School officials are moving ahead with a proposal to create the city’s first inclusive K-12 pathway school in Dorchester. The proposal would link the William Henderson Inclusion School, which handles K to 5, and the Harbor School, which is serving grades 6 to 10 and expanding to grade 12. Under the inclusive school model, students with disabilities learn in the same classroom as their non-disabled peers.
The combination comes after the Henderson School, founded in 1989, received a commendation from state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for improved exam scores. The new model would be available to students starting the 2014 school year, if approved by the School Committee.
The proposal calls for the new Henderson Inclusion School to be housed inside the Wilson Building on Croftland Avenue. The Dorchester Academy, which is at the location, will move to 11 Charles St. and be renamed the Dorchester Arts and Business Academy. Dorchester Academy would be next door to the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH).
The proposal has already received early sign-offs from the interim superintendent and the teachers’ union.
“Regardless of their ability, all students deserve a great education,” Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement. “This will allow the incredible opportunities students have come to expect from the Henderson to be available to all the way through high school.”
Interim superintendent John McDonough said families have requested a K to 12 inclusionary option for “many years.” “This proposal recognizes the hard work teachers have put in over the years in both schools and allows students to benefit for years to come,” he said. “We look forward to bringing this proposal before the School Committee for a public conversation.”