Margaret Harris Comprehensive School (MHCS) is a self-contained special education school for students with severe and multiple disabilities, ages 3 – 21 and grades P-12. MHCS serves as a valued component of the continuum of educational services within the school system. The educational program involves access to the general curriculum as well as a keen focus on functional life skill development. Students’ IEPs are the center of all curriculums, and the school implements a transdisciplinary approach. The transdisciplinary approach to instruction integrates the expertise of all disciplines, including highly qualified teachers, therapists, a librarian, resource staff, as well as specialists within the community. Parental expectations and recommendations are also critical considerations in instructional planning.
Students at MHCS engage in a variety of programs that support their IEP objectives and overall development. In addition to general classroom activity, students access all school learning environments as well as the community. Programs include adapted physical education, music, home economics, library, Special Olympics, and they are scheduled to serve as workers for our school store. Teachers also engage students in instructional activities in various school and community environments other than in the classroom. Instructional environments include a fully equipped sensory room, a simulated apartment, the gym, and a variety of community facilities and venues that are frequented by typical students of similar age. Engagement in the varied learning environments provides opportunities for our students to interact with a variety of adults and peers in a manner that supports growth and attainment of IEP objectives. Additionally, MHCS partners with Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School (IHM) through a year-long “Special Friends” program. This program encourages interactions between students with disabilities and typically performing peers. IHM students serve as peer helpers during structured, meaningful and fun activities that are facilitated by classroom staff. Another important partnership has been established with Intown Community School’s Community Outreach Program, which also promotes interactions between students with disabilities and typically performing students at MHCS. These students also participate in engaging and meaningful activities with MHCS students, but on a more short term basis.
The primary emphasis of MHCS' program is to promote increased levels of independent student performance on skills that enhance quality of life now and in the future. MHCS’ staff is dedicated and works collaboratively to support all students and their families.