The purpose of Priority Placements is to provide safe, positive, and predictable outcomes to distressed children and adolescents in need of an educational placement in the Windham County catchment area and beyond. When a student is suddenly unable to access his/her public education (due to a variety of factors) school administrators and special education case managers, as well as parents and caregivers, need a well-managed and effective placement for the student who needs rapid and reliable educational and social support services. This program is designed, staffed, and managed to provide a high degree of professional supervision and stabilization, appropriate academic courses, beneficial social development activities, and crisis prevention. The purpose of this intensive planning and implementation is so that the student, school team, family members, and other involved parties are not struggling with repeated placement disruptions. Providing a calming and structured placement for distressed youth, along with well-conceived and accessible educational services, allows more comprehensive assessment, planning and reintegration efforts to occur. Through active involvement with each team, we support the objective of successful reintegration of students by providing partial day options, student transportation/visits to and from the public schools, along with troubleshooting/maintaining the momentum of the reintegration plan. However, there are some students that may benefit from a longer-term educational placement, and we are able to support students in this way as well.
Our School Objectives
Priority Placements staff consists of an Administrative Team, Special Educator(s), Therapeutic Services Specialist(s), General Education Teachers, Program Assistants, and Teaching Assistants. All staff is qualified by education and/or experience with their assigned duties and work collaboratively to best serve students in our care.
We create an environment based on respect, where teachers and students interact in small classes of 4 or fewer participants and come together to socialize in larger groups for games and family style dining. Our small classes and experienced educators allow us to customize a program of learning for each student while also providing socialization that builds the skills needed for them to cope with a traditional public-school environment and the challenges of life after their schooling is complete.
Our school program uses many appropriate methods of instruction to engage/re-engage students who join us. This entails mostly instructor-led instruction, but also includes demonstrations by teachers, independent practice time, and controlled practice of skills. Importantly, and whenever possible, students work with a peer or peers to learn and perfect skills in order to enhance each student’s ability to have effective communication/problem-solving, care for others, and acceptance of different approaches.
Our school program offers courses in life skills which incorporate job skills, community exploration and social skills. Each of these courses helps to ensure students are learning necessary strategies for real-world situations in every way possible. These courses are easily tailored to goals set forth for each student individually, students by age/grade, and by maturity and skill level. These courses allow students to learn self-help skills, coping strategies, and proper ways to engage with themselves and others. Various skills are taught and can include DBT skills, executive functioning strategies, and any other daily living tasks and self-management tasks specific to any student’s needs.
Special education students are case managed by our Special Educator, who follows and interprets IEP’s, in collaboration with the Program Directors and Therapeutic Support Specialist to ensure all needs are being met. The special educator will provide direct instruction and direct observation as agreed upon by the teams at the time of admission. The team at Priority Placements always works in conjunction with public school team members and outside agencies for all special education students, but also for general education students as necessary.
– Benjamin Franklin –
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