On Monday, I took a tour of the new school for students with special needs that opened in my local area this year. I was greeted by the man who runs the school and taken into a meeting with the supervisor who works with this school and its sister school. We had an intense talk about Alex and Ben, what I was looking for, and how this school might meet their needs. Then, we took a look around.
The school was significantly smaller and quieter than I expected. There are only eight students and they only lease enough space to meet their current needs. They are housed in a full size school, but only use a portion of it. They will lease additional space as they need it, as their student population grows. The quietness was even more unexpected. Some of the students weren’t in school, because some districts honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a day off from school while others don’t, but even so the school was exceptionally quiet. While peeking in the classrooms, I saw that the kids were on task. They were attending, focused on their work.
As I toured the school, one of the most promising things I saw was the art room. If my boys attend this school, they will have art class twice a week, and could use additional art time as break time. The art teacher is actually an art therapist as well. Considering my boys’ inclination for art and their lack of opportunities to develop those interests in their current environment, this was an especially welcome sign.
Another plus was the emphasis on actual education. This school is committed to the Common Core State Standards, which is something all schools are supposed to target, but seems lacking in their current environments. So, it’s possible that Alex and Ben would be able to catch up to where they’re supposed to be if they attended this school. That would become clearer after the school staff assessed the boys. Though, one thing I really liked was their flexibility. They said that if they assessed a child and found, after a month at the school, that the child had a lot more potential than they thought, they could adjust easily to meet the child’s needs.
I was looking at this school to see if it might be a better environment for my children. After visiting this school, I think it may be just what they need. I have IEPs coming up for both of them. Wanting doesn’t make it happen, though, so we’ll just have to see how this plays out.