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The Emerge School Transitions 14 Students to New Schools

On May 24, The Emerge School celebrated the last day of school and the transitioning of 14 students into lesser restrictive educational environments. The students wore graduation caps and gowns, the classrooms were filled with smiles, hugs, pictures, and bittersweet feelings as the faculty said goodbye to students moving on to new schools.

“The Emerge School for Autism is so proud of our students who have transitioned out of our school and on to new adventures,” said Linda Brown, the School’s Principal. “We will miss the students and their families, but remind them that once you are part of the Emerge family, you are part of Emerge forever. We wish them all the best, and we have enjoyed every moment of their time here at The Emerge School.”

When The Emerge School opened in the fall of 2018 with 20 students, it became Louisiana’s first and only tuition-free public charter school for students with autism. Now the school operates at full capacity, serving 48 students in grades kindergarten through third grade with an exclusively-designed program for students on the autism spectrum.

The School’s wrap-around model of education and therapy support allows students to receive early intervention care while also making the most progress possible in an elementary school setting. The faculty and staff prioritize growing the social and independent-living skills of students to better prepare them for future academic and personal journeys on their way to becoming successful and independent adults.

“While we will miss our students, the goal of The Emerge School has always been to prepare and help guide our students through transitioning to a mainstream, diverse, academic environment,” said Deanna Whittle, CEO of Emerge.

Transitions can be difficult for children with autism, and moving to a new school can be stressful for students. Children with autism prefer to have a consistent routine and unexpected changes can lead to disruptive behavior and anxiety.

The teachers and therapists at the School help prepare children for this transition by developing a range of abilities including improved communication, essential learning readiness, and self-help skills.  By working with students on social-emotional learning, the School enhances students’ future academic performance and improves their ability to integrate into a new school environment.

When the students are given time to understand this transition and can practice addressing anticipated changes, they are more likely to successfully cope with the process and thrive in a new environment.

Tripp Parent is one of the students who has transitioned from The Emerge School. Tripp’s mom, Emily Parent shared her feelings about Emerge saying, “If I had to sum up in a couple of words what The Emerge School means to our family, it would simply be a blessing,” said Emily Parent, Tripp’s mom. “Emerge has allowed our son to discover his potential, learn at an individualized pace, and most importantly, make friendships that will last a lifetime.

With a new school year quickly approaching, and our child being one of the many students who has transitioned out, it tugs at our heartstrings. We know outside of the four walls of The Emerge School, challenges will arise; but with the confidence and guidance the School has provided our family, we know the sky is the limit and anything is possible. We are and will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this special community, always a butterfly, always Emerging!”

“The Emerge School is an essential part of our community, and our staff gives their all to our students and families whom we serve every day,” said Linda Brown. “We look forward to seeing where the new school year takes our current and past students!”