Our Program: Sheppard Pratt School in Hunt Valley
We take pride in connecting our students with everything that they need to thrive. With small class sizes, and a low student-to-staff ratio, personal attention and compassionate care are our top priorities.
Following the admissions process, we meet with each new student and their family to evaluate the student’s needs and review their Individual Education Program (IEP) to determine the best placement for each student.
Our students are grouped according to age, size, social skills, behaviors, and ability, ensuring that they are working alongside peers in a supportive environment. We assess each student and determine the appropriate classroom for each student. Most students also have a behavioral intervention plan, helping maintain a calm and safe environment for learning life skills, gaining independence, or teaching functional, alternative behaviors. We meet our students at their level, ensuring that they are comfortable and can communicate appropriately so that learning comes more easily and effectively.
We prepare students for their futures, understanding that our students need more than what a traditional school can provide. We ensure that everything we do is educational, functional, and practical, preparing our students with the tools they will need to excel beyond the classroom.
Internships and Vocational Training
We partner with several local businesses to provide unpaid internships for our students. Each week, you can find our students learning valuable ‘real world’ job skills, such as how to greet customers. Preparing for independence continues at school, where we provide opportunities for jobs with transferable skills, including positions at the school store, the cafeteria, the front office, or taking care of our school mascot, Glo the turtle. Each job provides multiple opportunities for learning life skills and problem solving, and we individualize these positions for the students based on their goals and needs. For example, a student that needs to work on social skills may greet customers at the school store, while a student working on their math skills may focus on stocking office supplies or working the cash register at the school store. Additionally, these internships foster confidence, language skills, and self-esteem, while also preparing our students for life after school.
Healthy Choices and Fitness
We care about the whole person and we want our students to be healthy. As part of our vocational program, our students learn to make healthy choices, both in terms of what they eat and how they live. We have a “mock apartment” where students learn to do laundry, prepare meals, and tackle other daily chores as they prepare for independence. In addition, we provide our students with opportunities to venture into the community to shop for healthy food options or pick appropriate choices off a restaurant menu while simultaneously allowing our students to hone their communication, social, and coping skills.
We also focus on fitness and motor skills: we have an integrated multipurpose room that is used for recreation, as well as an occupational therapy/sensory room. Our students love to be active, and regularly engage with our PE teacher, occupational therapists, and their fellow students. When they need breaks, you can find them in the hallways on their bikes or wagons, or taking walks. In addition, we have an amazing playground installed on a rubberized based that accommodates everyone. Our students can be found outside here whenever the weather permits.
Active Learning and Events
We create a welcoming atmosphere at Sheppard Pratt School in Hunt Valley, incorporating fun activities, sensory breaks, and functional learning throughout the day. Our curriculum is hands-on and practical, and often involves crafts, manipulatives, and technology. Every classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, allowing our teachers and aides to access supplemental learning materials, videos, and the internet. Many of our students also use personal devices to help them communicate with each other and staff. To help encourage social skills, we host events throughout the year, including a Homecoming Dance, Halloween Party, Carnival Day, and an annual Thanksgiving Feast. These activities are enjoyed by both students and staff, and we encourage families to participate as well. In addition, we have an active Parent Teacher Organization that has regular meetings to share resources and support.