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Pasco, WA: New school for ASD/social/emotion issues to open this summer

Jun, 2022, Kennewick, WA Tri Cities Business News: Brokers push innovative new school over the finish line
A school catering to children with social and emotional issues will open in Pasco this summer thanks in part to the efforts of its real estate brokers.

Candy Mountain Academy, which will serve children who can’t be treated in their home school district, is set to open Aug. 15 with 12 students at 120 S. Fifth Ave. in Pasco.

Brokers Todd Sternfeld and Kenny Teasdale of NAI Tri-Cities arranged the $642,000 property sale.

Charles “Chuck” Fleming, director of Candy Mountain Academy, said the brokers are playing a far larger role. They formed a company, bought the property and are investing in a major makeover of the two buildings, which collectively offer 8,100 square feet. ...

...The academy will serve district-referred students who need additional support before they return to their regular classrooms.

It will only serve students referred by their districts. Fleming advised parents who are interested to contact their districts about local services and referrals. Services vary by school district and there may be some that parents haven’t used yet....

Its founders, Nancy and Michael George, created the program and train staff to address issues related to emotional disturbances and autism. Centennial is affiliated with Lehigh University College of Education as a lab school to train special education teachers.

Fleming was part of the team that brought the model to Olympic Academy in Chehalis for ESD 113. While it is organized under the ESD program, it is a unique offering, following the belief that “just like reading and math skills, social/emotional skills can be taught.”

Fleming expects to open with three teachers and a dozen paraprofessionals serving students in the first through eighth grades. It will expand into high school grades as its students mature.

The program is funded by fees paid by ESD’s member school districts. The academy is not a residential program and districts are responsible for transporting students to central Pasco. In a nod to smaller districts that are too remote, the school has a regional coordinator to help districts serve children at home when possible.

Teasdale, the real estate agent, said the project has been through the city’s special-use permit process and the owners are negotiating with a contractor.

“It is a feel-good project. It’s as good as it gets,” he said.


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