NHA Welcomes Koo Koo Kangaroo

NHA Welcomes Koo Koo Kangaroo

After months of fundraising including a Spaghetti Supper, Spirit Wear sales, and donations, New Horizons Academy (NHA) is pleased and honored to welcome the early intervention group, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, on May 6th at 10:30 a.m. at Pettisville Missionary Church. Koo Koo Kanga Roo will be entertaining all of the students at both NHA’s Wauseon and Springfield Campuses.

According to their web site, Koo Koo Kanga Roo was created by Bryan Atchison and Neil Olstad in 2008 in Winona, Minnesota. After being in a campus rock band for the first few years of college, the guys created Koo Koo as an experimental project for St. Mary’s University’s annual battle of the bands. The idea centered around crowd participation, comedy and dance music, stretching the concept of a what a “band” could be. Later on, Koo Koo began creating “dance-a-long” videos (initially as something of a joke) for their songs in order to help demonstrate the moves that audiences would need to know at their shows. These videos were unexpectedly a hit with elementary school teachers, which led Koo Koo into the world of children’s music and becoming a “real” kids band.

NHA’s students are so looking forward to seeing, hearing, and dancing along with Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Fundraising Chair Laura Vasko, Committee Chair Olivia Brink, and Community Outreach Coordinator Tara Dumas all would like to thank all of the staff who helped with the fundraising and planning efforts, and they would like to send out a special thank you to the following sponsors and donors:

  • Meijer—Central Ave—Store #117
  • Mossburg Family
  • Bishop Family
  • Cardenas Family
  • American Legion, Bert G Taylor Post 300
  • Beck Family
  • Chestnut Family
  • Otis Family
  • Anonymous (3)

For more information on Koo Koo Kanga Roo or to check out their videos before their May 6th performance, log onto https://kookookangaroo.com/

NHA Barbershop

NHA Barbershop

Many children with special needs, learning difficulties, or sensory issues, experience difficulties coping with important daily life activities such as getting a haircut. Some children get very upset and refuse to go to a barber shop/hair stylist. Others are only able to tolerate a very brief visit to the hair stylist. This seemingly simple activity can be a challenging and frustrating experience for everyone.

For years, we have dreamed of setting up a life skills hair salon lab. Enter our angel with barber shears, Page Green! Paige recently approached Marty, asking if he was aware of any places she could volunteer her time cutting hair. As a matter of fact, we did! 

The purpose of this real life, life skills lab is to reduce the child’s anxiety about this important activity and help reinforce the desired and appropriate behavior from the student when getting their hair cut in a positive, upbeat way.

This week we had our first student sessions to test out our new lab and it was a huge success. Parents will be able to sign their children up for the program and provide input and suggestions on how they would like their hair cut and styled.

Now we just have two things lacking: a name and salon decor. We are having a contest with our classrooms to decide the name for our new salon and asking students to create artwork that we can use to decorate it.

We would like to thank Ivan Hite and John Loar for donating the salon equipment needed to make this lab a reality!

If you are experiencing challenges with your child when it is time to get a haircut, please let us know. We are more than happy to provide you with some tips and strategies that may help make the experience less stressful!

2022 NHA Graduation Planned

2022 NHA Graduation Planned

New Horizons Academy (NHA) would like to congratulate its very first Springfield Campus Graduates! Way to go, Class of 2022!

NHA is so pleased and proud to announce that its 2022 Graduation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. at the Springfield Campus, 6201 Trust Drive, Holland, Ohio. The graduates are asked to arrive by 9:00 a.m.

“We are so proud of our first class of high school graduates! After just a few short years as a new school in the Greater Toledo-area, it is amazing to see our first set of graduates cross the stage and accept their diplomas,” shared NHA Principal Marty Friess.

The graduating Class of 2022 includes John “Wyatt” Serrato and Christian Jadwisiak. Wyatt is the son of Suzanne and John Serrato, Jr. Springfield Local Schools is his home school district, where he participated on the high school golf team. Wyatt has also been active in Lucas County Special Olympics and helped the D2 Basketball Team defeat the Columbus Comets and become the Ohio State Champions.

Christian is the son of Jeffrey and Christina Jadwisiak. Christian’s home school district is also Springfield Local Schools; and before enrolling in NHA, he attended Summit Academy of Toledo.

Christian completed his NHA coursework in December and began working part-time while Wyatt has participated in part-time employment and Work Study for the last year. They are both looking forward to graduating in May.

Congratulations to our graduates! We truly wish you the best, and we hope that everyone, who is available, will come out on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate their accomplishments with us.

A Pirate Christmas

A Pirate Christmas

A Pirate Christmas stole hearts and shared the spirit of Christmas!

After a one year hiatus due to COVID, New Horizons Academy’s annual Christmas musical returned to the Pettisville Missionary Church stage on December 14, 2021. The musical featured pirates and elves stealing our hearts and sharing the spirit of Christmas in A Pirate Christmas: The Musical by John Jacobson and Roger Emerson.

The sentiment heard over and over throughout the evening was “I’m so glad to see our kids back up on the stage. They are true stars and inspirations to us all!”

Just like the exhausted elves in the musical had to confront the rollicking pirates to find their inspiration and Christmas spirit, NHA’s special needs kids confronted their anxiety, fears, nerves, and stage fright to show us all the true meaning of courage and Christmas.

The contingent of vacationing elves was led by Head Elf Rebecca Myers and the legendary White Beard (aka Santa Claus) Josiah Acevedo while the salty crew of pirates were led by the Pirate Captain Anne Deffenbaugh and the Tiny Pirate Vivian Beck as together, they discovered what true treasure really is.

Our inspirational, preschool to high school cast members included:

  • Elves—Odin Tressler, Jeremiah Hernandez, Bruce Babcock, Ruby Snider, Danny Halmi, Annabelle Buehrer, Temperence Gillen, Jase Tressler, Orion Bailey-Lacy, Remington Shulters, Chance Zolman, Chase Thompson, Raylan Holbrook, Kyson Davidson, Axl McCarthy, Molly Boylan, Mark Jacobs, Danielle Tillson, Nadia Hancher, Breya Zolman, Clara Hollo, Eric Spiller, Joseph Green, Jimmy Forrest, Abbie Thomas, Cierra Flores, Lily Ringler, Sam Allen, Justin Bauer, Grayson Snider, and Michael Graham with Reindeer Luke Chambers and Jackson Snider.
  • Tiny Pirates—Colt Tammarine, Elena Smith, Ella Sancrant, Silas Johnson, Samuel Jimenez, Caleb Martin, Aliza Murray, Derek Ramey, Jensen Davenport, Owen Lewis, Tyler Shelton, Draven Tressler, Gavin Appel, Maverick McCarthy, Flynn Gallagher, William Ash, and Dakota Bricker.
  • Pirates—Isaiah Canales, Darien Homan, Levi Bettinger, Jackson Steiner (and parrot), Eli Saneholtz, Alexander Aguirre, Ben Rickenberg, Kamil Plaza, Seamus Brookes, Ethan Pieper, Taylar Alpaugh, Ashlyn Impton, Cole Hicks, Christian Lee, Izzy Armas, Liberty Wilson, Isiah Anders, Sterling Snider, Jaedyn Knight, Elizabeth Heberling, Auron Tanksley, Dominic Petz, Emma Wymer, Julie Stiff, Mason Rego, Syndel Barker, Cadince Ramirez, and Josh Parran.

Together, they performed Island Christmas; Pirates All Are We; Give and Take; Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Boots; He’s a Pirate; It’s Cool To Be Cool; Christmas Joy; Blimey Carols; and Silent Night.

In addition to the cast of elves and pirates, NHA students served as:

  • Channel 1 News Casters—Noah Nagel, Gabe Hobby, Kyler Campbell, Daymon Plassman, and Tyler Davidoff
  • Living Nativity Members—Omira Santillanes, Mark Jacobs, Cole Hicks, Ashlyn Impton, Ruby Snider, Jaedyn Knight, Emma Wymer, Danielle Tillson, Beaux Barrett, Lily Ringler, Christian Lee, Josh Parran, and Mason Rego.
  • Backstage and Lobby Assistants—Noah Nagel, Ava Keim, Tony Conti, Chase Burmeister, Gavin Leal, Alex Williams, Jackson Snider, Hannah Engler, Chloe Ruhnke, and Justin Tanksley.

This inspirational, Christmas musical was made possible by our dedicated NHA staff and teachers, especially Music Teacher Melissa Valentine. This was her creation and brain child. Without Melissa, this Christmas miracle would not have been possible. Without all of her hard work, vision, dedication, and creativity, the show would not have gone on. She found or created the absolute perfect role for each of our students’ abilities and personalities and corralled and coached over 100 of our special needs kids through the entire Christmas show. Melissa was truly our North Star, leading the way to Christmas!

If you missed this special Christmas production, check out our photos on Facebook or log onto our YouTube channel for your own special, encore performance.

2021-22 NHA Yearbook Sponsorship

2021-22 NHA Yearbook Sponsorship

We are so thankful to our sponsors for making this past year’s yearbook project possible.

Our goal is to once again provide our students and their parents with this very special memento. We hope to raise funds through sponsors in order to keep the costs of the yearbooks as low as possible, so that more students and their families will be able to afford one.

We invite you to consider being a sponsor of this very special project!

We also gladly accept general donations for those not interested in being recognized as sponsors.

COST: $150.00

This level of sponsorship includes a 3.75″ x 4.25″ (approx.) color advertisement in the yearbook, recognition on our website and recognition on social media with a link to your business’ social media page or website.

COST: $90.00

This level of sponsorship includes a business card sized color advertisement in the yearbook and recognition on our website.

COST: $30.00

This level of sponsorship includes your business or name listed in the yearbook and website.


  • Advertisements must be received by March 31, 2022.
  • Ads can be emailed in .jpg/.jpeg format to karab@sarasgarden.org.
  • Ads may be dropped off at Sara’s Garden or New Horizons Academy.

Sara’s Garden is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep your email donation receipt as your official record. We’ll send it to you upon successful completion of your donation.

Save the Date for the NHA Christmas Musical

Save the Date for the NHA Christmas Musical

Save the date for Tuesday, December 14! You’re not going to want to miss this ye mateys!

The kiddos at NHA’s Wauseon campus will be presenting their annual Christmas musical: A Pirate Christmas!

After missing last year due to unfortunate COVID restrictions, this year’s musical will be an Elves vs. Pirates event as they try to figure out what Christmas is all about!

Please get this date on your calendar and plan to be available from approximately 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. that evening. The musical will once again be held at Pettisville Missionary Church. Obviously we will be monitoring the ever-changing state and health department COVID guidelines and keep everyone informed of any potential issues in scheduling.

If you are new to the NHA family and aren’t familiar with our musicals, ask someone who was here in either 2018 or 2019 – they have been a huge success and our students absolutely love them!



New Horizons Academy (NHA) is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will do everything in our power to keep them safe! As we begin the second nine weeks of school, we continue to follow the recommendations of the 2021-22 COVID-19 Health and Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools from the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education.

This school year, we have continued to work extremely hard to minimize in-school coronavirus transmission and to keep our students in-person at NHA. We have instituted a mask-recommended rather than a mask-mandated environment along with continued social distancing, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing, rigorous cleaning, and grade-level pods. We have been remarkably successful with just 6 individuals testing positive for COVID-19:

  • 1 student and 1 staff member at our Springfield Campus
  • 2 students and 1 staff member at our Career Center
  • 1 staff member at our Wauseon Campus

Recently, the state of Ohio has seen a decline in new coronavirus cases, and we would like to see that trend continue. To do that, we are asking you to continue to:

  • Keep your children home when they are sick
  • Remind them to wash their hands often with soap and water
  • Encourage them to carry and use hand sanitizer
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Socially distance at community and group events

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, we want all of our families to celebrate together and celebrate safely. Thank you for helping us to keep our students and staff healthy and safe this school year!

NHA Parent-Teacher Conferences

NHA Parent-Teacher Conferences

For our New Horizons Academy (NHA) parents, parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner on November 1-2. If you haven’t already scheduled one with your child’s teacher, please do so today.

Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to develop or deepen the partnership between parents and teachers. You both want your child to learn, grow, and become as independent as he or she possibly can. Use this opportunity to find out how your child is doing in school and what you can do to help.

Before the conference:

  1. If you haven’t already, schedule a time to meet. Please send back your parent-teacher conference sign-up form with any requests to meet with specific teachers, staff, or specialists.
  2. Review your child’s progress reports and grade card.
  3. Talk with your child and other family members about how they think the school year is going and what your child’s strengths and needs are.
  4. Make a list of questions to ask during the conference.

During the conference:

  1. Remember that it is a two-way conversation and that it works best when both teachers and parents talk and listen.
  2. Share your questions and concerns with the teacher.
  3. Celebrate your child’s accomplishments, and work with the teacher on ways to help your child grow and improve.
  4. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn and grow.

While talking with the teacher, please keep these basic principles in mind:

Best intentions assumed
Emphasis on learning

Home-school collaboration
Examples and evidence
Active listening
Respect for all
Dedication to follow-up

For more information on how to make the most of your parent-teacher conference and how to strengthen the relationship with your child’s teacher, log onto the Global Family Research Project at globalfrp.org.

2021 NHA Open Houses Announced

2021 NHA Open Houses Announced

WELCOME BACK NHA STUDENTS, PARENTS & OPEN HOUSES! August 16 – Springfield Campus August 17 – Wauseon & Career Center Campuses

After missing out on last year’s school open houses because of COVID, we are so grateful that the Ohio Department of Education is going to allow open houses this year! We are excited to welcome back all of our New Horizons Academy (NHA) students and parents at our school open houses on August 16-17.

To accommodate current health department guidelines and to give parents and students more time to find their rooms and more individual time with fewer distractions to talk with their teachers, principal, therapists, conductors, and classmates, NHA will be staggering its open house schedule by age groups across two nights.

Monday, August 16 Springfield Campus 6201 Trust Dr., Holland

  • 6:00-6:30 p.m. STARS & Elementary Classes
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m. Middle School & High School Classes
  • 7:00-7:30 p.m. PACE Program

Tuesday, August 17 Wauseon Campus 220 Lawrence Ave.

  • 5:30-6:00 p.m. STARS Classes
  • 6:00-6:30 p.m. Elementary Classes
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m. Pre-PACE, CE & Middle School Classes

620 W. Leggett St.

  • 7:00-7:30 p.m. Junior High & High School Classes

Career Center 854 S. Shoop Ave.

  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Career Center Program

For more information on any of the open houses, please call the school offices:

  • Wauseon: 419-335-7272
  • Springfield: 567-703-1322.

NHA Still Accepting Students

NHA Still Accepting Students

New Horizons Academy (NHA) is still accepting preschool to high school students into its regional special needs schools and special education programs at our Wauseon campus (220 Lawrence Ave. in Wauseon), Springfield Township campus (6201 Trust Dr. in Holland), and new Career Center and vocational training campus (854 S. Shoop Ave. in Wauseon). Classes begin August 18, so get your school application in TODAY!

At New Horizons Academy, kids come first. We exist for our students; our students do not exist for the school. Students don’t have to fit into classes. The classes and programs are made to meet the individual student’s needs. If this sounds like the educational program that’s right for your child or the school that you are looking for, then please call Admissions Coordinator Ronda Rupp today and learn more about our special education programs and schedule a tour of our campuses.

All of our special education students are on individual education plans (IEP’s) and qualify for the Ohio Department of Education’s Autism or Jon Peterson’s Special Needs Scholarships. NHA accepts both the Autism and Jon Peterson Scholarships as payment in full for our students’ tuition and therapy services during the school day. Cost is not and should not be the reason that special needs children miss out on the early intervention, special education, or vocational training experiences that they so desperately need.

Is NHA Right for Your Child?

  • Regional special education classes for students aged 3-21
  • With less than a 1:2—staff to student ratio
  • Individualized, personalized education
  • Strong academics, community involvement, life skills classes, vocational skills, work site placements, and job coaches
  • Helps students to reach their full potential and become as independent as they can possibly be
  • Including early intervention, conductive education (CE), sensory integration, occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, music instruction, and the College Credit Plus (CCP) Program
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) School
  • Vocational opportunities through the Special Grounds Coffee Shop & Event Center with youth transition to community programs and jobs
  • Students from 9 counties and over 25 different school districts

Time is short. The next school year is just around the corner; so, for more information or to schedule a tour, call Admissions Coordinator Ronda Rupp at 419-335-7272, email rondar@sarasgarden.org, or log onto the school website at newhorizonsacademy.org.