This summer, a group of students in Wallingford made sure they stayed on the graduation track at a unique school designed around their special needs called the High Road School.
For 11th grader Axcel Manuel Diaz, the High Road School in Wallingford has been a life changer.
“It makes me comfortable. It’s not a lot of hectic areas, not a lot of pressure, and other kids ruining it for other students,” he said.
Students from all over the state come to High Road to make up credits they missed in their regular school, due in part to their special needs. This summer, Axcel, who is from Hartford, is taking a biology class. He took geometry when he first came here in March, and completed a year-long program in just 45 days, according to the school.
“Students start out in a group of maybe 2 or 3 students. They, every 20 minutes, rotate from one station to the next, and so therefore, they’re given really direct one-on-one type of instruction,” Michael Linke, the school’s education director, said.
The credit recovery program is paid for by the student’s original school district and encompasses academic intervention, behavior management, and counseling. “We’re able to move at their own pace. And, when there are days behaviorally that they can’t handle the academic challenges, then they’re kind of working on their behavior," Jerilyn Fleck, a special education teacher at the school, said.
Axcel says he is looking forward to attending a Division 1 college in a few years, then working for Autism Speaks, and as a motivational speaker. “Everybody deserves a second chance in life, like I got a second chance in this school from all of the bad things that were going on. I got a second chance from getting my work done, doing credit recovery and getting my life back on track,” said Axcel.