Our school values the delivery of quality education services within a safe and nurturing environment. High expectations are established for both academics and behavior. Student accountability for meeting these expectations is greatly enhanced through the use of a structured progression of interventions. This system is designed to help students learn and then apply appropriate social skills, study habits and independent problem solving strategies. Students are provided immediate feedback during each class regarding their use of these skills and the information is then documented on their point card. The more positive points a student consistently earns enables his/her advancement to a higher level within the system as well as increased privileges.
A considerable amount of communication is built into our education program usually initiating prior to admission and extending up to twelve months after discharge. Student, parent and school district interviews are conducted before admission in an effort to gather as much information as possible regarding both academics and behavior. This enables us to be better prepared for each student based upon their unique strengths and needs. It also creates a more efficient use of valuable treatment time. In addition to monthly treatment review meetings parents, guardians, school districts and placing agencies are mailed detailed monthly progress reports. Internal communication linking our school and all living units occurs daily before and after school. In addition, living unit personnel sit down with each resident after school to process their point card. Positive or negative points are then earned based upon the attitude, effort and application of skills students exhibited that particular day at school. This daily intervention by a non-school staff member significantly reinforces the importance of education in the minds of our students.
Teachers at St. Joseph's Children's Home are especially adept at delivering a wide variety of learning activities that reach out to students who have traditionally struggled in the public school setting. Much of the instruction involves 'visual' and 'hands on' approaches. A high degree of one-to-one assistance is made available as well as daily after school time to further support academics or follow through with behavior interventions. Extensive and ongoing staff training enables us to not only maintain a safe learning environment, but is pivotal in the development of curriculum and instruction that matches our students' needs.
We place a heavy emphasis upon helping students with the development of their literacy skills. Students identified as our most needy readers receive daily 1-1 instruction using WYREAD. This 'best practice' intervention helps students acquire specific reading skills. Others receive small group reading instruction in addition to their regular English class. Reading is also encouraged through our Accelerated Reader Program which contains incentives for students to meet monthly reading goals using books of their choice. In our facility all students are expected to read a minimum of 30 minutes during school and on their living unit.
Written expression has consistently been a difficult skill for most of our students. Students practice writing everyday. The school's writing committee formally assesses each student's writing twice every nine weeks. This enlightens both the student and teacher on a consistent basis as to which of the six writing traits we emphasize needs more development.
Content copyright . All rights reserved.