First day of 2014-2015 school year!

Aug 28, 2014 | Hope in the News

The first day of school for the 2014-2015 year started on Wednesday, August 20 with a thunderstorm, but the bright smiles of students and teachers helped light the hallways of the Hope School Learning Center.

“Our dedicated staff members worked throughout the summer to prepare for this day, which is always one of the best days of the year,” said Principal Cliff Hathaway.

On Monday, August 18 Hope President and CEO Karen G. Foley spoke at a campus workshop for staff members, along with Mary Loken, a retired special education administrator for Springfield District 186 and a former Hope board member.

“I’ve received emails from parents who are very excited for the start of school because it allows their children to receive the education and support they deserve,” Mr. Hathaway said.

More than 140 students with developmental disabilities from over 80 school districts started the school year. Some youth from campus housing units walked up to the Learning Center with their backpacks over their shoulders, while many others rode the bus to school.

The new school year is a time for students to get back to work, inside and outside of the classroom. Hope has doubled the size of its vocational day student program to 16 students, Mr. Hathaway said. That means more students will be learning vital job and social skills and working in our community.

It was also the first day of school for new teacher Bobby Noll, who leads a pre-vocational classroom that prepares students for life after Hope.

“It’s a great opportunity to have our students learn skills that they can use for the rest of their lives,” said Mr. Noll, a former physical education teacher at Iles Elementary School in Springfield. “Our students will hopefully get a job one day and become productive citizens.”

Mr. Noll planned for the seven students in his classroom to take part in a morning exercise to get to know one another better.
The Hope School Learning Center also began the new school year with a new assistant principal, Ms. Barbi Ballard.

The Hope Institute Learning Academy (HILA) in Chicago began classes Monday, Aug. 25.

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