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Poway Unified brings students together in pilot program with new approach to special education

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-14 11:43:19-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - Poway Unified School District is launching a pilot program in an attempt to take an innovative approach to special education, bringing children with learning disabilties together with the general education population.

"We know, as students of history, separate has never been equal," Associate Superintendent Greg Mizel said in an interview with 10News. "So the more that we mix up our kids, the better for all children."

The program is being tried in three schools: Monterey Ridge Elementary in 4S Ranch, Twin Peaks Middle in Poway, and Mt. Carmel in Rancho Peñasquitos. All students who are in the special education program will have regular classes with students from the general education population. Those classes will have two teachers, one from special ed and one from general ed. That means all children will have more academic support, while there always be someone trained to give the special needs students the additional care they need.

Thus far, teachers and administrators say the program has been a big success, with special education students thriving on the increased socialization and higher academic standards, and the general education students getting additional attention in the classroom and the chance to increase empathy working with differently abled students.

Staff at seven other PUSD schools are currently going through training in anticipation of the program being expanded next school year.