ST. ALBANS CITY — The city may be getting a new specialized day school on Brown Avenue for middle and high school students, according to recent city planning and development updates.
An application was submitted by Jamie Seeholzer for a property at 1 Brown Ave. in St. Albans City, currently listed as a single family dwelling. Pending approval from the Development Review Board, the property would be transformed into a branch of BRIGHTality Specialized Education and Support Services LLC, a one-to-one educational service “helping students in transition,” and helping students to meet their individual goals in order to be successful academically, socially and emotionally in a state-approved school, according to the proposal.
According to the proposal from BRIGHTality, the school will operate year-round 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, (8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with students) and be closed on major holidays, but would not factor typically prescribed breaks in accordance with the public schools.
They do, however, give occasional four-day weekends for students. In a summary accompanying the application submitted by Seeholzer, the mentality of BRIGHTality centers around catering to every child’s needs before and as they continue their learning.
“We recognized that there were many kids that wanted to learn, and be present, but they were unable to find themselves able to physically enter the classroom,” the summary states. “Each student was unique with their reasons, but one thing was standard; they wanted to feel heard, validated, and included. This is when I started with what one school representative calls, ‘the ice cream sundae bar of services’ — BRIGHTality works with kids to meet their individual goals and they can place any needed ingredient onto their proverbial sundae so that they can successfully fulfill their academic, social, and emotional needs.”
But at BRIGHTality, it is the setting and the one-to-one instruction that is so unique for many schools. With a student body cap at 15 students, BRIGHTality maintains a small group structure and home-like atmosphere and even home-like responsibilities to take care of, according to minutes from the May 3 meeting of the DRB.
“BRIGHTality was created at a time when I was working in the field of human services with too much knowledge around what I wanted to do versus what I was authorized to do,” Seeholzer’s summary states. “This time came after I had worked in the education field experiencing the same realities. There were many services available to many people, but there were some gaps that were disproportionately affecting certain groups and needs.”
Seeholzer currently runs a one-on-one operation at her current location on Swanton Road near Walmart, and in preparation for becoming a state-sponsored educational school, identified 1 Brown Ave. as the choice option for a day school open five days a week.
There would be a rolling drop off every morning from 8 to 8:30 a.m., and the pickup and drop-off location would be on the sidewalk on Brown Avenue.
The decision to approve the development of the home into a new wing of BRIGHTality is pending, according to Chip Sawyer, St. Albans City Director of Planning and Development.