The 2022-2023 school year marks 25 years that the Renaissance School has served our community. This K-8 school is for students who qualify for services through the special education process at their public school and are on an Individualized Education Plan or IEP.
“We work with children who cannot safely behave in a public school setting,” said Stuart Beddie, director of the school. “Their education is ongoing, but intensive treatment is needed for daily social and emotional management. The goal is for students to safely return to a regular classroom.”
The school serves students from the Lewiston and Auburn school districts, as well as other districts from which students can travel daily, including Cumberland and Oxford counties.
St. Mary’s Renaissance students receive the highest level of care available outside of a residential or inpatient facility. The program boasts small classes of six to eight students taught by special education teachers. In addition, students have access to a full-time psychiatric nurse, consulting psychiatrist, occupational therapists, speech services and behavioral health professionals. Each student also receives a personal case manager who oversees their individual education and therapy needs.
Beddie added, “We’re proud to serve our students in a non-clinical setting that provides them with the opportunity to just be kids while learning and growing in a supportive environment. We believe this is the best way to prepare them for their return to a school setting with their peers.”
The school playground provides recreation and an opportunity to practice social skills in a non-classroom setting.
The physical therapy room is equipped with tools that help students develop their fine and gross motor skills under the direction of a therapist.
Celebrating successes is a regular part of the school’s program.
“Our commitment to students extends beyond their time with us. One student, who was on the autism spectrum and struggled with emotional intensity issues, returned to a public high school after attending Renaissance School for three years and completing eighth grade. Throughout his high school years, the student regularly checked in with school staff to ensure this transition continued to be successful and to thank his teachers for the care they showed him. This student graduated from public high school and continued his education at a community college.”
– Stuart Beddie, director