THE SPECIAL CHILDREN'S SCHOOL HISTORY
It was 1973 when 11 churches in the Northwest sector of Winston-Salem joined together to sponsor the Northwest Ministry Special Interest Center. These Northwest Ministry churches were Bethania Baptist, Bethania Moravian, Brookstown Methodist, New Hope Methodist, Old Town Baptist, Old Town Presbyterian, Olivet Moravian, Pfafftown Baptist, Pfafftown Christian, Providence Lutheran, and Trinity Christian. St. Anne's Episcopal joined the Northwest Ministry in 1983. One of the ministries of these churches was to serve children with moderate, severe, and profound disabilities. This ministry became Northwest Ministry Developmental Day Services - - today called The Special Children's School.
The school grew to include 22 students in 1983. Children attending the school came from all socio-economic backgrounds ranging from 3 years to 12 years of age. The city's first Early Intervention Program serving infants and toddlers was added in May of 1983.
After growing to 39 students in 1986, the school expanded to 50 students in 1990. This was a result of United Way funding that enabled the use of an annex in the Old Town Civic Center. This was used until 1994. During this time meals for the children were transported from the main building on Shattalon Drive.
As a result of a successful Capital Campaign in the early 1990's, The Special Children's School now serves 128 children between the ages of 3 to 12 years. Our special needs children are surrounded by typically developing children. As a result, children with and without disabilities are playing and learning side by side. They are cared for by a highly specialized staff of teachers, family support staff, nurse, and therapists in a 22,000 square foot building. Although the school serves twice as many children than six years ago, a waiting list remains.
In 2007 The Special Children's School formed a partnership with the Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools in order to better serve both children with special needs and typically developing children. Up until this time the school was private but, is now considered a public school. In 2010 The Special Children's School and The Children's Center Merged to form The Center's For Exceptional Children. This merger has been a unique partnership between a non-profit organization and the local public school system.
There are still more children to be served and to do this we need continued support from our friends in the community. The dreams of children are within your reach.