Our Story


Edison Academy SLO is named after Thomas Edison who himself was a twice-exceptional student. Due to Scarlet Fever and numerous middle ear infections, Edison did not learn to talk until he was almost 4 years old.

His only formal schooling consisted of three months spent in a noisy, one-room schoolhouse when he was 7 years old. The teacher described Edison’s brain as addled, which means “barren, producing nothing.”

His mother recognized his intelligence and promptly pulled him from school and began educating him at home. In addition to the 3R’s, Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic, his parents nurtured his natural ability in chemistry by allowing him space in the basement to create his own laboratory where he was free to experiment.

In this same way, Edison Academy SLO offers a student-centered learning environment where students are encouraged to develop their talents. Our program is designed to meet the unique needs of twice-exceptional students.Edison Academy SLO is the only school in San Luis Obispo County, and one of the few across the nation, that specifically supports the educational needs of this unique population of students.

Edison Academy SLO was created as a result of founder Jena Names’ personal journey of meeting the needs of her twice-exceptional son. While homeschooling her own children since 2003, Jena became aware of learning differences which led her to publish Make Learning Fit: How to Tailor Your Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Your Child’s Learning Style. In 2015, Jena returned to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction Gifted Education in order to better meet the educational needs of her son. (Click here to view her educational portfolio.)

During that time, she gained a deep understanding of the unique needs of twice-exceptional learners along with the skills and knowledge to build an inquiry-based curriculum connected to their unique learning profiles and interests. This, coupled with 13 years in alternative education developing curriculum around students’ learning styles, has refined her into a strengths-focused educator who is adaptable, patient, empathetic, and creative.

In 2016, Edison Academy SLO was opened in order to create a personalized learning environment where twice-exceptional students develop their strengths and talents to achieve their full potential.

Interested or Have Questions?

If you are interested in learning more about giving your child a personalized, strengths-based education or have questions about our program, contact us using the form below:


Beals, G. (1999a). The biography of Thomas Edison. Retrieved from http://www.thomasedison.com/biography.html

Glen Ellyn Media. (2011). Understanding your twice-exceptional student. Winfield, IL: Author.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/J. Walter Thompson

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