Several school districts throughout northeast Ohio faced a dilemma—the local area lacked access to much-needed special education programs and resources. The closest program options for students needing emotional, mental health and social support services were one hour away by bus. This distance was costly for schools, unsustainable over time and created a less-than-ideal experience for students.
As a temporary solution, each district placed students with an Individual Education Program (IEP) in grades K-12 in several different programs across the region. This created difficult transportation logistics for students and made it challenging for the districts’ special education teams to regularly monitor students’ progress. Additionally, many of these programs were designed for students with aggressive behavior issues and were not ideal for their students with autism spectrum and emotional disorders. The school districts needed a more cost-effective and logistically convenient long-term option more suited to their special education students’ needs.
The ChanceLight Solution
Special Education Directors from eight northeast Ohio school districts searched for a customizable special education program that could be delivered locally and tailored to their students’ academic, emotional and mental health needs. They learned about ChanceLight Education, a company dedicated to changing the direction of students’ lives by offering them the opportunity to create successful, independent futures.
The company’s personalized, evidence-based instruction and behavior supports for students with an IEP requiring academic, emotional and behavioral services appealed to the district representatives.
The Special Education Directors from the districts visited existing ChanceLight programs in nearby communities to meet with staff and students. After witnessing the programs in action and seeing the successes first-hand, the districts decided to partner with ChanceLight; each school board approved the decision.
To overcome the previous logistical challenges, the eight school districts formed a consortium to host the ChanceLight Lorain County Plus Program, based in Avon, Ohio, and more centrally located to participants.
ChanceLight worked directly and collaboratively with the school districts to customize a program for the schools’ specific needs. The ChanceLight team managed the leasing and furnishing of the program’s physical space and provided all technology, curriculum resources and staff. During the set-up phase, ChanceLight developed relationships with key community leaders, school district representatives, teachers and parents to garner support for the program and ensure success for the consortium.
The original program was designed to serve 20 students in grades 6-12 and was initially staffed with three intervention specialists, two instructional aides, one licensed social work and a school administrator. As the program expanded, ChanceLight added intervention specialists, behavior specialists and instructional aides to accommodate more students.
Since the Lorain County Plus Program began in 2017, two additional districts have joined the consortium, increasing the total number of districts served to 10, and the number of students enrolled has doubled. In addition, the program has expanded to include elementary students; the consortium now serves students in gr ades K-12. Since 2017:
- 64 students educated
- 100 percent growth in student enrollment
- 81 percent average daily attendance rate
- 113 days average length of enrollment
- 7 of 7 eligible students graduated
- 97 percent of students successfully completed the school year, graduated, transitioned to the district or ended their program placement
Our district is most appreciative of the academic support and wraparound services that the ChanceLight Lorain County Plus Program affords our at-risk students. The caring support provided by the staff, coupled with targeted, individualized learning paths, helps meet the divergent academic, social, emotional and interpersonal needs of these students while allowing them to maintain connections with our home district. We continue to appreciate and value the partnership we have with ChanceLight to provide a creative path for students who require a non-traditional school experience.
“This school has really helped me in many ways. It gave me a place to learn without having any issues. My grades have improved from Fs to Bs and Cs. I couldn’t have done this without ChanceLight.”
– Gavin C.
“I suffer from anxiety and coming to this school has been a helpful and productive place to learn. I am very grateful for the teachers here; without them I would not have passed.”
– Greg V.
“When I came to ChanceLight, I was scared and suicidal. I expected the return to school to be overwhelming and really stressful. I didn’t expect sympathy or kindness from staff or students. I’ve literally never made a worse assumption in my life. ChanceLight has completely changed the way I view school. ChanceLight gave me hope for my education and hope for my future. It didn’t just give me a safe place to learn and grow. It gave me a family.”
– Fritz S.
ChanceLight Education is a division of ChanceLight, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of behavioral health, therapy and education solutions for children and young adults.
Questions? Contact us