PARMA, Ohio — After a slight construction delay, Parma City Schools’ new A.C.E.S. (Accept, Champion, Educate and Support) Center for Education is nearly finished.
The innovative program designed to better serve special education students — specifically children with autism — is located at Parma Senior High School.
“We’re about two weeks out from the actual facility, which is currently being finished,” said Robert Hoon, director of the district’s Office of Exceptional Students. “So we’re using a temporary space for right now, which we opened the last week. It was a fantastic first week back.
“The students have been completely engaged with our staff, teachers, assistants and related service providers. We’ve done a phenomenal job of getting them acclimated to the center.”
That acclimation included A.C.E.S. Center personnel recently providing families and students with a personalized virtual tour of the 3,400-square-foot facility. Formerly two large classrooms, the space has been repurposed into three classrooms, a sensory room, a conference room, a safe space, an office and ad hoc areas.
A.C.E.S. Center for Education will initially serve K-5 students who have a medical and educational primary diagnosis of autism. The program is designed to provide a highly individualized, therapeutic-based program.
“It’s not structured like a traditional school,” Hoon said. “This program was designed so we could meet the unique needs of these learners. They’re not having to necessarily rotate from class to class to class.
“It’s in an area that is completely removed from the other students at Parma Senior High. There’s a separate access point