The Extensions Program, a Montgomery County Public Schools special needs program, will officially begin using classroom space at Albert Einstein High School in September.
According to Gwendolyn Mason, director of Special Education Services for Montgomery County, students in the program have disabilities and require "systematic support.”
The program—a self-contained class separate from the rest of the school body—currently uses classes at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg. However, the growing size made expansion necessary, and officials determined that Albert Einstein was the best location.
“We were approached last September about housing the classes in some of our empty classrooms, and agreed with the county,” said Albert Einstein Principal Jim Fernandez. “We’re losing two classrooms to the program, including one of our art classrooms, but the county will make that up to us.”
According to Fernandez, the Extensions students will arrive in different transportation and use their own classrooms, with the exceptions of using the school gym for physical education classes.
Three teachers, hired by the program and not the school, will teach students. In addition, each student will work with his or her own paraeducator.
Mason said that the program has been in existence for 10 years and has proven to be successful.
“We measure success by the availability of resources that allow students to receive support,” she said. “In 10 years, we haven’t had to send anyone to a non-public school, so it has been beneficial for the students and their families.”
In a statement on the school’s website, Fernandez notified Einstein parents and students of the upcoming changes. He said that in the weeks since he posted the message, no one has contacted him with any concerns.
“It’s clear that we have a warm and welcoming school community, and we are looking forward to working with the Extensions program,” he said.