Closing the Gap School dba The Gap School
5989 Approach Road
The GAP School is a non-profit, private K-12 school focused on individualized education and tolerance, helping children thrive in a small and emotionally supportive setting. 
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Robin Ahearn
Board Chair Jim Ahearn
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Organization DBA
The Gap School
Former Names
Closing The Gap School Inc
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2005
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt 0
State Registration 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $324,000.00
Projected Expenses $319,950.00
Impact Statement
currently in progress
Needs Statement
  • New building and furniture
  • Increased budget for teacher salaries
  • New technology and computer equipment 
  • Funding for updated curriculum,new classroom supplies, & transportation
  • Assistance with marketing & fundraising
  • Otherwise stated, several challenges are:
    • Helping an under served population, but challenged due to minimal funding and a restricted, limited budget
    • Highly skilled teachers and trained behavior analysts, but the limited budget has not allowed for any additional staff , or salary increases for several fiscal years.
    • Technology and curriculum are in antiquated, and in need of being updated a, replaced, and more current
    • The program should be a household name in, but is often referred to as the"best kept secret in town", because the limited budget does not account for advertising, marketing, and PR needs
    • Current building is large enough to meet the ratio of 8 students per teacher and is centrally located, however, it is in need of many repairs and renovations, inside and outside of the building, (if not replaced all together)
    • Students are driven by parents; with no current school transportation in place, a school van is needed for traveling and field trip purposes.
    • With limited man power and few parent volunteers,there is a need for involvement and support to help in the long term success.
Background Statement
The GAP School was founded in 2004 as a 501c(3) nonprofit educational facility. A dedicated staff works with  children and their families, offering services to students grades K-12 and ages 5-22.  Our students include, but are not limited to, those with various learning disabilities, dyslexia, anxiety, developmental delays, developmental disabilities, Asperger’s/high functioning, autism, and PDD-NOS. The GAP School is a whole family, whole child education program that provides daily, individualized education through intensive interventions with educational, cognitive, and emotional training. We support an anti-biased curriculum in a bully-free environment, and enforce the concepts of personal character, tolerance, diversity and social responsibility. We provide a safe and nurturing environment for students to discover and connect to their sense of respect, learning, belonging, and acceptance. By collaboration with educational, behavioral, and medical health services, students and their families can bridge the gaps simultaneously and effectively. The overall learning environment, tolerant language, professionalism, individual teaching talents , creative development, and outcome-based learning , all help to create a dynamic system of success and confidence for our students.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
FL- Charlotte
Areas Served Comments
The GAP School is a private , non profit school and does not have the benefit of county transportation.  Therefore, students are driven to and from school by their parents and/or guardians everyday, from various geographic areas of Florida's Suncoast.  This includes, but is not limited to, Sarasota County, Manatee County, and Charlotte County. 
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Youth Development
Tertiary Org Type Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
I choose to volunteer on the Board of Directors due to a family connection. My niece had difficulty adapting into society, until she came to the Gap School, and then she literally blossomed. She remained at the school through graduation, and became confident and outspoken. Today, she has come back to help at the school and with students,  and has taken culinary college courses. She has learned patience with others, and with herself.  Her ability to deal with life is a direct result of the time and effort that the Gap School staff had spent with her.
If I am able to help bring some of the same values and guidance to others, just as The Gap School has brought to my niece, then I am happy and honored to be part of the foundation to do so. 
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
As you walk through the doors of The GAP School, the challenges our
organization face may seem more apparent than the successes. The building
is old and maintenance issues are never ending, but if you look more closely
you will see the true heart and soul of our school, which is so much more
than a building. Our teachers and staff are at the GAP School because they
believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the school and are the champions
of its students. The GAP School recognizes that the definition of success is
different for each and every student. The young boy talking your ear off
about dinosaurs did not speak when he first came to our school. And the
boy who is the first one to raise his hand in science class used to refuse to go
to school at all. Why is our school so successful? Each one of the teachers
makes an effort at building a relationship with each student, creating trust,
which in turn leads to a feeling of safety enabling students to flourish.
The GAP School program can be described as:
  • A private, non-profit day school, catering to students K-12 in an alternative education setting that focuses on Growth, Achievement, & Progress 
  • Where students have various learning challenges and are seeking to close the social, emotional, and learning gaps. 
  • Focused on content areas such as Reading, Comprehension, and Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, as well as Physical Fitness, Music & Movement, and Social Skills & Character Education
  • Where students individual differences are honored, friendships are cultivated, and achievements are celebrated
  • Teamwork, communication, and collaboration are the foundations to success, for students, staff, and families. 
Budget $0
Category Education, General/Other Special Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities
Short Term Success
Short-term program success is measured by students academic success on a weekly and quarterly basis, including, but not limited to:
  • successful task completion
  • comprehension and application of new material
  • increased test scores
  • skills that are measured as "working" or "in progress", thus leading to eventual long term success of "mastery" of skills. 
  • Decrease in the undesired or counter productive behaviors
Long Term Success
Long-term program success is measured by students overall academic success, including, but not limited to:
  • academic achievement scores
  • successful completion of and progression to next grade
  • mastery of skills
  • increased emotional stabilization
  • consistent social engagement in the learning process
  • Extinguished the undesired or counter-productive behaviors. 
Program Success Monitoring
Tools used to measure, track, and report success, includes, but is not limited to:
  • Woodcock-Johnson Academic Achievement scores
  • Quarterly reports by teachers on report cards
  • Parent satisfaction surveys
  • Counselor notes by Behavioral Health Director
  • Personal impact statements by family members
  • Tracking and case notes by adjunct service providers (such as Speech and/or Occupational Therapists)
Overall improvements observed and reported by third party health providers and/or clinicians. 
Program Success Examples
Examples of program success have included:
  • Student entering the school who have been below grade level, but progress to grade level by end of academic year
  • Disengaged from the learning process will increased engagement
  • Minimal communication progresses to increased, expressive and receptive language and effective communication
  • Students who are defensive and combative in previous academic settings become more trusting and autonomous in their interactions.
  • Low self-esteem and negative-self image drastically increase when short -term goals are cultivated and achieved, thus resulting in more self-confident and emotionally secure students
Program Comments by Organization
The GAP School individualizes the curriculum to challenge each student
on his/her individual level, which is an amazing accomplishment  However, the
program that sets this school apart is its social skills program. Students
attend an interactive social skills class, 3-4 times a week, where they work in small groups and learn how to communicate appropriately and effectively with both their peers and their teachers. Students learn how to compromise and resolve differences. They learn tolerance, how to respect others, and acceptance of different cultures, ideas, and personalities.  This program is unique in that it transcends beyond the hours spent in social skills class, and is incorporated throughout the school day in every classroom, practicing these skills in real life situations with teachers and mentors to guide them.
These are everyday life skills that set the emotional tone of the school, and will benefit the students throughout their lives, no matter what path they choose. 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Robin Ahearn
CEO Term Start Jan 2004
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Ms. Lori Stephens Aug 2006 - June 2011
Mrs. Amy Weinberger Aug 2004 - May 2006
Senior Staff
Ms. Valerie Butler Mathematics Instructor
Instructor Joshua Golden Personal Fitness Instructor
Mr. Rick Levine Music & Movement and Science
Mrs. Lisa Morgan Language Arts and Reading Instructor
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 6
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 10
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Collaborative partnerships and annual field trips/fundraisers to help foster social action and reciprocity in the local area with agencies such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Face-Autism, POW-MIA Sarasota Chapter, Suncoast Community Blood Bank, Mayor Feed The Hungry, All Faiths Food Bank, Salvation Army, Shelter Box, Embracing Our Differences, SRQ Airport Art Gallery, 
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Management Comments by Organization
As a small, private, non-profit educational institution, some of the major opportunities and challenges include:
  • Opportunity to assist an under served population, but challenged due to minimal funding and a restricted, limited budget
  • Special Education population requires highly skilled teachers and trained behavior analysts, but the limited budget has not allowed for any additional staff , or salary increases for several fiscal years.
  • Due to lack of funding, technology and curriculum are in antiquated, and in need of being updated a, replaced, and more current
  • The program should be a household name in, but is often referred to as the"best kept secret in town", because the limited budget does not account for advertising, marketing, and PR needs
  • Current building is large enough to meet the ratio of 8 students per teacher and is centrally located, however, it is in need of many repairs and renovations, inside and outside of the building, (if not replaced all together)
  • Students are all driven to and picked up by parents; with no current school transportation in place, a school van would be helpful for traveling and field trip purposes.
  • The schools has limited man power and few parent volunteers, so there is a need for more involvement and support to help in the long term success.
Board Chair
Board Chair Jim Ahearn
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term June 2014 to June 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Jim Ahearn Community Volunteer
Patricia Ahearn Community Volunteer
Robin Ahearn staff
Scott Jessen Parent
Judith Leipold Community Volunteer
Lisa Morgan staff
Ben Morris Parent
Carla Patton staff
Alison Vesco Parent
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 3
Board Gender
Male 3
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 95
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy No
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 75
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization
Recently, a new Board of Directors has been put into place in order to help The GAP School reach its fullest potential. Two of our main areas of focus are fundraising and marketing. As a board, we feel That The GAP School is the best kept secret in the Sarasota area. Currently, our enrollment is about half of our optimal capacity.
We feel that there are many students in our area that would greatly benefit from the welcoming environment that our school provides, if only they knew we were here and exactly what we do! Low enrollment numbers in combination with an old facility that is in constant need of updates and repairs, means that overhead is a very large percentage of our budget, which subsequently comes almost solely from tuition income. 
Teachers’ hours have been reduced in order to compensate for the lack of
funds and in an effort to improve the longevity of the school, thus compromising the maximum potential of the schools capacity.The staff has
willingly made compromises, because their dedication to their students’
success and their belief in the goals and purposes of the school are so strong.
It is our hope that with improved marketing to increase enrollment and with
additional funding from outside sources, we will be able to appropriately
compensate the teachers (such as providing health insurance and job security) and improve the classroom experience with up to date technology and equipment.
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2015
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $324,000.00
Projected Expenses $319,950.00
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$247,338$256,566$279,137
Individual Contributions$919$5,271$850
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$2$3
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$234$6,039
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$285,697$269,492$258,549
Administration Expense$62,451$71,682$104,623
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.081.051.11
Program Expense/Total Expenses82%79%71%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$88,404$63,367$47,669
Current Assets$64,105$37,043$23,904
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$57,739$58,857$59,929
Total Net Assets$30,665$4,510($12,260)
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Unspecified $247,338Government Grants - Unspecified $256,566Government Grants - Unspecified $279,137
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTuition $110,990Tuition $68,493Tuition $79,796
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAftercare Tuition $9,567Aftercare Tuition $16,640Summer Camp $24,910
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits Yes
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.110.630.40
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from Federal 990.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit Closing the Gap School dba The Gap School
Address 5989 Approach Road
Phone 941 552-9090