Margaret K. Lewis School helps students with unique needs

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MILLVILLE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For some students, learning disabilities or disorders make it nearly impossible to be part of a regular classroom, which is why special purpose schools are so important. Thursday, NewsChannel 7 was given a closer look at what a day in the life looks like working with students who have unique needs.

Margaret K. Lewis is a special purpose school in Millville, one of only three in the district. They provide students with the quality education they deserve in an environment designed to meet their needs.

For principal Lori Hast, there’s no greater joy than seeing her students smile.

“It’s been one of the greatest honored of my life to be here and lead the team at Margaret K. Lewis. Our work is so important. Not just for the students that we serve but for the families and the community at large,” Hast said.

MKL serves kids with disabilities as young as three years old teaching social, physical, and emotional skills.

“You’ll see a lot of different devices, picture symbols, and different modes that we use to help give our kids a way to communicate well as possible,” Hast said.

Students graduate academy at 18 years old, but many of them stay an extra four so they feel more prepared when it comes to getting a job or volunteer work.

“They’re a visible sign to everyone around them that just because you may have a limitation or a disability doesn’t mean you can’t. It means you can with the right level of support and help. You can be just as independent and successful as anyone else,” Hast said.

The school currently has roughly 175 students, which is a number Hast said just keeps going up. She said they’ve already used every single available classroom. Bay District Schools is considering ways to expand, possibly switching to a larger campus so more students can have a chance to shine.

“Students have the opportunity to really be a rock star here. They can really shine because all of their needs are met. they’re safe and secure here,” Hast said.

The first two weeks of October are designated as Disability History and Awareness Weeks in Florida. Bay District Schools has been honoring that since day one, recognizing different programs offered locally for those with unique needs.

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