One of the primary reasons our therapeutic program is so effective is that the staff works proactively and collaboratively with the students, their parents and specialists to gauge how a student is doing and to be aware of his or her anxieties, peer group concerns, medical issues or other extenuating circumstances. For instance, members of our team will meet the school bus to help get the student’s day off to a good start and ensure a smooth transition into the homeroom. Where appropriate, team members will consult with the school nurse about a lack of rest, lingering illness, medications, or health concerns that can have an impact on their day. This kind of comprehensive case management and personalized attention provides for the integration of information from every dimension of the student’s life- at home, in school and in the community. Group counseling is scheduled for all students on a weekly basis and team members are available to meet one on one to address needs or difficulties as they arise.
Montgomery Academy strives to instill in each of our students the belief that they are or can become their own agent for change. Mistakes and inappropriate choices offer vitally important teaching moments with social skills training and character education integrated throughout the interdisciplinary curriculum. Students are offered many opportunities during the school day in which to engage in goal setting towards empowerment, ownership and interpersonal success, whatever that may mean for the student as an individual. Mutual and self respect, anger management, family dynamics and conflict resolution are emphasized in lessons and counseling sessions. The expectations associated with participation in our learning community are communicated clearly and consistently, and disciplinary measures, when required, are drawn from natural consequences on a case by case basis.
There are occasions when students become emotionally overwhelmed which can be disruptive in a classroom context. A member of the therapeutic team is enlisted to help the student decompress, and once relaxed and fully present guides he or she in processing the incident, identifying the connections between their feelings and what is often a healthy expression of them. The student is shown how to sequence and examine the stages leading up to disruptive events and how they can process, evaluate and implement better alternatives the next time they find themselves challenged. Professional insights into observed patterns of behavior are offered with sensitivity and discussed openly. The student’s human need for validation and recognition gets met-resulting in goodwill and trusting relationships between students and staff.