Joe Brogan, a case manager at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, knew that when T’s social and behavioral challenges and difficulty maintaining positive peer relationships, were having a negative impact on her academic work, she needed a different approach. He and others on the IEP team turned to Garfield Park Academy for placement when T was in middle school.
“She came to us ready to learn, but needed strategies to help her manage her anger and emotions,” recalled Dr. Steven Morse, Superintendent of GPA. “Our goal is to help students learn those skills so they can make better choices, be successful and eventually, return to their local district.”
Since GPA’s academic curriculum closely mirrors that of neighboring public schools, students like T can be prepared for a seamless transition back to their local school when the time is right.
“In addition to focusing on academic support and pre-vocational training, GPA was able to provide a highly structured and therapeutic learning environment that helped her improve her overall emotional and behavioral functioning,” said Mr. Brogan.
Today, T is passing all academic and elective coursework, is consistently attending school, and has had no disciplinary or conduct referrals for the last 30 days. Mr. Brogan believes she is transitioning well to the larger school building and expectations of a traditional high school.
“The best outcome has been that she has become a self-advocate and is willing to ask for help and assistance when needed,” he added.