When you arrive at the Reisterstown campus, you are visiting a full-service high school. However, upon entering, you will quickly realize that it is so much more than that.
We provide academic, vocational, therapeutic, and functional services to high school students with emotional disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities, through graduation or age 21. Our students benefit from our structured environment, small class sizes, diverse offerings, and compassionate and individualized instruction.
Academics, Interactive Learning, and Events
Students rotate classes as they would in a traditional high school program, fostering the development of responsibility, flexibility, and organizational skills. Academic instruction is based on the curriculum of Baltimore County and other local school systems in Maryland, and is differentiated to meet each student’s needs. Students select from Career Completer options such as carpentry, culinary arts, technology, auto mechanics, career research development, or foreign language, and choose from electives such as music, art, and physical education. We have fully functioning woodworking and auto shops, and a media center, computer lab, and kitchen where our students engage in hands-on training.
Understanding that our students learn in different ways, we created a dynamic workspace called “The Innovation Station,” where learning is interactive, visual, and uses multiple technologies. Used by many of our subject matter teachers, students use technology to bring ideas and projects to life in this unique classroom. Additionally, every classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, allowing our teachers and aides to weave supplemental learning materials, videos, and the Internet into their lessons.
Some of our students in take college-level courses at local community colleges. We assist these students with tuition, transportation, academic help, logistics, and other types of support to help them succeed.
Internships and Vocational Training
We partner with several local businesses to provide unpaid work-based learning experiences for our students to learn valuable real-world job skills. Our students can be found in local restaurants, schools, the local library, retail stores, and more. Additionally, on campus we have a maintenance worksite, a school store, and a cafeteria, where our students learn what it takes to succeed in the real world while in a familiar environment. Our dedicated, multidisciplinary teams work together to help our students learn the necessary skills to obtain employment once they have graduated. Each work experience fosters confidence, responsibility, social skills, and self-esteem, and also provides multiple opportunities for developing the problem-solving and life skills that will prepare them for the adult world. Our students learn the satisfaction of doing a job well, and they take pride in their work.
Many of our students express interest in extracurricular activities, but we know that it can be a challenge to find appropriate opportunities outside of school. Each day at the Reisterstown campus starts with an Advisory Period, which is an extended homeroom period. Twice a week during Advisory Period, students participate in clubs that they have chosen from a wide range of options, based on the students’ interests. Additionally, students can try out for sports teams, such as co-ed flag football, volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. For those who do not play on the teams, there are plenty of opportunities for exercise during physical education and lunch. These physical activities help students to learn healthy habits and teamwork, and to develop motor skills, self-esteem, and confidence. Our full-service cafeteria provides healthy, hot meals daily for our students and staff members, and our students help to prepare the nutritionally-balanced menu as part of the culinary arts program.
To foster the development of social skills as well as a sense of community, we host campus-wide events throughout the year, including our popular mixed matinee, prom, and pizza bingo. We also host alumni events, where students from years past return to connect with each other. Family members are encouraged to participate in many of these activities.
Therapeutic Supports and Services
The students in our programs often need extra support with behavior management, social skills, communication, dealing with anxiety, and others areas relating to their social and emotional needs. We create an atmosphere in which our students are given tools to improve communication skills, manage anxiety, take responsibility, and make positive choices. Our program uses a variety of methods to keep therapeutic supports appropriate and engaging. Our students receive speech-language therapy and occupational therapy as prescribed by their IEPs. Additionally, we understand that our students often need some extra help, and we have social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists available to support them. We include families as much as possible, and have a monthly parent support group as well as a Parent Connect group.
We believe in finding the right tools and the right environment for each student, and we adapt our environment and differentiate the curriculum to meet each individual’s needs. Our behavior support team collaborates with our teachers, therapists, and assistants to support our students and guide them toward managing their own behavior. Sensory and support rooms are available for when students need extra space or want to work quietly.
We are an award-winning Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school, and we implement this program in every corner of the building. Students are taught the school-wide expectations of Prepared, Accountable, Courteous, and Keep Safe (PACK), and are provided with meaningful rewards for exhibiting these behaviors. They earn points that can be exchanged for items in the school store, and they can earn larger rewards such as a water-play day or field trips to the National Aquarium or an Orioles game. Through this program we continuously help our students to manage their own behavior toward successful outcomes.