Emotionally troubled students set to land at Gales Creek

Former grade school will house 'intensive' program

When the new school year begins next month, about 100 students who used to roam the hallways at Forest Grove's Gales Creek Elementary will be gone.

The school board closed the 152-year-old school during budget cuts last spring and invited parents to send their children to Dilley Elementary instead. Some will and some won't, but after Labor Day the Gales Creek building will be home to between eight and 12 middle school and high school students who need extra, and in some cases intensive, therapies in order to succeed.

Special education coordinator Kim Shearer, who oversees the district's Therapeutic Day Treatment Program, told the board Monday that the students, all diagnosed with social, emotional and mental health issues, will receive bi-weekly mental health services and academic tutoring there. The students used to be housed in the Beaverton and Tigard-Tualatin districts in a program administered by the Washington County Education Service District, said special education director Brad Bafaro.

Classes will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Friday for the students, all in grades six to 12. 'Our ultimate goal is to get them to go back to their regular school,' Shearer said.

The program will cost the district $315,000 this year, according to business manager Mike Schofield.