Lakeland School welcomed students back for the 2022-2023 school year on Thursday, September 1, with smiles and big hugs all around from teachers and staff.
Lakeland School offers a highly structured program for students with disabilities ages 3 to 21. It is our goal to create a safe, resourceful learning environment that empowers each learner to reach his or her potential.
The school is an integral part of Walworth County's Special Education system, providing services to students from the county’s 15 school districts. Districts utilize Lakeland School's program based on Individual Education Plan (IEP) team recommendations. After Lakeland School is determined to be the appropriate environment, students benefit from the expert staff, low student-to-teacher ratio, and an opportunity to develop friendships among a sizeable peer group. Lakeland School offers all students safety, structure, and personalized attention and care that meets their individual needs.
Walworth County has a long commitment to championing educational opportunities for children with special educational needs. That history starts with Sheridan Ellsworth, the county’s superintendent of schools from 1949 to 1956, who helped start a Special Services Committee comprised of educators, professionals, parents, and other community representatives who were tasked with developing an effective rural approach to educating students with disabilities. The first class met in September 1950 in a leased space at the VFW in Elkhorn and was comprised of just 14 students. In September 1955, a three-room Special School opened its doors to 49 students and three teachers. Several additions were made to the old Lakeland School in the 1960s and 1970s before the County broke ground on the construction of the current state-of-the-art building in 2007.
Today, Lakeland School provides services to nearly 150 students. Walworth County is one of only three Wisconsin counties to operate a special needs education program, and only one other county—Brown County—operates a stand-alone school like Lakeland.
We are exceedingly proud of our students and grateful for the opportunity to continue to provide world-class educational services to meet their needs.