The mission of the Special Education Department at Merrillville High School is to provide young adults with special education needs. Our environment will assist them to reach their potential as self-supporting members of society. Our department believes that we should educate all eligible children with special needs and provide equal educational opportunities to all students and we also encourage parents to become effective participants in the educational, social and economic development of their child. Educating the community and local businesses to accept, accommodate and utilize persons with disabilities enables students to become productive young adults in society. The Special Education Department at Merrillville High School offers two separate curricula to serve the needs of approximately 330 students. Programs are developed which prepare students academically, socially, and vocationally for their role in society.
Our first program, which is academic and vocationally oriented, offers a full continuum of services ranging from self-contained classrooms to consultation only. Most of our students are included in general education classes, although students have access to all classes and programs offered at Merrillville High School. Learning disabled, mildly mentally handicapped and emotionally handicapped students are able to utilize the resource room in which they can receive individualized assistance with classwork, study skill techniques, or have tests read. After an annual case review, modifications for classes are determined based upon students' needs. Courses are also determined at this time and attempts are made to include our special needs students in inclusion classes. These classes usually have a special education facilitator assigned to them as well. These students follow the same sequence of courses as general education students.
The second program, which involves students with a moderate mental handicap, seeks to provide a vocational/life skills curriculum. This is accomplished through a diverse system of integration and participation in general education classes, functional academics within a self-contained classroom, and life experiences through a community-based curriculum.
All students participate in some phase of vocational programming through the Work/Study Program. The Work/Study Program is designed to implement a vocational program that will assist students with disabilities in the areas of: pre-employment skills, career interest, job placement, training, and support. Through the Work/Study Program, a student will explore job options and increase his potential to function as a responsible and independent adult. Students completing their four-year programs receive either a regular high school diploma or a certificate of completion.