Parents of special needs students hope schools’ focus on inclusion will increase — especially once new high school opens

Oliver Stephan is a 17 year old who enjoys biking, has a knack for algebra, and recently studied cell biology with a local college graduate. He also has a non-speaking form of autism, so he communicates in other ways – he spoke to The Citizen by pointing out letters on a board to spell out sentences.

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What should the new high school be like? Survey shows Hburg residents have a range of opinions

The new high school’s appearance, function and feel are starting to take shape in meetings of the school board-appointed design committee. But other questions — such as how students will be divided between the two schools and whether each will offer the same programs — have ignited public debate, including at a public meeting May 23 and on Facebook.

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Split students up by grades? By area of study? By area of the city? School board soliciting input for how new and existing high schools will work together

The city school board will collect community input to help guide the design for the new high school — as well as how it will be set up and operated in conjunction with Harrisonburg High School — including through a public meeting Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas Harrison Middle School auditorium.