Mt. Vernon severe/profound special needs students that were previously transported to South Madison County Schools will soon be located at remodeled facilities in the Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS). A specific area in MVHS is being renovated to provide the necessary facilities and will be ready for the 2015-2016 school year. The facility will open with nearly 10 students occupying this area.
The Hancock Madison Shelby Educational Services (HMSES) currently provides staffing and services for all Hancock County Schools’ special needs’ students. Greenfield Central Schools will no longer be a part of the county’s special needs HMSES co-op after the 2014-2015 school year, thus giving each of the three other Hancock County schools an option to find a new home for their severe/profound special needs’ students. Beginning at the 2015-2016 school year, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation will provide a secondary education program for these students, Southern Hancock County Schools will have both a primary and secondary program, and Eastern Hancock will provide a primary program.
The Mt. Vernon special needs’ parents have been overwhelmingly positive about their children attending Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS). Bernie Campbell, principal at Mt. Vernon High School states, “Mt. Vernon parents are thrilled for their kids to come to Mt. Vernon High School. Most students will go through commencement ceremonies. We believe the renovated facilities and new staff will further their educational progress and we are looking forward to these students being at Mt. Vernon.”
A room that is currently part of the High-Tech Academy will be renovated by July with a sensory room, computer stations, writing boards, storeroom, lockers, small group rooms, and washroom facilities. The facility will give students the privacy and space needed to accommodate their individual education plans. One special needs teacher and multiple assistants will also be hired and trained.
There have been discussions about these severe/profound special needs students utilizing MVHS’s apartment-style facilities (in addition to their renovated facilities). The mock “apartment” has been used by the mildly disabled students and is designed to teach students’ life skills needed post-graduation.
Dr. Bill Riggs, superintendent for Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, states, “Mt. Vernon appreciates the partnership with HMSES and the outstanding services they provide our Mt. Vernon students. We strive to meet the needs of every child in our district, and are excited about the opportunity to serve these students. These new Marauders will enrich our school community while they prepare for their future.”
The estimated cost for this renovation is $150,000 and will be paid from Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation’s Capital Projects Fund. HMSES will be paying for a portion of the specialized equipment needed for the students. A portion of Mt. Vernon expenditures will be recouped over time as the facilities will berented to HMSES. Mt. Vernon will thus receive a facilities credit on their HMSES invoice for special education services.