Special school to serve teens

Dec. 23, 2012 @ 07:42 PM

The new wing for students with autism at Ragsdale High School will serve high school age students when it opens next year.
The Guilford County Board of Education recently voted to send students in grades K-8 to a new school next to Hairston Middle School and Falkener Elementary School in east Greensboro. Students in grades nine through 12 will go to a new building at Ragsdale High. 
The schools originally were approved to serve students at all grade levels as a replacement for McIver Education Center in Greensboro  which serves 130 students with severe forms of autism and other developmental disabilities. Most students with autism attend traditional schools. The two new wings could serve up to 204 students with programs in communication, cognitive and behavioral needs.
A staff study showed that dividing the grades between the schools would better serve them and reduce transportation costs.
“The educational reasons for this make sense, and transportation is important too,” said Chairman Alan Duncan.
Although the average bus ride for students will be reduced, about a dozen students living in northeast Guilford County will face longer bus rides, said Jeff Harris, district transportation director.
“Average ride times for the students should decrease because many of them live in the High Point area,”  Harris said.
Many parents support the plan, said parent Dwight Meredith.
“We need to avoid long rides for these students,” Meredith said. “These students can’t take long rides.”
Harris said he would track the routes and bring more detailed information  to the board.
The board initially planned to build  special schools on three different campuses as part of a 2008 bond program, but later decided to build just two to replace the McIver program which opened in 1969. 
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Special schools

Construction: The $14 million autism wing at Ragsdale High School should be finished by March, while the $11.5 million Hairston/Falkener building will be completed in July. Parents should receive student assignments in May.Special school to serve teens