One district is starting new special education classrooms, supporting students on the spectrum in-district. Rather than sending students with an autism-spectrum disorder out of the district, Bedford Public School District in Massachusetts is looking to keep them closer to home.
Students Achieving Independent Learning (SAIL) is Bedford’s way of bringing these students back to the district and giving them the support they need. According to Peggy Regan, Program Administrator for Special Education at Lt. Eleazer Davis Elementary School, the program begin in 2015 and is a success.
“It has been really special,” said Regan. “I believe we hired a really good, strong staff. Bedford is a good place to be right now.” She mentioned that staff and administrators have been putting in their own time to get it up and running quickly.
The children are served through the CASE Collaborative, or Concord Area Special Education Collaborative. Students with special needs are provided individualized learning, and previously had attended schools as far away as Harvard. The cost is expensive to districts, which was a motivation behind creating the SAIL program.
According to special education teacher Jess Coby, the change has resulted in extra support. “I think this has provided an extra level of support for the children and teachers,” she said. “It has given us the chance to collaborate with someone who is more of an expert. I think it is great for the school in general; it gives students the chance to see how all different types of kids learn.”