PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A new school is opening in Portsmouth ahead of the new school year with a focus on children with special needs. Causeway Academy is a private day school for children with autism and other emotional, speech and health impairments. It serves students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Founder Dr. Andrea Brown gave tours of the new facility at 430 Jamestown Ave. following the grand opening Friday morning.

Mayor Shannon Glover and State Sen. Louise Lucas were among the special guests who helped cut the ribbon.

Brown said students will be taught by licensed special education teachers with paraprofessionals to assist students in all of the basics — reading, math science and history.

Opening the school is a lifelong dream come true for Brown.

“Causeway Academy was a vision, a blur, but I know that God had it in my spirit when I was 12-years-old, I took care of my 15-year-old cousin who had cerebral palsy.”

The school promises students will learn in a nurturing, small classroom environment.

“For our 757 children, those with autism, disability, other impairment, ADHD, I know what I can do,” she said. “I know God has planted that seed. so I as you continue to give us that support as a non-profit.”

The school’s motto is “Bridging the Gap to Success,” with an “I do, we do, you do” modality.