High Road School is filling a need for families of special needs children (grades K-12) in Marion County, according to school officials.

Located on the campus of Pleasant Local Schools, 1101 Owens Road W., High Road School of Marion County opened its doors in January 2023 and local families have responded positively. Program Director Wendy Sanford said 28 students are currently enrolled at the school, which has agreements with Marion City Schools, Pleasant Local Schools, River Valley Local Schools, and Delaware City Schools.

“We’re very thankful for Pleasant, River Valley, and Marion City. They’ve been super supportive in bringing us here to Marion County,” said Sanford, who is a native of Marion County and previously supervised High Road School’s Bucyrus location. “I think is a great thing for Marion County. We’re serving kids with special needs and giving them what they need.”

Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) is the parent company of High Road School. According to its website, SESI, “a division of FullBloom, is a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who require additional educational and behavioral supports to overcome challenges that impede success in a traditional school setting.

“SESI partners with school districts to run in-district classrooms and stand-alone schools that meet the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of special and alternative education students with autism spectrum disorders,

learning, emotional and other disabilities.”

A much-needed alternative for children with special needs

Sanford said High Road School provides a much needed educational alternative for children with special needs.

“The students that struggle with success in some of the regular school settings can come here and find the ownership of the classroom because it’s specialized for them,” Sanford explained. “So we’re giving them what they need, but we’re also understanding what educational and behavioral needs they have. Our staff is very supportive in a way that maybe the students didn’t receive in other schools because they needed that one-on-one support.”

High Road School of Marion County is located in the former Pleasant High School building. Sanford said the school occupies six rooms on the ground floor of the building, four of which serve as classrooms. She said school officials anticipate opening a fifth classroom soon due to the increasing enrollment. The school employs 23 staff members.

High Road School also has locations in Bucyrus and Lima and an in-district classroom in the Mount Healthy City School District in Cincinnati.