R.I. Redoubles Efforts for Intellectually Disabled
For the first time in years, students with intellectual disabilities in the 23,000-student Providence, R.I., school district started school in August attending some classes alongside their typically developing peers—the result of an agreement between the district and the federal government that the U.S. Department of Justice calls a "landmark."
The 84 students, who represent most of the students with intellectual disabilities in the system, are taking art and physical education classes with other students at Mount Pleasant High School, which has an enrollment of about 1,100. Educators are helping them explore opportunities that may be available to them when they leave school. And teachers are expected to educate them to a higher academic standard than they had experienced before.
Those changes, prompted by a Justice Department probe launched in January, are a huge shift from earlier practice. These students, who mostly have Down syndrome and autism, previously were housed in a separate wing of Mount Pleasant High School, in a program called the Harold...
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