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Kaleidoscope Heights opens to fill void for special needs students

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - New Summit School’s closure sent parents scrambling to find a specialized learning environment for their children.

Former teachers worked out a plan to reach the children they didn’t want to see fall behind, opening Kaleidoscope Heights Academy.

“It was one of those things where God opened door after door,” said Kaleidoscope Heights Academy President and founding member Kristen Moore.

The doors to the school in Jackson opened the last week of August to offer classes for students with special needs. Moore is a 16-year educator who teaches career, English and music. She is one of the educators who, along with Jenny King, worked to establish the new school.

“Nowhere in any public school could they have an experience like this where they have the small class sizes and the teachers that are here to accommodate and modify as necessary,” said Moore.

There are K-12 classes for students with dyslexia to autism, as well as speech and behavioral therapy. “This school has come so far since our old school was shut down,” said student Michael Harris.

The seventh grader was just elected student council secretary. His favorite class is science.

“I get to learn how many things there are in science and how to make chemicals and how to save the environment or earth and our planet,” said Harris.

There are currently 78 students and 15 teachers. Seventeen-year-old Hillary Iercil spent fourth through 11th grade at New Summit.

“There are a lot more kids that are like me. I have autism,” said Iercil. “I have some mild insecurities, and I’m different from a lot of other kids.”

“Absolutely mind blowing to see these students get a great education and have a place that they can fit in and they feel like they can thrive,” said Headmaster Ashley Tyson.

There are about 20 openings. Applications are being taken for the 2021-2022 school year.

Kaleidoscope Heights plans a fall festival and fundraiser November 20. To donate or learn more about the private school, go to their website at https://www.kaleidoscopeheights.org/ .

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