Up until that time all students with special needs of any sort in any grade level were collected together in Mrs. Fowler's class. I know she did her best but there was very little expectation that the students would learn very much. I remember them all congregating together in a corner of the playground during recess. The following year, 1976 I think it was, the Special Needs class was disbanded and the students "mainstreamed" to the appropriate grade throughout the school.
The change in the school was stunning and I remember it so clearly all these years later. I had two students, a boy and girl come into my class and although I don't remember their names I do remember they were both ethnic West Indian. Within six months, the time between reading assessments, both of their statistical reading ages had increased by more than two and a half years but, more importantly, they had made friends of their own age with whom they played during recess and after school. Gone was the stigma of Mrs Fowler's Special Class and in it's place a school-wide increase in the level of expectations of what the students with special needs could achieve.