Special Needs Schools in Houston
In 1967, Yvonne and Dave Streit founded The Briarwood School because they could not find an institution capable of educating their severely handicapped daughter. Mrs. Streit sampled special needs programs across the country, including Purdue and UCLA, and compiled her own program based on the information she had researched. Mrs. Streit enlisted the aid of a special education teacher, an art teacher, and a physical therapist and began instructing six students in her backyard. The Briarwood School has since moved to west Houston, and over 9,000 students have attended The Briarwood School since its inception.
Crossroads School is a private, co-educational school for students with learning differences. It was founded in 1977 by Ms. Carol Garnett, who holds a Master’s in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in learning disabilities. She envisioned Crossroads as a place where students with learning disabilities could receive the specialized instruction they needed to thrive. With Ms. Garnett’s retirement, Gila Arnoni, Ph.D. succeeded her as head of school. Dr. Arnoni holds her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. She also has many years of experience in education, research, and program development. Dr. Arnoni believes that “every child should have a place where learning is nurtured and individual paths to success are emphasized.” This is the guiding philosophy of the school today. The ultimate goal of the program is to equip students to re-enter the educational mainstream and continue to flourish.
The Joy School
The Joy School (TJS) was founded in 1997 by a team of educators, clinicians, and parents with the goal of meeting the needs of students with learning differences. The founders include parents of a special needs child, an optometrist who spent 40 years researching children with learning differences, and a public school teacher who is now the Head of School. They founded the school because they felt there was an underserved need in Houston. Their mission is to “prepare students with learning differences to return to traditional classroom settings.” Over the past 15 years, 350 students have attended TJS and either stayed through 8th grade and graduated or returned to traditional schools after a few years of attendance. In response to school growth, TJS is building a new campus.