Nashville to Launch New High School Program for Autistic Teens

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) will open a new program this fall to provide intensive academic and behavioral services for students in grades nine through 12 who have emotional disturbance, serious behavior issues or developmental disabilities.

Metro voted at its April 13 board meeting to engage Spectrum Center Schools and Programs to establish Spectrum Academy to provide technology-based academic instruction, social and life skills counseling, and behavioral support services for students with disabilities who are referred by MNPS. Spectrum Academy will also help with employment and career development so students can successfully transition to life after high school, Gail Debiec, Spectrum chief operating officer, said.

Spectrum, a division of Nashville-based Educational Services of America (ESA), has operated state-certified schools and integrated collaborative classrooms on public school campuses for more than 35 years. Spectrum serves nearly 100 school districts and is one of California’s largest private providers of services for students with special needs, including autism.

“Metro sought an intensive, structured academic and behavioral program to serve students with emotional disturbance, which is a legal handicapping condition, or developmental disabilities in a specialized facility,” Metro assistant superintendent Linda DePriest said. “We selected Spectrum because of its high-quality, research-supported best practices, data-driven instruction and 35-year history of successful student outcomes. Our students will benefit from Spectrum Academy’s low student:teacher ratio, rigorous academics and strong behavior support systems.”

Students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and are referred to Spectrum Academy typically will be several grade levels behind academically and have exhibited serious repetitive behavior problems such as truancy, disrupting class, profanity or fighting, DePriest said.

“An important component of Spectrum Academy is the use of positive behavior interventions and supports to proactively promote social and academic success. This creates a positive school culture that inspires students to do their best and prepare to transition to life after high school,” Debiec said.

“The MNPS board and leadership are truly committed to helping students with special needs,” Mark Claypool, president and CEO of ESA, said. “We value the trust they place in us to serve their students.”
According to MNPS, the five-year contract is not to exceed $9.2 million. For more information about Spectrum Center and Spectrum Academy, please visit www.spectrumschools.com

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.

Comments

  1. I am writing to you about the Spectrum Academy announcement posted above.

    First, thank you for posting the release. We sincerely appreciate it!

    However, I do want to clarify that Spectrum Academy will not serve students on the Autism spectrum. Our Spectrum Schools serve ASD students, while Spectrum Academy serves students who have emotional disturbance (ED), serious behavior issues or (non-ASD) developmental disabilities.

    You can learn more about Spectrum Academy on the Spectrum Schools and Programs website here:

    http://www.spectrumschools.com/ProgramsAndServices/SpectrumAcademy.aspx

    Thanks again, and I hope we will have more Spectrum Schools news for you soon.

    Best regards,

    Jenni Leeds
    Social Media and Marketing Coordinator
    Educational Services of America