Pathways School of Excellence Now Open

On the morning of September 6, 2016, Southeastern University made history by opening the first university-based school in Polk County dedicated to serving middle school, high school and post-secondary students with special needs—Pathways School of Excellence.

Starting on the path
“This school is a shining example of a dream made reality,” said Dr. Amy Bratten, dean of the College of Education.

The idea for the school came from a conversation between Dr. Bratten and a longtime friend, whose teenage son has autism. “We realized that there is a real need out there…a need for students of this age range and these varied abilities to have a place to learn and grow. They need a safe, nurturing environment made specifically to accommodate their learning, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.”

When Dr. Bratten proposed the idea to the leadership team of Southeastern, she had hardly finished the first sentence when the team responded with a resounding said ‘yes.’

“This is a perfect fit for Southeastern…it meets our core values of faith, learning, and life,” said president Dr. Kent Ingle.

Making it happen
In just less than a year, Pathways School of Excellence was ready to open its doors…thanks to the countless hours of research, planning, and dedication that was put into it. The result is a newly remodeled section of the College of Education building, which consists of an administrative office/lobby, director’s office, three classrooms, and a sensory room.

One classroom serves high school and post-secondary transition students, another classroom serves middle school students, and another is designed for students with communication and sensory needs. When students feel overwhelmed or need a break, the sensory room provides lower lighting and specialized equipment, such as textured surfaces, soft toys, “fidgets,” exercise balls and an enclosed swing.

As of opening day, 20 students have enrolled and 3 faculty members are here to minister to them, and to work alongside the students and their parents to achieve new levels of success.

“The heart of what we do is serve others,” said Dr. Bratten. “We’re excited to see what God is going to do here.”

The cost for attending Pathways School of Excellence is $16,300, per student per scholastic year, and outside scholarships are accepted. Visit their website for more information. For an application, contact the school at pathways@seu.edu.