Starting this fall, special education services will be located closer to home for Friendswood, Pearland and Alvin ISD students.

Friendswood ISD has agreed to serve as host to these districts’ students in its new Therapeutic Education Center. The board of trustees approved a special education shared service agreement for the Therapeutic Education Center at Friendswood during its April 10 meeting.

The three districts currently each have their own program models to support students with autism. However, students with autism who are not able to be successful on a regular campus due to behavioral needs are currently served in Texas Education Agency-approved out-of-district or nonpublic day schools. These schools are located one to three hours away from students’ district of residence, according to a presentation to the board.

The districts are collaborating to provide programming closer to home to students who demonstrate these needs through the TEC.

The TEC will begin serving students in August at the Friendswood ISD Annex Building. FISD will provide instruction and behavior support, while the students' district of residence will be responsible for other related services and designing the Individualized Education Programs. The center will require eight positions: a site coordinator, board-certified behavior analyst, two teachers and four paraprofessionals including a certified nursing assistant.

FISD applied for and received a $1.3 million grant from the TEA over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years to fund the start-up and training provided by the University of Houston Clear Lake Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.