The William Floyd School District will open an alternative elementary education center in September for special education students in grades kindergarten through second, school officials recently announced.
The William Floyd Learning Center will be housed in the back of William Floyd Elementary School in Shirley and serve 24 students who are in need of a small student-to-teacher ratio.
Students who need these services are currently enrolled in out-of-district BOCES programs.
“By providing for this closer proximity, our students will also have more opportunities to be mainstreamed into classes that they otherwise would not have,” said Stacey Scalise, assistant superintendent of Elementary Instruction, Administration and Pupil Personnel Services for the William Floyd district.
District officials said the change will also provide greater integration opportunities with students in the adjoining elementary achool in such shared spaces as the school library, playground, gymnasium, cafeteria, at school assemblies, in cultural arts activities, at after-school clubs and on field trips.
Being educated in district also removes the need for students’ extended travel time. Students travel about 35 miles round-trip each day to receive their education, school officials said.
The change will not add any costs for the first year, when William Floyd intends to shift into the district the $1.5 million spent to send the students outside, officials said. As students are added in subsequent years, cost savings are expected. The program is expected to be capped at about 80 students.
Gary Bretton, now assistant principal at John S. Hobart Elementary School, has been selected as the center’s principal.
In 2012, the district opened its own Career and Technical Education Program for high school students, shifting from Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services to save money, officials said.