Paths to Independence thrives in new location
Examiner-Enterprise - 4/2/2018
April 02--Students at Bartlesville's Paths to Independence are wrapping up their first year at the school's new location -- the Will Rogers Complex.
"It's been great," says Clair Bartley, co-founder of the school for students on the autism spectrum. "We love, love, love the new building. It's a great setup for us."
Last summer, the school moved from its former location near the eastside tag office on 4041 SE Sheridan Road to the former Will Rogers Elementary School. Doors opened to students on Aug. 17, 2017.
Before the move, students received instruction at the original building, which was formerly a daycare facility, and at the nearby former Life Church facility. But attendance at the school had grown from two pupils when it was founded in 2011 to more than 50 students this year, and the former facility was just too small.
"We weren't thinking it would grow this fast. We've had to adapt. We started out renting just a little bit of the daycare building the first year. And then we rented more of the daycare building and then we were able to get a Lyon Foundation grant to purchase the building," Bartley said last summer.
So Bartley and Bartlesville Public Schools Superintendent Chuck McCauley discussed leasing options at the Will Rogers Complex for the growing PTI school. The Will Rogers Complex, a former elementary school which has housed many different services for the Bartlesville Public Schools, was and still is home to technology services and a server room and technology department.
PTI is an accredited school and is eligible to receive the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship through the state of Oklahoma.
"We start at age 3 and they can stay through their 22nd birthday. We also serve a few adults with autism or employ them part time," said Bartley.
PTI's teaching style often allows students to get up and move around, which helps make productive days in classroom. The new location has offered ample space for students and staff alike -- including spacious classrooms, two outside play areas, a full computer lab with 3D printing and a Venture Grant-funded print shop. Bartley says they are "very happy" with the new location.
"It gives us enough space that we can meet each child's needs. We have the space to do the things they need to do," she says. "I feel like we are giving them a better education."
"It just feels like a regular school. And I think that's been really important."
For more information, visit www.pathstoindependence.org or call 918-337-6231.
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