Handling the transition of several hundred special needs students a huge challenge

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 8th, 2017



The decision has been made – the Board of Education will close two of the seven high schools in the city.

Bateman - crowd sceneParents at Bateman high school, where there are hundreds of students who are described as emotionally at risk and are going to need help adjusting to a significant change in their lives, have been told by Board staff that they are prepared to hold one-on-one meetings with parents to craft a transition plan for each student as they prepare to move from a school that is to be closed to a school some of them don’t even know exists.

During the debate leading up to the decision to close the schools many parents made it clear that they did not trust the school to do what was best for their children

Mark Zonneveld, the Superintendent of Education who will oversee the transition process, will have his hands full not only getting the job done but overcoming the fear and distrust that parents have now.

portrait of Mark Zonneveld

Mark Zonneveld

Most people in Burlington aren’t aware of the student at Bateman who deal with serious and severe disadvantages. The lives of those families are much different than the lives of other families. The focus is on the child and the needs – which are beyond the understanding of most families and are present every minute of every day. That is not to even suggest that other parents do not worry about how their children grow and become productive in the community.

For those special needs students – it is just a lot different.

These are children who are deeply loved and appreciated who have been in a school that fully understands their needs and has found ways to overcome problems.

The lives of those students are going to go through significant disruption – which Bateman parents saw as totally unnecessary – but that decision has been made.

The measure of a society is often determined by how it takes care of its weakest.

Burlington is about to learn just how good it is at taking care of those who need more care than most.

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1 comment to Handling the transition of several hundred special needs students a huge challenge

  • D

    Thank you for highlighting the pain our families are now experiencing and it is the entire family that experiences the pain. The education system has our children for 4-6 hours per day and what happens there has a huge impact on how the rest of the day will unfold. We are forced to fight for our child’s education from the day they entered the system. Unfortunately, this decision has many of us thinking we are done fighting this system and looking at what our alternatives are.