Anne Carlsen Center

The Anne Carlsen Center is a not-for-profit organization that provides supports for individuals with disabilities throughout North Dakota. Named for Dr. Anne Carlsen, the school's principal from 1948 until her retirement in 1981, ACC is one of the leading institutions in the United States for teaching individuals of all abilities. Over 360 full- and part-time employees work for the Center.

Contents

History

Early history

The story of the Anne Carlsen Center began in 1915 when the Evangelical Good Samaritan Society was incorporated. In 1923, the first Good Samaritan Society home opened in Arthur, North Dakota (near Fargo) with 13 residents. In 1932, the Society moved to a closed college in Fargo and changed its name to the Good Samaritan Crippled Children's School.

The move to Jamestown

In 1940, the Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society purchased the school and began moving the operation to a new site 90 miles (140 km) west in Jamestown where it has remained ever since.

On September 21, 1941, the Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society dedicated the new Crippled Children's School in Jamestown. The new facility - serving 18 students - had two modern classrooms, a library, a craft room, a recreation room, a dining hall, a therapy room, and a dormitory with a capacity of 35. The superintendent was Rev. W.B. Schoenbohm.

Anne Carlsen

One of the high school teachers at the new school's dedication was Anne Carlsen, a quadruple congenital amputee. Carlsen would go on to serve as the school's principal in 1948, the superintendent in 1950, and finally its namesake in 1980. Carlsen, born in Grantsburg, Wisconsin on November 4, 1915, was born without forearms or lower legs. However, she graduated from high school at the age of 16 and from the University of Minnesota at the age of 21, in 1936 -- later earning Masters and Doctorate Degrees.

Initially, she was unable to get a teaching job due to the Great Depression and, according to some, discrimination against the handicapped [1] However, the Good Samaritan Crippled Children's School hired her as a teacher in 1938. Carlsen stated, "I bought myself a new dress and hat and a Greyhound bus ticket and headed west to Fargo. I had never been to North Dakota. I was offered $25 a month, plus room and board. I thought I was at the peak of my career."[1]

Carlsen received her Masters Degree in Education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1946 and her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1949. In 1948, she became the principal of the Crippled Children's School. In 1950 she became the school's superintendent, a position she held until her retirement in 1981.

In 1980, to commemorate Carlsen's years of service, the school was renamed The Anne Carlsen School. It was named the Anne Carlsen Center for Children in 1993. Carlsen continued working as a mentor at the school until her death on December 22, 2002 [1].

In 2008, the Center's name was shorted to 'Anne Carlsen Center'. ACC also expanded its services to include In-Home and Community Day Supports and unveiled a new logo featuring Anne Carlsen's signature. The Center opened a Community Services office in Grand Forks that same year and began offering services to clients in Fargo in 2009. [2]

On January 1, 2011, ACC assumed control of four offices of the KIDS Program, an early-evaluation tool for children from birth to age three. These offices, located in Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Jamestown serve about 550 children in eastern North Dakota.

Facilities and services

The Anne Carlsen Center offers many unique services.

  • One of the nation's foremost prosthetics workshops.
  • The therapeutic pool - a 20x40 foot, 30,000 gallon facility, kept at a steady 95 degrees - has hydraulic lifts allowing the pool floor to be set to depts of zero to five feet.
  • The Advanced Care Unit, opened in 1990, provides state-of-the-art medical care and skilled staff for children with especially advanced medical needs.
  • Construction started in the late 1990s on a large sensory motor area, a nature trail, and a greenhouse. This project provides an accessible area for students to enjoy nature, as well as therapeutic benefits to the student body and a recreational area for the surrounding community.
  • In the mid-1980s, the focus of the school’s programs expanded to include young people with severe multiple disabilities, including educational and therapeutic services for children with autism.
  • In 2003, three "cottages" were built near campus to provide students experience in living in a more independent setting.

Today, over 60 area businesses employ students from the Community Integration and Vocational Development Program. This program provides teens and young adults with disabilities with work training and experience.

Notes

External links


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