The Bridges Program at the Homewood Center is a public middle and high separate day school special education program. It features small classes, specialized, differentiated instruction, the provision of counseling services in multiple formats, trained interventionists, and intensive staffing ratios. The program is designed for students whose most prominent struggles are understood to be the result of psychiatric conditions, internal psychological states like anxiety or depression, and/or neurochemical/neuroanatomical idiosyncrasies, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The students that attend the Bridges Program are those whose conditions have resulted in problematic scholastic behaviors in comprehensive middle and high school settings. What all of these students typically have in common are deficits in social skills and underdeveloped scholastic and interpersonal coping strategies, which adversely impact educational and functional performance.
Curriculum, supports and activities designed to assist students with executive functioning deficits and atypical sensory needs are specifically integrated into the school environment and throughout the school day through universal design. Within a consistent and comprehensive therapeutically focused environment, students receive individualized instruction to support their IEPs and BIPs. Data collection is maintained throughout the day to assess behavioral and academic progress and is disseminated home daily through a feedback sheet.
Special educators teach core academic classes. In addition, larger classrooms are supported by a trained para-educator. Working between and within the classrooms, hallways and the Behavior Support and Intervention (BSI) rooms are the Resource Staff. They are extensively trained interventionists who have expertise in understanding the impact of functional deficits on academic performance. They intervene to allow the student to be maintained in the classroom or to regain the capability of returning to the classroom with minimal impact on instructional time.
The clinical staff includes two licensed social workers, a licensed and certified school psychologist, and a licensed psychologist. Finally, an HCPSS administrator has an office with the program.
Success at the Bridges Program is predicated upon two main philosophies: the student's own motivation to succeed at school, and upon the family's collaborative input and support for student and staff efforts. Personal success is defined individually by each student functioning at his/her optimal level and by each student meeting the rigorous demands of the curriculum.