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Mason, MI: New special school for emotional, behavior, social needs students

Sept 8, 2023, WILX TV, Lansing, MI: Schools Rule: School for students with special needs begin in Ingham County

Mason, Mich. (WILX) - Before North Star was finished this past summer, special needs students were split into two different facilities based on age.

Now middle school and high school students will share the same building. Teachers like Linda Rived said the new building is very welcoming.

“Even just the colors in the new building are supposed to be calming and just make students feel welcomed, and feel like they are a part of one school together versus having the separate programs as two different schools,” said Rived.

Rived said many of the students who attend north star would not be able to attend their local high school.
“For their emotional needs, behavior needs, social needs, the typical school setting is just not appropriate for them because they may get lost with the large size and the large class numbers,” said Rived.

With just seven classrooms and a lot more one-on-one attention Rived said she loves her job because of the connections she builds.

“There are those few students that may be in your homeroom class that you build your relationship with, you have those connections with, and that you kind of carry through with them through there. For some students, it could be all four years of their high school,” said Rived.

North Star even has a basketball court for the students to get some exercise between class. Principal Denise Lycos said the new facility is only part of what makes North Star special.

“It’s the facility, but it is the people. We have quite a good team here,” said Lycos.

Lycos said they follow all the state requirements in allowing their students to graduate with a diploma. She said this is a goal that keeps the students motivated.

“For some, over the years, if they didn’t have that as an option, I think they would have dropped out, and nobody wants that,” said Lycos.

Lycos said 34 of the 35 students are on track to receive their diplomas.

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