LAKELAND — Southeastern University is making room on its Lakeland campus for a new school to serve physically and intellectually disabled students in grades six through 12, and a bit beyond.
Pathways School of Excellence is expected to debut in the fall with approximately 30 students. Classes will coincide with the university’s regular fall and spring semester schedule.

Tuition for the new program is $16,300 annually. Pathways will accept outside scholarships, including the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities.

“Pathways is an extension of what Southeastern is already doing through empowering students to live out their calling,” Kent Ingle, SEU’s president, said in a news release. “At Southeastern, we are dedicated to equipping our students to live out their divine design through a Christ-centered, student-focused institution.”

Pathways is designed as an alternative setting to programs in the Polk County School District that serve children with intellectual disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Students will be immersed in a college setting, where they’ll intermingle with Southeastern students, some of whom are studying for careers in exceptional student education and other disciplines specific to people with disabilities, said Amy Bratten, who will oversee Pathways as dean of SEU’s college of education.

The collaborative nature between the two schools will expose students with learning disabilities to a broad spectrum of older students and experiences, Bratten said, including art and music therapy and physical education.

By Eric Pera

The Ledger