Nonprofit High Hopes Development Center announces inaugural state approved inclusive kindergarten classroom for the 2018-2019 school year


The Kindergarten at High Hopes will utilize the same inclusive model as their 34-year old nonprofit preschool. Approximately 40% of the students at High Hopes have a developmental delay or diagnosed special need and are educated alongside their typically-developing peers for the duration of the school day, as opposed to leaving the classroom for special education classes. Since all children are unique and learn differently, this intentional method of inclusive education yields high academic and social benefits through an individualized education tailored to the way each student best learns. The kindergarten curriculum at High Hopes will be the same used by the Williamson County School System as well as many other Tennessee school districts.  Standardized testing will also be administered to ensure developmental milestones are achieved to provide a seamless transition into first grade.

The private inclusive classroom will have a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:7 and serve 14 kindergarten students. With four years of elementary education teaching experience including Special Education and Kindergarten Inclusion in the Williamson County School System, lead teacher Kelcie Iles is excited to utilize her degree in Elementary Education with concentrations in Special Education and Literacy in such a unique inclusive education environment.  “I fully believe in the educational and social benefits of inclusion, especially implemented in early education.  The mission of High Hopes and the support made available will allow me to bring passion and excitement to the classroom every day.”

Iles will be supported by one full-time and one part-time teacher assistant.  In addition to hands-on classroom support, Iles has the leadership of High Hopes Executive Director, Gail Powell. Powell has served the children of High Hopes for over 11 years. More than an administrative figure, Powell’s diverse background in education includes elementary teaching experience as well as nineteen years in public and private school principal positions, including nine years as principal of Battle Ground Academy Lower School.

High Hopes Development Center also has a full-time nurse on staff and over 30 therapists providing physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapies to children from birth to age 21 through their on-site outpatient pediatric therapy clinic.  Over 800 children from 22 Middle Tennessee counties were provided therapeutic services last year alone.

Please visit the High Hopes website at for more information, tuition pricing, and morning and afternoon care options or contact Jessica Mizell at

High Hopes Development Center is a 34-year old non-profit organization that loves, nurtures, and educates children with and without special needs.  Children ages 6 weeks to kindergarten are educated in inclusive classrooms to support the individual needs of each child.  High Hopes also offers an on-site outpatient pediatric therapy clinic providing occupational, speech, physical, and feeding therapies to children from birth to 21 years. The mission of High Hopes Development Center is to equip children, youth, and their families with the skills necessary to achieve success through education, therapeutic services, and loving support.


For more information, visit