The transition from Blanchard Valley Center to HCESC will be complete in the 2023-24 school year.

FINDLAY, Ohio — The next school year will see some changes for children with disabilities in Hancock County.

Over the past few years, Hancock County Development Council school classes for children with developmental disabilities are gradually being canceled.

Instead, students were returned to their home school districts.

After the end of the 2022-23 school year, the only classroom that will remain for students with disabilities will be the preschool at Blanchard Valley School, which will be operated by Hancock County Education Center.

“Expertise in education,” said HCESC Superintendent Jeff Young. Where (HCBDD’s) real focus was on developmental disabilities, we’re focused on the educational part.”

The three-year agreement will allow HCESC to oversee the preschool classroom, freeing up more resources for HCBDD to focus on adult programming.

“They built a beautiful facility, they have a sensory room, a beautiful playground, great equipment,” said HCESC Preschool Superintendent Donna Lasevich. “We’ll just keep an eye on the therapists, the teachers and the educational component.”

Older students who were once isolated from their peers without disabilities will now have access to more socialization and more educational resources than before.

“They are exposed to people without disabilities,” HCBDD spokeswoman Nadine Weininger said. “That way, they could learn about things they hadn’t seen before being alone with people with disabilities.”

School psychologists and physical and occupational therapy are services that will be provided to students, Young said.

HCESC has already posted all openings for the preschool program and hopes to recruit as many existing staff as possible from the current class.

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