Philosophy & Goals

Our strategies help students manage the vast quantities of data facing children every day in this digital age. Understanding and being able to effectively communicate are the goals, rather than rote memorization of facts. Using this strategic approach, we teach our students how to effectively learn, which, in turn, enables them to learn to succeed.

At the Curtis Blake Day School all aspects of the curriculum focus on gaining access to and communicating the message through language intervention. “Language functions as a powerful interactive tool that allows us to construct and convey meaning in our efforts to communicate” (Education Today, Massachusetts Department of Education, May 15, 1995). We describe out curriculum as collaboration between our certified teachers and the speech-language pathologists. Much of the National Institutes of Health research has provided powerful empirical results on “interventions that work”, and because of the integral role that language plays in the development of reading, the expertise of the speech/language pathologist is sought both as consultant and teacher.

The Goal of our unique curriculum, which integrates multiple methodologies, is the internalization and independent application of strategies. Students are taught and cued to use them in all areas of the curriculum and across all subjects. They learn to read by reading, to write by writing, to use language by discourse and to understand mathematical concepts through extensive use of manipulatives and problem solving approaches.

For more information contact Linda Lafontaine at 413-783-0569 or llafontaine@studyhome.org


Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, Common Core and Curriculum Alignment

The curriculum of the Curtis Blake Day School is designed to align our academic program with the curriculum Frameworks of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, developed in response to the Education Reform Act of 1993 and updated in March 2011 as well as the curriculum developed by the Springfield Public School as outlined on the their website. Our students are taught specific strategies which are incorporated into all aspects of the school day. Reading and writing meaningful material (rather than completing workbook sheets/dittos) takes up a major portion of the day. Language interpretation is a major emphasis, not only while teaching reading, but also across the curriculum. Metalinguistic skills are taught directly as a means to improve comprehension.


Students are provided with daily individualized reading instruction where they are cued to employ the decoding and comprehension strategies taught in their language classes. Licensed reading and special education teachers provide one-on-one instruction to develop close and attentive reading utilizing high quality children’s literature and in formational text that is motivating for the students to read. Skill building in vocabulary, fluency, sentence structure, clarification, retelling and summarization receive special attention during this concentrated reading session. These specialized reading sessions allow for the sustained systematic intervention and careful monitoring of student progress necessary for optimal success.

Language and Literature

The Language and Literature program fosters the development of language skills necessary for oral and written expression. The Story Grammar Marker® narrative maps and ThemeMaker® expository graphic organizers facilitate the students’ comprehension and organization of stories and content area information. Lessons are created in accordance with the Massachusetts Frameworks for English/Language Arts incorporating the Common Core Standards and are integrated with other subject areas. Instruction also includes reinforcement of phonemic awareness, decoding and encoding strategies, grammar skills, vocabulary development, mental imagery and word retrieval cueing necessary for precise language expression. Portfolios, containing narrative and expository writing samples, are maintained from year to year to aid in assessing student growth and proficiency.

Science and Social Studies

Student proficiency in information gathering, concept development, and practical application of knowledge is the focus of content area instruction. The strategies integrated throughout these areas include reciprocal teaching (prediction, reading requests for clarification, test questions formulation, and summarization), mental imagery, and Story Grammar Marker® and the ThemeMaker® graphic organizers. These strategies work in concert with the practices advocated by Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core Standards which include: descriptive listing, cause/effect and problem/solution relationships, compare/contrast questions and persuade/argue.


The math curriculum encompasses the skills, concepts and processes involved in gaining an in-depth understanding of mathematics. Word problems are an integral component of the program and manipulatives are utilized to foster the visualization of the concepts necessary to solve those questions. Because many language learning disabled students encounter difficulties with retrieval, memory, and retention, teacher made materials and study guides offer consistent review and re-teaching of difficult concepts as well as reinforcement.

Pragmatics and Social Thinking®

The pragmatics program focuses on specific social/communication skills necessary for the successful development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. On a basic level, students receive direct instruction in the communicative aspects of language such as intonation, turn taking, eye contact, topic maintenance and conversational repair, all of which are aspects of the Health Frameworks. Students participate in activities and role play to identify positive and negative uses of pragmatics in various social situations. The instructional model is critical in developing self-advocacy, conflict resolution and empathetic communication skills in all areas of life.

The Social Thinking® curriculum, which provides more explicit in the unwritten social expectancies that are necessary for class and peer interactions, is designed to facilitate thinking strategies that must occur prior to social interactions. Students are educated as to how their behavior affects the way others perceive and respond to them and how this then affects their own emotions and responses to others. Classes focus on perspective taking (the ability to infer the feeling and plan of a communicative partner), adjusting nonverbal messages to meet the communication needs of their communication partner, and learning to follow the conversational topics of others, kin order to foster peer relationships. Our goal is for students to be able to better adapt and respond to the people and situations around them.

Over the past decades, the Pragmatics and Social Thinking® programs have enabled student to identify social/communication difficulties and work toward improvement in a safe, nurturing and research-based environment are integrated throughout the curriculum are reinforced throughout the school day by all staff.

Self-help, daily living skills

The Children’s Study Home Nurse provides individual training in basic daily living and hygiene practices as needed.

Social/Emotional Needs

In addition to the pragmatics and Social Thinking Curriculum, we have available a School Adjustment Counselor during the school day. The acquisition of social skills is important for any students’ success in school and beyond. Under the guidance of the SAC, our students attend individual sessions and/or engage in interactive groups focusing on skills for social development. The transfer and generalization of these skills to other environments is emphasized in order to foster independent problem solving and well-developed social relationships.

Physical Education

Physical education is provided on-site at the Mill Pond Campus by a certified physical education teacher.

English Language Support

In order to meet the requirement of G.L.c. 71A and federal law (Title VI), the Curtis Blake Day School recognizes its responsibility to accept and to serve limited English proficient students. Such students will be afforded the same opportunity to access and participate in the school’s services, activities and other benefits as all other students.

To implement its policy, the Day School will request the result of the Home Language Survey administered by the public school as part of each student’s admission process. In the event that survey and subsequent evaluation of English language proficiency have identified the students being limited English proficient, that student would be entitled to receive both sheltered subject matter instruction in English and English language instruction appropriate for the child’s level of proficiency. With respect to English language instruction, it is likely that many of the elements of the current curriculum could be adapted easily for the purpose of intensive English language instruction.

Supports and Services

Each child has a written Individualized Education Program containing goals and objectives specific to that student. These goals and objectives are designed to meet the needs of the individual child with development of specific skills as the objectives.


Student transportation to and from the Day School are provided privately or by the sending school district.

Assistive Technology Devices/Services

Most assistive technology hardware is provided by the student’s sending school district. The Day School offers computers and relevant educational software for all students.

Communication (hard of hearing students)

An FM system is provided by the sending school district if needed.

Speech therapy

Speech therapy is provided at the Day School to students who require intervention in the areas of speech production and/or grammar.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is provided at the Day School as arranged by the sending school district.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is provided at the Day School as arranged by the sending school district.

Ways to Support us

EASY $$$$$$$!

Hello Curtis Blake Day School Families-

The CBDS PTO would like to invite you to participate in several money making opportunities that will benefit our school. These programs require very little effort and will not cost anything out of pocket.

We have registered the Curtis Blake Day School with Box Tops, Stop and Shop A+ Rewards and Shop Rite. Each of these businesses makes contributions to non-profit organizations on an annual basis, giving a portion of their registered consumer’s purchase to their designated school or charity.

Our hope is that you take a very few minutes to register your cards or accounts with these businesses. All funds contributed by these businesses will be deposited directly into our PTO account and will be used for PTO sponsored events, supplies for special in school projects, and other PTO related expenditures. Every little bit helps and it truly is a painless way to raise money for CBDS PTO.

 Stop and Shop A+ Rewards simply sends a check to our school at the end of the year. Provided you have registered your Stop and Shop card, a percentage of every purchase you make will be contributed.                                                                                                                              Register on-line at http://stopandshop.com/savings-and-rewards/rewards-program/aplus/. Our school is listed under “The Curtis Blake Day School” and our school ID# is 18158. (Change of address is currently being processed for registration page.)

The Box Tops program requires the consumer to clip and save the “Box Top” typically found on the label of many products that we all purchase regularly. Just save the label and the PTO will take care of the collection/submission. Simply put them in a sandwich bag or envelope and send them into school.                                                                                                                                          (see list of products included at http://www.boxtops4education.com/participating-products)

Shop Rite for My School is administered through Box Tops. If you register your Shop Rite card, any purchases made with a Box Tops emblem will automatically be credited to our Box Tops account. No clipping required! (Then clip it and send it in!)


Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com, in turn making a donation to the charitable organization of their choice. Choose to shop on Amazon Smile and a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to The Children’s Study Home. Look for Children’s Study Home under charitable organizations.   https://org.amazon.com/


Family members and friends can also register at any of the above businesses to maximize the donations. Thank you as always for supporting the PTO at CBDS.