Table of Contents

Cornerstones Therapeutic Program

Gateways Program

Language Program

Skills Program

LAUNCH Program


Cornerstones Therapeutic Program
Wellesley High School

Program Description:

Cornerstones is a therapeutic program designed to assist students with social and emotional challenges.  The staff employs a student-centered strength based approach that addresses the unique needs of each student. By fostering a culture of collaboration, respect and acceptance, students will develop the confidence and skills needed for a positive and productive future. Students with an emotional disability may present with needs in all or some of the following areas:

  • Social interaction skills and proficiencies
  • School refusal
  • Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
  • Progress in the general curriculum, including social and emotional development

The Cornerstones program provides a range of services with a flexible inclusion component. English and Math classes are offered within the program for students who require that level of intervention. Students receive intensive mental health support both individually and within the group setting.

Assessment:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identify an Emotional Disability, including anxiety and depression.
  • The student is not able to make effective progress in a Learning Center or the Gateways Program.
  • The student requires specialized support in order to make effective progress
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of this specialized program

Transition Planning:

Every student participates in the development of their IEP.  Transition planning involves the creation of a vision statement and action plan related to the student’s academic and functional preparation and transition to post-secondary activities.  Transition assessments will be completed as part of this process.

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Special Educator with training in working with students with emotional disabilities including DBT and CBT skills
  • Adjustment Counselor
  • Teaching Assistants with experience in working with students who have been diagnosed with an emotional disability
  • Transition Specialist

Gateways Program
Wellesley High School

Program Description:

The Gateways Program is an academic and therapeutic program designed to assist Wellesley High School students manage the challenges associated to high school life.  The program staff is committed to creating an inclusive learning environment that teaches the students the educational, social and personal skills needed to succeed beyond graduation. The Gateways philosophy begins by recognizing that WHS students already possess many skill strengths that the staff can help them build upon to achieve their goals. The program supplements the students’ pre-existing skill strengths by partnering with the students to identify other skill areas needing further development. The skill training provided by the staff helps the Gateways students become increasingly confident to independently manage complex school-related matters.

Students can remain connected to Gateways their entire high school career or for shorter lengths of time.  Most students attend Gateways for one daily academic block, five out of seven school days although students can attend the program for longer time periods within the day. In addition, the program affords the flexibility to add or reduce time. By senior year it is hoped that soon-to-be-graduating students will utilize the Gateways program on an as needed basis.

Students attending the Gateways program may present with needs in all or some of the following areas:

  • Social interaction skills and proficiencies
  • School refusal
  • Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
  • Progress in the general curriculum, including social and emotional development
  • Continued need for skill development in academics
  • Emotional regulation

The Gateways program provides a range of services with a flexible inclusion component.

Transition Planning:

Every student participates in the development of their IEP.  Transition planning involves the creation of a vision statement and action plan related to the student’s academic and functional preparation and transition to post-secondary activities.  Transition assessments will be completed as part of this process.

Assessment:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identify an Emotional Disability, which could include anxiety and depression.
  • The student is not able to make effective progress in a Learning Center
  • The student requires specialized support in order to make effective progress
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of this specialized program

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Two Special Educators experienced in working with students with emotional disabilities
  • Adjustment Counselor/ Transition Specialist
  • School Psychologist
  • Teaching Assistants with experience in working with students who have been diagnosed with an emotional disability

Language Program
Wellesley High School

Program Description:

This program is designed to meet the needs of students with average to above average cognitive learning potential experiencing significant delays in the acquisition of literacy and math skills due to a language-based learning disability. Students with language based learning disabilities may present with needs in all or some of the following areas:

  • Auditory- listening, understanding, remembering
  • Receptive- understanding language, including oral language and reading
  • Expressive- using language, including speaking and writing
  • Pragmatics- using social language
  • Nonverbal- integrating information, visual/spatial perception, organization, and math

Literacy and math instruction in small group or individual setting is provided. Students are included in the general education curriculum with additional push in support or within a team taught model.

Each student is provided with a research-based curriculum approach that is specifically tailored to their unique language capabilities, both expressive (including written expression) and receptive. The special education teacher, teacher assistants, and general education teachers work closely with the speech/language therapist and the Literacy specialists.

Transition Planning:

Every student participates in the development of their IEP.  Transition planning involves the creation of a vision statement and action plan related to the student’s academic and functional preparation and transition to post-secondary activities.  Transition assessments will be completed as part of this process.

Assessment:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identify a language based disability including speech and language and reading.
  • The student requires specialized support in order to make effective progress
  • Data collection, portfolios, reading inventories and observations

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Special Educators
  • School Psychologist
  • Transition Specialist
  • Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Literacy Specialist

Skills Program
Wellesley High School

Program Description:

The Skills Program provides a highly individualized and modified curriculum for students with low incidence disabilities that cross all domains. Students within the Skills Program struggle with meeting their potential in multiple skill areas given the complexity of their disability:

  •      Verbal and nonverbal communication
  •      Social interaction skills and proficiencies
  •      Unusual responses to sensory experiences
  •      Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
  •      Engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements
  •      Behavioral difficulties resulting from autism spectrum disorder
  •      Progress in the general curriculum, including social and emotional development

Instructional Methodologies:

Instruction is provided in a small group or individual setting and focuses on skill development in functional academics, social pragmatics, daily living, and health/wellness.  Students are mainstreamed within the High School curriculum when appropriate. Each student’s program is individually designed and may include learning opportunities within the general education setting for academic and/or social building activities. When indicated, the Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are utilized to develop and address skills across all domains.

Transition Planning:

Every student participates in the development of their IEP.  Transition planning involves the creation of a vision statement and action plan related to the student’s academic and functional preparation and transition to post-secondary activities.  Transition assessments will be completed as part of this process.

Assessment:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identify an Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as an Intellectual Disorder presenting with characteristics that limit access to appropriate language, social relationships, academic skills, and life skills
  • The student demonstrates features of autism that require a smaller setting to learn skills in a discrete manner
  • Student cognitive ability is well below peers
  • The child requires specialized support to acquire academic subject matter
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of this specialized program

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Training in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Program specific Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Paraprofessionals with experience in ABA who work under the direction of the lead teacher
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • School Psychologist/Adjustment Counselor
  • Vocational Teacher
  • Transition Specialist

Wellesley Public Schools
LAUNCH Program

Mission Statement:

The Launch Program provides a post-high school education for students aged 18 to 22 with complex language, learning, and cognitive disabilities. The program is committed to the development of independent living skills, social development, vocational experience, and lifelong learning all within the students’ own community setting.

Vision:

Graduates of our program will:

  • Learn through real-world experience and hands-on instruction, develop confidence, appropriate personal and social attitudes, habits and behaviors that will allow for personal and vocational success.
  • Develop effective communication skills (reading, writing, oral, and non-verbal) for success both personally and in the workplace.
  • Develop of self-determination, self-advocacy, and understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses needed for success.
  • Explore local vocational experiences, community resources, and recreational opportunities.
  • Receive individualized instruction tailored to their individual needs and potential area of employment.
  • Utilize technology and mobile devices to become responsible digital citizens

Program Aspects:

Recreation and Leisure: Recreation and Leisure will focus on expanding students’ interests and hobbies outside the academic realm. Through these experiences, students will determine activities to be completed in their leisure time either individually or with peers. These areas include:

  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Fitness
  • Sports
  • Personal Self-Defense
  • Social Media and Online Safety

Independent Living Skills: Independent Living will focus on managing the responsibilities necessary for everyday tasks. Utilizing different technological devices and apps will be explored. Areas of focus will include:

  • Personal/Health care and hygiene
  • Access to health and dental care
  • Housing options
  • Meal Preparation
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Restaurant Skills
  • Clothes Shopping
  • Maintaining a Home
  • Banking
  • Body Care
  • Independent Travel
  • Safety
  • Clothing Care
  • Time Management
  • Knowledge of sexual functioning and birth control
  • Sending emails, text messages, and accessing the Internet to gather information

Employment: Over the course of four years, through vocational and transition assessments, observations and parent/student input; students and teachers will identify work opportunities and job placements that will match student interests and skills, and aid them in becoming competitive employees in the work force. Teachers and Transition Coaches will work closely with students to ensure accommodations are made at work sites to facilitate for students’ success.  Work skills will be addressed through both classroom activities and on-site training. Throughout the students’ experience, a focus on the latest technology and apps will be utilized. Areas of focus will include:

  • Job Interests
  • Strengths and Needs
  • Job Interview Skills
  • On-Job Skills
  • On-Job behaviors
  • Telephone Skills
  • Basic Computer Skills-Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • Job Search Skills
  • Completing Applications
  • Understanding Job Pay and Benefits
  • Understanding Government Forms: Taxes; Social Security; I-9; W4/W2

Job Placement Sites*:

  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital
  • Isabelle Harvey
  • Spynergy
  • Wellesley Free Library
  • Wellesley Municipal Light Plant
  • Wellesley College Child Care Center
  • Town Hall

*Job placements sites are explored based upon the students’ unique profile, skills, and interests.

Community Participation/Awareness: Community Participation/Awareness will focus on increasing students’ knowledge of service and leisure community resources encountered in everyday life. Through direct exposure, students will be introduced to a variety of different resources in their community and local Metrowest area and how to make use of those resources. Areas of focus will include:

  • General Community Exposure:
    • Town Hall
    • Police Station
    • Recreation Center
    • Fire Station
    • Library
    • Post Office
    • Wellesley/Babson College
    • Museums
    • Parks
  • Travel Training-Knowing your Community
  • Understanding voting and ballots/elections/general government operation
  • Citizenship
  • Independently utilizing community resources

Social Opportunities: Social skill development will help students build and maintain appropriate personal and work relationships. Development of self-awareness, personal strengths, goal-setting, and the ability to make appropriate choices will all be examined with a focus on developing the qualities that are inherent in friendships. Focus areas will include:

  • Social Thinking
  • Social Communication/Pragmatics
  • Manners and Etiquette
  • Self-Advocacy and Self Management
  • Friendships and Dating
  • Problem-Solving; Conflict Resolution; and Coping Skills

Self-Determination: Development of self-determination will help students “know thyself” and have an understanding of their strengths, interests, challenges, and ability to make responsible choices about their life. Areas of focus will include:

  • Knowing your strengths
  • Understanding your challenges
  • Knowing your interests
  • Knowing the supports you need
  • Making responsible choices and decisions
  • Understanding your rights and responsibilities
  • Setting goals and making plans

Relevant, Meaningful, Individualized Academics: In order to prepare students for successful employment and independent living skills, students will have continued academic skill development in the areas of math, reading, and writing. This instructional focus will help ensure effective communication and interactions in both personal and work lives. Areas of focus will include:

  • Managing personal finances
  • Time management
  • Reading
  • Calculator Skills
  • Telephone Skills
  • Computer/Emailing/Texting
  • Writing Skills
  • Executive Functioning

Updated January 2018
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