HAWTHORNE COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL
Program at a Glance
Our school age program in Hawthorne and Lower Manhattan is the largest of our programs and serves children ages 5-21 years of age with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, speech and language impairments, multiple disabilities, and other health impairments. The students are grouped in classes by age (within 36 months) and skill level to ensure the most conducive learning environment. Our class sizes include a ratio of six children, one teacher and two teaching assistants (6:1:2), or eight children, one teacher and three teaching assistants (8:1:3). The student’s school day is from 8:30am to 2:30pm. Parent education, counseling, speech, OT, and PT, are provided in accordance with each child’s IEP. As appropriate, students 16 – 21 years old participate in grade appropriate, Regents level, work-based learning and/or vocational programing in order to prepare them for the transition to post-secondary and/or adult services.
Our teaching methodology uses principles of applied behavior analysis. This involves teaching methods that revolve around using scientific data to improve instructional, behavioral, and interactive techniques, and inform decision making.
Furthermore, we use various sources of data to identify programmatic goals. For example, we utilize the Blueprint for Improved Results for Students with Disabilities, a document issued by NYSED, to align some of our programmatic goals.
Related services are provided in accordance with each child’s IEP. Services are provided either individually or in a group, depending upon individual need. Related services in school age programs include speech language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and counseling and may be a pull out or push in service.
Speech and Language
The speech and language department across the Westchester and Manhattan School Age Programs provides speech and language therapy to enrolled students in accordance with the goals and mandates on each students Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Speech and language therapy services include individualized and/or small group therapy sessions conducted using a pullout model in speech therapy rooms and/or a push-in model working in the classrooms. Speech and language services include therapy intervention to address various needs within the scope of practice. Therapies include but are not limited to increasing expressive and receptive language skills for academic success and/or activities of daily living, pragmatic language function and building alternative and augmentative communication where appropriate. Therapies marry behavior modification principles with intervention strategies to increase overall communication skills for school and community integration.
At Hawthorne Country Day School we provide instructional programs that cover a wide range of curricular areas including: Language Development, Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Social Skills, Vocational Skills, Self-Sufficiency, Physical Development, Self-Preservation, Art, and Behavioral Management. The principles of Applied Behavior Analysis are utilized to support student learning across all domains of their programmatic school day. Depending on each student’s academic level, based on assessment data, individualized educational programs are identified from research-based curricula to develop measurable outcomes that are implemented and sequenced to ensure ongoing measurement and generalization, and is aligned with New York State Standards and Alternative Learning Standards.
The methods used in applied behavior analysis focus on targeting specific behavior, defining the behavior, designing an intervention to meet the goal of behavior change, implementing the intervention, analyzing the effectiveness of the intervention, and continuing the intervention or designing a procedure to maintain the behavior change (Cooper et al. 2007). A full list of curricula is available for review.
Physical education is a vital element in the development of our students and is offered three to five times per week as required. The curriculum is based on targeted individual needs with an emphasis on gross and fine motor coordination, teamwork, and sportsmanship. In the summer, swimming is a part of the program. We also have a traveling basketball team that competes with similar schools in the area.
High School Transition/Vocational Services
For many students and their families, high school is an exciting time full of wonderful memories. These years are also a time of transition as students prepare to enter the adult world. At HCDS, we are committed to offering a range of quality services at the HS level with a strong focus on post-secondary planning. The journey through the transition process is one we will take together, providing guidance and support along the way.
Services described below are offered to our HS students, families, and faculty as individually applicable. It is our goal to offer a range of experiences that interest, challenge, inspire, and ready students to contribute, in personally meaningful ways, to the communities in which they will live and work.
All HS students attending HCDS have opportunities to participate in WBL experiences reflective of their interests as self-reported on transition assessments, or by other means, and linked to their IEP goals. Students working toward the CDOS Credential are required to accrue 216 WBL hours between grades 9-12. The HCDS WBL Program is a Community-Based Work Program for Students with Disabilities as defined in the NYS WBL Manual and complies with all U.S. & NYS Dept. of Labor and NYSED regulations. Teachers, Job Coaches, & TAs provide in-situ training.
Types of WBL Experiences offered include Internships: Students engage in WBL activities on-campus such as operating our school-store and Peer Mentoring. Externships: Students with appropriate prerequisite skills travel to community-based sites across Westchester/Bronx such as FDR Park, SPCA, Rye Historical Society, DeLillo’s Pastry Shop, Modell's.
Transition Planning involves navigating a series of steps according to a Transition Timeline in order to prepare students for exit from HS. It can involve:
Student Transition Planning Mtgs.
Applying for eligibility for OPWDD and/or ACCES-VR services
Applying for guardianship, SSI
Exploring/applying for post-secondary options (day/residential programs, vocational/educational training, employment)
Connections to other HFI depts. (Self-Direction, Fiscal Intermediary, Care Coordination)