Schools for Children With Behavioral Problems in Massachusetts

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Children in Massachusetts who are unable to succeed in regular classrooms due to severe behavioral problems may benefit from a school that caters to their specific emotional needs. The state has several alternative schools that support both academic and behavioral improvement. Such schools have day and residential programs and offer services that focus directly on students' individual issues, which might range in severity from excessive lying to violent and explosive outbursts.

1 St. Ann's Home and School

St. Ann's Home and School in Methuen, Massachusetts, provides services to children and adolescents with severe social, emotional or behavioral issues that prevent them from functioning in their homes and/or regular school environments. St. Ann's offers residential and day school programs. The day school program is geared toward students who are able to live at home but have special educational needs.

The curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education curriculum frameworks. In addition to specialized classroom education, children receive therapy based on their Individualized Education Programs. The school also features behavior management counselors, quiet rooms and special school events for building community spirit.

2 Brandon School and Residential Treatment Center

The Brandon School in Natick is a specialized school for boys with behavior difficulties. The goal at Brandon is to provide structure and therapeutic services to support boys as they work toward moving back into a regular school and/or home environment. Brandon works on empowering boys with self-confidence and the ability to control extreme emotions. Many programs are in place to help families with their specific needs. For example, a respite program offers services for boys who need time away from home. The hospital diversion program is an alternative to inpatient hospitalization. The intensive fire-setting treatment program helps boys who exhibit dangerous and repetitive fire-setting behavior.

3 Academy at Swift River

The Academy at Swift River (ASR) is a coeducational boarding school for students in grades 9 to 12, located in Cummington, Massachusetts. The school focuses on students with behavior problems such as opposition to authority, anger management difficulties, lack of respect, withdrawal, verbal aggression, extreme selfishness, lying, stealing and truancy. The problems are severe enough that students require comprehensive professional intervention.

ASR offers academic and therapeutic programs to support students and their families in overcoming behavioral obstacles. Residential mentors and clinical counselors are on staff in addition to academic teachers. Treatments might include individual or group counseling, substance abuse evaluations, medical consultation or parent seminars.

4 High Road School of Massachusetts

The High Road School of Massachusetts, located in East Bridgewater, supports the instructional and behavioral needs of adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems. The goal is to help students with their issues so that they can eventually reintegrate into a less restrictive educational environment. The school customizes special education plans for each student, with a strong emphasis on one-on-one instruction in core academics. Services such as individual counseling and occupational therapy are available. A rewards-based behavioral management system helps motivate students toward success.

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.