The Mill Pond Middle & High School was established in 1976 and has since served hundreds of adolescents with behavioral and emotional challenges. The Mill Pond staff develops a comprehensive individualized plan for each student. Students receive academic, therapeutic, and extra-curricular services that help each student achieve their identified goals and eventually move on to other challenges, better prepared to cope and conquer the challenges they face.
Our academics are extremely important and each classroom teacher is provided with a teacher assistant to help better meet the needs of our students. Each student is placed in the appropriate group to help them achieve their individual goals.
We are dedicated to helping students who experience social-emotional and/or behavior issues as well as learning difficulties. The Mill Pond School has a high staff to student ratio to provide the necessary supports, in and outside the classroom. The educational program provides incentives on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to assist students in developing appropriate strategies so that they can eventually meet with success in their home schools. Class sizes are small with a maximum of 4 students to each adult with additional staff support inside the classroom and in the hallways.
We currently provide a full size Gymnasium, Exercise Room, Kitchen and cafeteria, Art, Music and Physical Education. The building also houses a library/lounge area for students interested in reading in a quiet environment. Students have the opportunity to take a monitored self or staff directed time out in a quiet space with the goal of reentering class as quickly as possible. The school provides additional support staff and a full time school adjustment counselor and nurse. We work cooperatively with the school district and our families to ensure that each student is provided an individual education.
The curriculum of the Mill Pond 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 . 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.
Experienced Based Transition Program
The Mill Pond School also provides a transition program for students between the ages of 18-22 who require additional supports up till age 22. This program provides travel training, daily living skills, and job coaching opportunities. Job supported activities can occur within the building and outside in the community through volunteer opportunities.
Academic based activities at the school will be geared to the needs of the students and the areas of interest that have been identified. This will include basic academic skills needed on the job, proper appearance, work place ethics and other related issues. Daily living skills will involve personal checking, bill paying, record keeping, making doctor’s appointments and identification of leisure activities.
Students will be given work place opportunities tailored to meet their personal interests and abilities. Students will be provided a screening process that includes an aptitude test and interest inventory.
Assistive Technology Devices/Services
Most assistive technology hardware is provided by the student’s sending school district. The School provides computer access to the students as needed.
- Hard of hearing students are provided with an FM system by the sending school district if needed.
- Speech therapy is provided to students who require intervention in the areas of speech production and/or grammar as arranged by the sending school district.
- Physical therapy is provided by the sending school district.
- Occupational therapy is provided as arranged by the sending school district.
We also offer Extended Evaluations. Students are referred for 45 days and we are able to provide educational assessments to identify each student’s needs. We are to provide a Functional Behavior Assessment and a Behavior Intervention Plan as needed. The Team meets twice during this period to identify areas of concern and provide recommendations at the end of the 45 day period.
Students are referred to our school by the Local Education Agencies (LEA). We invite parents, student and LEA to attend an intake interview and tour the building in order to learn more about our program and our staff. Referrals are made due to the benefits offered at Mill Pond School that are difficult to duplicate in the public school. The goal of the Mill Pond School and staff is to assist students in achieving the skills necessary to successfully return to their home schools when they are ready.
The school houses a fully equipped weight room, computer lab, and gymnasium. Additionally, with the financial support of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and a class gift from the Class of 2007, the campus houses a new library. Students benefit from the therapeutic and life-skills value of these activities. The Children’s Study Home completed a $3 million expansion at The Mill Pond School in September 2001. The purpose of the campaign was to build a facility to house new classrooms and the new vocational training center.
A Therapeutic Environment
We provide a wide variety of therapeutic interventions to support the growth and development of the students enrolled in our educational programs. Behavioral approaches are used to help the students gain a sense of self-control and mastery of their impulsive behaviors. A variety of psycho-educational groups are offered including anger management, self-esteem building, social skill development, and communication skills.
By creating an environment that engenders a feeling of safety, structure, and belonging, our students have the opportunity to work on academic, emotional, and behavioral issues. By attending to the educational, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students, they can enjoy a level of success that may have previously eluded them.