A school housing dozens of high school students with emotional disorders could close next school year, according to a Metro Nashville Public School official.
District officials said the decision to close Johnson School is not yet final. But MNPS Chief Operating Officer Fred Carr said the district is considering the closure and is determining exactly where those students would be sent in the fall if the school is shut down.
“We’re looking at how we can better serve those kids,” said Carr. “We’re also looking at adding some other programs into that building, what programs can we consolidate into that building that would make use of the facility.”
With roughly 50 special education students, Johnson School houses some of the district’s most difficult-to-teach high schoolers, including those who exhibit characteristics of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Each student has their own individualized education program, known as an IEP, which lays out educational goals for that student given their disability.
The school is located just south of downtown on Second Avenue and Chestnut Street. Students attend the school from around the district, but up until this year, their standardized test scores were reported with their home school because the school was considered a program. This is the first year the institution has been designated as a school, according to MNPS.
Students could be integrated into a program like Spectrum Academy, a contract school that handles students with serious behavior issues and developmental disabilities, or integrated into a specialty program at another traditional school.
“They wouldn’t all go to one other location,” Carr said.
Johnson School’s goals include “improving student's behavioral adjustment, self-esteem and social skills; increasing self-control and problem-solving skills; helping students explore and understand their feelings; preparing students for successful transition back to their school of zone and/or post-secondary life,” according to MNPS’ school profile.
The decision to close the school is up to the district’s central office and does not need approval from the school board, according to Carr.