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Wheat Ridge, CO: Parents fear closing of schools with specialized programs for SPED

Nov 9, 2022, News 9, Denver: Parents of students with special needs fear impacts of school closures

Amy Miller says her son Andrew has benefitted from the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program at Wilmore-Davis and worries switching schools will cause him to regress.

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — Of the 16 schools that are proposed to be shut down in Jefferson County, 10 of them have some kind of specialized program for students with special needs, also known as Center Programs.

Four of those programs are for students with affective needs, meaning it provides additional support with social and emotional needs. Three of them are for significant support needs, such as cognitive-related needs or students that may need nursing care. New Classical Academy at Vivian in Lakewood houses a Deaf and Hard of Hearing program and Wilmore-Davis Elementary in Wheat Ridge houses an ASD program, which is for students who have been diagnosed with autism. …

"We’ve gotten to a really good place and now we are going to have to start all over again," said Miller. "We will figure it out. That’s the thing about being a special needs parent -- just when you think you have everything figured out, something changes."

The district says they are working with students and families to make the transition smooth. "It's our job to prepare students for successful transitions," said Matt Palaoro, Chief Student Success Officer.

The district is ensuring that any staff member who works with a Center program at a closing school will be guaranteed a job at the transferring school. …


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