High Hopes in action

Franklin’s High Hopes Development Center and Nashville’s Lipscomb Academy recently forged a historic partnership on Lipscomb’s lower school campus to better serve children in need of therapeutic services.

Physically located in the heart of Lipscomb’s Solly School, High Hopes' first-of-its-kind satellite clinic will offer therapeutic services for Lipscomb Academy students as well as outpatients from the surrounding Davidson County community. The High Hopes clinic at the Solly School will replicate the therapy experience of the main campus in Franklin. Children will benefit from large treatment areas, private therapy rooms and a sensory space, all outfitted with developmentally appropriate equipment that makes therapy effective and fun, per a release. 

“Expanding our therapy services and reaching more families in Davidson County has long been an ambition of ours, and we’re incredibly grateful to Lipscomb Academy and the Solly School for turning those dreams into a reality,” High Hopes Executive Director Gail Powell said in a press release.

Since its establishment 37 years ago, High Hopes says it has met the needs of children and their families by creating an inclusive preschool and pediatric therapy clinic in one location. By combining both academic and therapeutic necessities, High Hopes is the only organization to incorporate this unique model in Williamson County, a service that will now be available to Lipscomb Academy students and children in Davidson County at Lipscomb’s Solly School.

“This is a wonderful example of synergy where one plus one equals three,” said Brad Schultz, Lipscomb Academy head of school. “These are two wonderful organizations whose combined efforts are not only magnified but also create a much needed service in the Nashville community." 

Added Janna Woodason, director of Solly School: “This one-of-a-kind partnership between High Hopes and Lipscomb Academy benefits parents, as well as their children. Having a therapy location on campus allows students to receive more academic time in the classroom as the need for travel to an off-campus site by a parent is eliminated. It is an advantageous situation for all.”

The Solly School launched its academic program during the 2019-20 school year on Lipscomb Academy’s lower school campus with one student. As an inclusionary school, students with and without learning differences learn together and are welcomed holistically in the classroom. The Solly School was made possible through a lead gift from Lipscomb’s board of trustees member Jim Griffith and his wife, Pam. The new $6.5 million facility opened January 2021 and is now home to 13 students with special needs.

“Written on the wall in the Solly School is a reminder to all why Lipscomb Academy stepped into the Solly School,” Schultz said. “‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made,’ and it is important for all students to know they belong here. The Solly School is an extension of who we are, and we treasure the gift of inclusionary education that has been shared with us.”

Students enrolled in the Solly School are educated among their typically developing peers just as High Hopes educates students enrolled in their preschool and kindergarten programs.

Additionally, at Lipscomb’s Solly School, included in the cost of attendance, each Solly School student is equipped with a personal teaching assistant to aid the student throughout the day.

Named in honor of the Griffiths’ grandson Solly Rodan, a pediatric stroke survivor, the Solly School was born out of a need in the Nashville area to serve children with special needs once they reach elementary school age.

Camie Rodan, mother of Solly and daughter of Jim and Pam Griffith, said the dream of an inclusionary school was brought to fruition through the passion of her parents to help children. 

“That generosity, that passion to help kids has just translated into helping children with disabilities because of the impact that Solly has had on our lives. That’s where the Solly School was built out of.”