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Treatment Philosophy

Skills Assessment and Development

Developing a comprehensive understanding of each individual, their strengths and challenges, and the specific influences to their difficulties is a primary and ongoing component of treatment.  The Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (Greene and Ablon), along with supporting assessment tools, are utilized to facilitate this process, and to guide the treatment/intervention planning for each student.  Through this process a thorough understanding of strengths, resources and limitations is acquired and a plan to help develop skills and resources while not overwhelming one’s resources can be initiated.

The core skills that are focused upon throughout all HEC campuses include:  independent living/functional skills, academic skills, and the skills identified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) (Linehan): Mindfulness, Emotional Management, Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC)

When the environment is very overwhelming, as is often the case when a person experiences trauma, attachment disruptions, loss, domestic violence or abuse, the result can be significant impact on the development of the person’s skills and resources.  Exposure to those who have experienced these events has impact on others in the community.  A trauma informed environment requires an understanding of trauma and considers its effects, at the personal, individual and societal levels.

As trauma and loss are, at their core, violations of interpersonal connection, the HEC community focuses on developing healthy relationships with others.  Within these healthy relationships, motivation, healthy sense of self and connections to others and the community are developed.  Other primary intervention approaches from the TIC philosophy include psycho-education about trauma/vicarious trauma and its effects, understanding the influence of individual trauma histories, making meaning from these difficult experiences, developing self-awareness, developing skills and resources to manage more effectively, and proactively planning for safety.

Applied Behavior Analysis

For many students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hillcrest utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence based practice that has proven to have a positive effect on the lives of people with severe forms of Autism.  Using ABA, staff provide individualized instruction that is integrated throughout the school program.  This instruction will help students learn new skills in a variety of domains including, but not limited to, education, social, self-care, communication and life skills.  All ABA programming is overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Medical Emergency Procedures:

 

While you are hillcrest our medical professionals will always take good care of you.  If you ever need medical treatment that our on-site nurses cannot take care of you will go with your staff to the local hospital to make sure you are healthy and safe.  Depending on why you need to go to the hospital, you may be driven by staff in a Hillcrest car or van, or you may go in an ambulance.  Your family or guardian will always be talked to so they know what is going on.  

 

THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT

 

 

The medical department consists of several licensed professionals who care for all students.  The Medical Director is a practicing local pediatrician. Together with his nurse practitioners they are responsible for the student’s overall medical care. This includes annual and periodic examinations as well as assessment of symptoms and specialist referral when necessary. The psychiatrist examines all students on a regular basis. They receive feedback from the interdepartmental team and assess the need for medications or changes as well as consult with other members of the health care team. Nurses are available throughout the daytime hours and oncall during the night. The nursing staff oversees the general health of all students, dispenses medication, and provides treatment during illness or accident. They also guide students in understanding their individual health and well being. In addition, there is a nutritionist on staff who consults with the agency to provide assessment and assistance as needed. This includes specialized individual guidance as well as menu planning for well-balanced daily intake. The medical department works collaboratively to ensure the general welfare of each student.

Medications

If you receive medications while at Housatonic Academy, a nurse or trained and certified staff member, following all applicable laws, regulations and guidelines established for the administration of medications by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Education, must administer them. Any medications you need must be given to the nursing department upon arrival at school. All medications must be in the original container and be clearly and appropriately labeled by a licensed pharmacy. Students should never be in possession of their medication.  All medication must be passed from one adult to another.

Organization Overview

Hillcrest Educational Foundation

General Overview of the Organization

(* Senior Management Team Member)

Board of Directors

* President/CEO

* Executive Director (reports to President/CEO)

* Vice Presidents (report to Executive Director)

– Senior VP

– VP of Finance

– VP of Human Resources & Workforce Learning

*  Department Heads (report to the Senior Vice President)

 

–        Director of Nursing

–        Director of Education & Assistant

–        Program Support /Facilities Director

–        Program Director/Manager

–        Clinical Director

 

 

Department Staff (report to Department Heads)

 

–        Supervisors & Assistants

–        Clinical Staff

–        Teachers

–        Nurses

–        Support Services

–        Youth Development Counselors

–        Teacher Aides

–        Related Service Providers

 

Food Service

Breakfast will be served to all students at the Housatonic Academy.  Lunch will be prepared at another Hillcrest campus and will be served each day at Housatonic Academy. If you have any allergies to specific foods, please let us know so we can accommodate you. You are welcome to bring your own lunch from home. We are a nut free school so food containing any nut product is not allowed.

 

At designated times throughout the days, students are also provided with healthy snacks.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE & REPRESENTATIVE, Departments

Your Human Rights and Ethics representative is:

 

______________________________________________________________________________

(Print Name)

 

As a member of the Hillcrest Educational Centers (HEC) Human Rights and Ethics Committee, your representative will serve as a source of information on Human Rights and Ethics for students and /or staff.

 

If you, as a student of HEC, have a question or concern relating to Human Rights and /or Ethics you may speak to your representative.

 

 

STATEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Every student of Hillcrest has the right to voice their concerns / complaints, without fear of reprisal. There are several people on the campus who can help you with this. If you have concerns that your rights have been violated, you were mistreated or you did not receive adequate treatment services, you may file a grievance. Your concerns must be written and submitted to your clinician. Your clinician will review the grievance and within 24 hours, will notify the appropriate individuals, who will then conduct the investigation of the allegation. These individuals may include, but are not limited to, Supervisors, Program Managers, Program Directors and the Human Rights Representative on your campus. Upon receipt of the grievance, the Human Rights representative will only be involved if it appears that the grievance involves a violation of your rights. The primary role of the individual is not of an advocate, but as an advisor to the investigative committee. You are free, at any time, to notify your agency, lawyer or guardian of your concerns.

Your Rights as a Student

 

You as a student at Housatonic Academy have the right to…

  •         The same basic civil and legal rights as all citizens.
  •         Be treated with courtesy and dignity and to have your privacy and confidentiality

assured and protected to the greatest extent possible.

  •         Be treated in an appropriate manner to meet your individualized needs.
  •         An Individualized Crisis Management Plan and education plan.
  •         Help create your Individualized Crisis Management Plan and education plan.
  •         Know what records will be kept on your behavior and progress at Housatonic

Academy.

  •         Have access to call parents/guardians, advocates, social workers, agency collaterals

or attorney during their lunch/recess period, with the permission of staff.

 

At intake to the assigned campus, the individual served and their parent or guardian will receive a copy of their campus’ handbook.  The handbook covers the procedures related to the specific campus and needs of the population.  If at this time the individual served is disoriented or lacks capacity to understand their rights, he or she will be issued and informed again when he or she is able to understand the materials and information.

Your Responsibilities As a Student

While at Housatonic Academy, you must follow certain guidelines that will help to teach you the following skills:

  •         To respect yourself, other students, staff and teachers.
  •         To follow instructions and directions.
  •         To respect the personal space and belongings of others.
  •         To follow the daily schedule and routine.
  •         To communicate with staff so they know where you are at all times.
  •         To report all safety issues or concerns to staff.
  •         To maintain good personal hygiene.
  •         To comply immediately with any staff request regarding safety.
  •         Cooperate with the goals of your Individualized Education Plan
  •         To follow all school and classroom rules
  •         To understand and follow Daily Expectations and Consequence

 

At intake to the assigned campus, the individual served and their parent or guardian will receive a copy of their campus’ handbook.  The handbook covers the procedures related to the specific campus and needs of the population.  If at this time the individual served is disoriented or lacks capacity to understand their rights, he or she will be issued and informed again when he or she is able to understand the materials and information.

Our Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principals:

  •         Every student has the potential to succeed in life
  •         Every member of the Hillcrest community (students, families, and employees) is

entitled to unconditional respect

  •         Every student is entitled to individualized treatment and education
  •         Students need our services because they have lacked the skills, resources, or support

required to cope with their environments

  •         Families are an integral part of our students’ success
  •         We are committed to assuring that our students reach their full academic potential
  •         We are committed to continuous improvement and learning
  •         We are committed to fiscal responsibility
  •         We are committed to teamwork
  •         We are committed to excellence

 

Important Notes Section:  (Add here)

 

Your team name is: ________________________________

 

Your teacher is: ___________________________________

 

Your clinician is: ___________________________________

 

Important Phone Numbers

Housatonic Academy                 (413) 443-2367      Fax Number         (413) 443-1246

Transportation                         (413) 443-2367

 

Housatonic Academy Program Description

        Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. was founded on the belief that our students are unique individuals with specific needs.  Accordingly, the educational programming, which we offer, is tailored to enable students to both reach and use their potential.  Students are referred to Hillcrest Educational Centers when their behavior is severely problematic, self-defeating, and, sometimes, dangerous to the student and/or others.  Therefore, our students require treatment in order to develop and learn to use self-control, to change their behavior and to grow psychologically and emotionally.  HEC’s goal is to facilitate the social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth of our students so that they will be able to do well in less restrictive settings.

        The treatment approach at Housatonic Academy (HA) is interdisciplinary.  This means that we offer each student a combination of qualified professional and paraprofessional staff who are trained in the various approaches and skills required for that student’s individual development and unique needs.  These disciplines and approaches include special education, group counseling, speech and language, occupational therapy, recreation and wellness and vocational activities and supports.

        Services are delivered at HA through a Team model.  Educators, psychologists, nurses and others work together to serve a specific group of students who are assigned to that Team.  The teams take a proactive, educational approach to helping the student change his/her problem behaviors.   The primary focus of our work is to enhance the quality of our students’ lives to such an extent that they can return to the neighborhood schools and communities.

        You’ll note that we refer to the children we serve as “students”.  At Hillcrest Educational Centers, we believe that all people can change and grow; that all people can learn.  In that sense we believe that we are all learners and we are all students.  We learn from our works with our students, how to be better teachers and helpers.  We learn from the struggles that our students have as they face new challenges.  We learn about how to be courageous in a world that has often been cruel and difficult.

        We call the children students because at the Housatonic Academy, you will learn.  You will learn new ways of thinking, feeling and acting;  new ways to get along with others; new ways to get your needs met; new ways of succeeding in the world.  We welcome you in this journey toward growth.