The Story of Sprayberry
Imagine a place of learning, laughing and loving, a place where music, magic and miracles happen every day. A place where you very well might meet a student dressed as Queen Victoria or see a child taking his very first steps in the same hall. Look again and see a host of students entering the ”Great Hall” for a Medieval Feast or a child learning to operate her electric wheelchair as you pass through the cafeteria. Hear the sounds of preschool children singing of Dinosaurs, Days of the Week and Hungry Alligators as they learn to listen and respond to each other and their teachers. Imagine a place where each individual is valued regardless of abilities or disabilities; each child is taught according to his or her specific needs, and every child experiences success – whether in the small turn of a head or in the production of an award winning work of art. Now, open your eyes to see a cluster of mismatched buildings known as The Sprayberry Education Center and witness these very special imaginings becoming a reality!
The Sprayberry Education Center, formally known as The Regional Education Center, was established in 1974 as a program designed to serve children with special needs in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding counties. Parents, lead by Mrs. Shirley Peeples along with Mr. Michael E. Middleton, long time supporter and Principal, joined forces with local legislators and Dr. Charles Sprayberry, Superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System. This dedicated group traveled to Montgomery to obtain federal funding for what was called a “very innovative program” designed to serve exceptional students, many of who had never been given the opportunity to receive an education before. In 1978, the First Phase of the building program was initiated and in 1980 the TARGET (Team Action and Resources for Gifted Education in Tuscaloosa) was relocated to the Sprayberry Campus.
The Sprayberry Education Center has changed through the years to meet the changing demands of special education in the Tuscaloosa County School System. Today, many wonderful programs are housed at the center including early intervention classes for preschool children, class for children with multiple disabilities, behavioral disorders, special medical needs and autism. The TARGET program serves over five hundred children from elementary schools around the county. The center provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for its students.