• Beach Day at Center School

    Beach Day at Center School is a student and staff favorite!

  • Playing in our swimming pool builds muscles and confidence

    Playing in our swimming pool builds muscles and confidence

Each student can succeed with the proper supports

The Center School provides the full range of educational and therapeutic support services to meet each student's special needs.

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CENTER SCHOOL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Center School is an intensive highly structured therapeutic private day school.  Center School operates 12 months from 8:00am – 3:00pm.  The Center School provides a comprehensive behavior management system based on natural and logical consequences that encourages and facilitates youth to accept responsibility for their actions.  Students are under constant supervision with a staff to student ratio of up to 1:3.  Program routines and limits are clearly outlined and enforced to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the program.  Physical restraints are performed when student demonstrates serious imminent harm to themselves or others in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regulations.  Students participating in the program are immersed in a daily, highly structured educational and clinical program with collaborative problem solving that includes tutoring and 1:1 assistance as identified on the IEP.  Pre-vocational/vocational education is provided year round for those students deemed appropriate by their IEP.  Center School provides educational programming for students between ages of 5 and 22; grades K thru SP (Special Needs Student Beyond Grade 12).

SERVICES

Center School provides Academic, Behavioral, Transitional Planning and Case Management services to each admitted student. Speech and Language, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Assistive Technology and Therapeutic Equestrian programming and community-based pre-vocational as well as vocational training are available to all students as directed by their Individual Education Programs (IEP) Service Delivery Grids.

EDUCATION

The academic program consists of Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health, Character Education and Physical Education in accordance with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.   Emphasis is placed on providing comprehensive instruction so that students may be successful on the MCAS.  A variety of electives are continuously offered and may include: outdoor adventure, therapeutic horseback riding, community-based education, art instruction, hygiene, computer instruction, student vision driven vocational experiences as well as a variety of recreational and leisure skill activities.

Academic programming includes but is not limited to:

  • Academic focus leading towards success on the MCAS
  • ELA, Math, Social Studies, Science, Character Education and Health Instruction at all grade levels consistent with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
  • Electives include: swimming, experiential and community based education, current events, art, music, and computer tutorial.
  • Physical Education instruction
  • Daily homework assignments
  • Small classroom size
  • Community Based Education
  • Remedial reading instruction

BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT

Center School School’s behavioral milieu consists of clear routines and limits as we promote pro-social behaviors, responsible decision-making and personal self-respect.   We work with students towards diminishing disrespectful, dangerous and/or anti-social behaviors and attitudes.   Center School School’s behavioral milieu is rooted in cognitive-behavioral programming that teaches students to understand for their actions to the fullest extent possible.  Center School utilizes the Crisis Prevention Institute de-escalation program and Collaborative Problem Solving techniques to significantly reduce the need for physical restraint and increase total communication of frustrations and anxieties.  Center School’s behavior management principles include:

  • Interpersonal skills development
  • Conflict resolution education
  • Mediation training
  • Violence prevention
  • Pro-social skills development

CLINICAL

Holyoke Center School provides a comprehensive clinical services department including individual psychotherapy by licensed clinicians, group therapy, psycho-education, family therapy as needed.  Psychiatric consultation is provided when possible.  On-site nursing and clinical services are available at all times for psychiatric emergency and support services. Some of the psycho-education and specialty therapy groups offered include but are not limited to:

  • Pro-social skills development
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Violence prevention/anger management
  • Health and hygiene
  • Social pragmatics
  • Animal care
  • Life skills

CASE MANAGEMENT

Holyoke Center School provides extensive case management and advocacy services for all students. Upon enrollment to the school, the assigned case manager follows all the needs of the student. Case managers work closely with parents and other providers to insure that communication between the school, home and other community environments is as seamless as possible. Case managers assist in advocating for and Holyoke Center School ring services that may be needed by the student.  The Case Management services include:

  • Extensive information management system
  • Community advocacy
  • Community Service Projects
  • Guidance Assistance for
  • School–to–Work
  • Higher Education
  • Vocational planning

PROGRAM GOALS

Provide instruction consistent with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks to facilitate academic achievement at the highest level possible.

Provide students with educational, psycho-educational, clinical, pre-vocational, vocational, transitional and recreational activities to facilitate an increase in their repertoire of personal resources.

Prepare students for successful completion of MCAS assessment.

Prepare students for reintegration to their programmatic district or residential community whenever possible.

Prepare students with skills that facilitate successful community living.

Provide a variety of services to students and families which enhance positive mental health, positive family values and positive communication skills.

Provide students with knowledge and skills to disrupt and replace anti-social, inappropriate and/or abusive coping responses and behavior patterns.

Provide outreach, case management, advocacy, and clinical services to the families of Holyoke Center School students to maximize community safety and family stability.

SCHOOL GOALS

Center School will provide instruction consistent with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks to facilitate academic achievement at the highest level possible.

Center School will provide students with educational, clinical, pre-vocational and recreational activities to facilitate an increase in their repertoire of personal resources.

Center School will provide outreach, case management, advocacy, and clinical services to the families of HOLYOKE CENTER SCHOOL students to maximize community safety and family stability.

STUDENT ADMISSIONS

Admissions Policy

Holyoke Center School has an accelerated referral and admissions procedure.  All referrals are made through the student’s Local Education Authority (LEA).  A valid, signed Individualized Education Program (IEP) is required.  Center School’s Admission Director facilitates the referral process with assistance from the program case managers. The Center School maintains a copy of our policies and procedures manual in the lobby as well as providing written notice to the parents of the enrolled students that copies of its policies and procedures manual are available upon request.

Admission Procedure

Students are referred to Center School through their Local Educational Authority (LEA).  Once Center School receives written notification of referral with a packet of information minimally containing a current Individualized Education Program, names, addresses and telephone numbers of guardians and essential service providers, health/immunization record and documentation identifying the responsible programmatic school district(s), Center School Admissions Director contacts the parent/guardian to arrange an admissions interview and tour of the school.  The Admissions Director’s contact with the parent/guardian can occur by phone, email, or home visit depending on the nature of referral information. The LEA is notified of the admissions interview and invited to attend.  During the admissions interview and tour, the parent/guardian is given program policy and procedures, including the parent’s rights brochure with an opportunity to meet the staff.  With the LEA present or via telephone, placement can be made and an intake package can be completed with an admission date determined for the student. Transportation is arranged by the LEA.  If needed, the LEA in conjunction with Center School makes arrangements to convene a meeting to insure that all IEP paperwork is signed.   No student may start without a signed valid IEP, and signed documentation in the intake packet regarding Center School’s behavior management policy, release of information, etc.   Center School staff make any accommodations possible to assist in starting the student as early as possible as per a parent/guardian wishes.   Center School provides interim transportation as needed until the LEA sets up transportation to minimize missed school days. The parent/guardians are provided with school calendars, student handbook and school contact information when placement occurs.

Admission Criteria

Center School enrolls youth between the ages of 5 and 22 years of age with primary IDEA disabilities types of intellectual, autism, neurological, developmental delay, sensory, physical, health, communication, specific learning with a current co-morbid presentation of emotional disability. Admitted students have varying disabilities and diagnoses but all share a qualifying primary or secondary disability of Emotional Disturbance for special education services. Additionally, Center School students may be working below grade level with multiple learning disabilities. As a result, admitted students may require specialized and ancillary services such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, remedial Reading, Adaptive Physical Education, pragmatic social skill coaching, and/or school-based psychotherapy.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION

Any potential referral to the Center School requires the following paper work prior to admissions:

  • Current individualized education program
  • Names
  • Addresses and telephone numbers of guardians
  • Addresses and telephone essential service providers
  • Health/immunization record
  • Documentation identifying the responsible school district(s)

MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION PRIOR TO ADMISSION

Prior to admission, documentation of a complete physical examination needs to be provided to the Center School.  The physical exam needs to have occurred within 12 months of the referral.

HOURS

Center School is open Monday through Friday except holidays.  Student hours are from 8:00am to 2:00pm for grades 6 through SP; 9:00am to 3:00pm for grades K through 5. Staff work day hours are 7:30am – 3:30pm.  Front office hours are 7:00am to 4:00pm to field parent and transportation calls. Parent(s) may contact the school at any time during staff hours.  After hours phone service is also available to contact administrators during non-school hours.  Telephone numbers for emergency contacts are provided by calling the main school number, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

BREAKFAST & LUNCH PROGRAMS

Breakfast is provided to all students upon their arrival to school. Lunch is provided for all students at Center School via the Holyoke School Department School Breakfast and Lunch Program.  Students may bring their own lunch.  Parent(s) must fill out application forms for Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch.  For those who are eligible, students will receive lunch at no cost. For those students not eligible for free lunch, students are not required to pay. No student is denied breakfast, snack or lunch for any reason.

PARTICIPATION OF HOLYOKE CENTER SCHOOL AT MEETINGS

HOLYOKE CENTER SCHOOL teachers, administrators and/or case managers will attend IEP meetings, TEAM meetings, reviewing/revising IEP meetings, progress meetings, or any other meeting called by the Center School or the sending school district.  Center School professional staff often set up meetings with LEA notification to address specific goals in the IEP such the social/emotional or speech/language goal with parent/guardian and/or outside service providers to ensure uniform application of skills and clear communication.

PROGRAM LIMITS

Program limits are rules that cannot be negotiated due to the immediate impact to the student health and safety.  The following are the Program Limits for Center School.  If a student breaks a Program Limit a variety of logical consequences (interventions) are applied immediately.  These interventions include (but not limited to): separation from routine, restitution, mediation session, and referral to appropriate public safety personnel, physical restraint only when serious imminent harm is shown by student to self or others.

  • Aggression
  • Physical Violence
  • Specific Verbal Threats
  • Property Destruction
  • Interference in an other staff’s intervention with a student
  • Leaving the Building or Staff presence without clear permission
  • Self-harm

SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS

Students are under constant supervision with a staff to student ratio of up to 1:3.  Students that enter the school are placed on eye-watch supervision.  Students are checked daily upon entrance and exit from the school for contraband.  The purpose for the daily check assures each student that all students are safe as well as school practices is fair and equitable.  Staff utilizes a hand held metal detector for searches, as well as, a physical search of student property and person.  Consent for these searches is signed by parent/guardian prior to intake.  If a student is found carrying contraband or a weapon, the item(s) are confiscated and state regulation followed as to the disposition of the items and treatment of the students.  Additionally, parent/guardian is notified and a more through search is conducted daily by staff.

Based on student history and staff determination, a student may not be allowed to be alone with staff.  This determination is tracked via daily notes and/or treatment plans.  While in the community, the staff utilizes the same ratio and supervision methods when possible.  Alternative methods of supervision are employed to ensure that students can participate in events including field trips, snowboarding, physical education, etc.

Grades K – 5 staffing:  No student may be out of staff sight with the exception of use of the bathroom unless the student has a toileting plan requiring staff assistance. Otherwise, all students are under the visual control/sight of staff at a no less than 1 staff: 3 student ratio.

Grades 6 -8 staffing:  Students may not be out of staff sight with the exception of use of the bathroom unless the student has a toileting plan requiring staff assistance.  Otherwise, all students are under the visual control/sight of staff at a no less than 1 staff: 3 student ratio.

Grades 9 – 12 Staffing: Students may not be out of staff sight with the exception of use of the bathroom unless the student has a toileting plan requiring staff assistance. Students may be staffed differently than 1 staff: 3 student ratio per the student’s individual transition plan in readiness for adulthood.  Additionally, they may be out of staff sight with a transition plan.  Otherwise, all students are under the visual control/sight of staff at a no less than 1 staff: 3 student ratio.

SP (Special Needs Student beyond Grade 12): Students may not be out of staff sight with the exception of use of the bathroom unless the student has a toileting plan requiring staff assistance. Students may be staffed differently than 1 staff: 3 student ratio per the student’s individual transition plan in readiness for adulthood.  Additionally, they may be out of staff sight or with staff in a vocational placement with a transition plan and proper consent.  Otherwise, all students are under the visual control/sight of staff at a no less than 1 staff: 3 student ratio.

During community or outside recreational or educational activities, NO student regardless of age may be out of staff sight at no less than a 1 staff: 3 student ratio.

All students must be accounted for at all times.  The Site Administrator is required to know the location of all students throughout the day. When students are off-site, an Off-Grounds Checklist form is completed and given directly to the Site Administrator and the Front Office for the Program Director’s access.

EQUAL ACCESS/ EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Center School provides all students with equal access to services, facilities, activities and benefits regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness.

Center School provides equal opportunity for all students to participate in intramural and interscholastic sports.

Extracurricular activities or clubs sponsored by the school do not exclude students on the basis of race, gender, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness.

Center School currently does not use any separate facility to accommodate any student based on disability. HOLYOKE CENTER SCHOOL assures that should a separate facility be required based on disability, such facility, activity or service would be comparable to other facilities, activities or services provided by the district or school, including those provided to students without disabilities.

Center School students have access to extracurricular activities offered by their sending district.  Students access these activities via an IEP Team and/or Center School /District contact via Guidance Counselor or Case Manager.  Participation in In-District extracurricular is reflected in student’s IEP document.

All sports programs are available to all enrolled HOLYOKE CENTER SCHOOL students.

  • Physical recreation offerings at Center School may include but are not limited to:
  • Basketball Baseball
  • Softball Soccer
  • Snowboarding Sledding
  • Horseback riding Wallyball
  • Walking/Jogging Tennis
  • Bicycle instruction/riding Wii Fitness, Tennis and Golf
  • Swimming and swimming instruction
  • Frisbee Cardio Fitness Training
  • Center School uses the following community facilities (but is not limited to) for all students:
  • The Holyoke YMCA
  • The Holyoke Boys and Girls Club
  • Healthtrax Health Club, West Springfield, MA
  • The track at the Holyoke Community College
  • Local snowboarding mountains, e.g. Butternut, Berkshire East, Jimmey Peak
School Based Services
School Based Services provides cost-effective educational options within public school districts for special needs students, at-risk students, and schools involved in changing their school culture. Call Chris Duff at (413)427-2063 to discuss a customized program for your school district.
Center School (Holyoke, MA)
Center School in Holyoke, MA, provides a safe learning environment and highly-trained educators and therapists for students with significant needs. Call Chris Duff at (413)427-2063 today to schedule a tour.
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Project-13, INC,  is a 501c3 educational nonprofit working to end the school dropout crisis and to prepare students for success in college.