands-on activities as opposed to just written tests.”

Shawn Steele graduated in 2011 after completing his high school education at Atlantis. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Steele enrolled in ninth grade. A technical wizard who built his own home computer and helped build some computers used at Atlantis, Steele said he benefited from his teachers’ willingness to assist him when he expressed interest in a high-tech career.

“This is by far the best school I’ve ever been in. When I told them I was interested in applying to ITT Technical School’s computer program, they obtained some of their curriculum materials and gave me special homework assignments and exams to prepare me. They gave me the extra materials and help I needed,” said Steele, who was accepted into a master’s-level computer sciences program at ITT.