Clinicians provide individual and group counseling with all students.
In addition, it is essential that all staff members understand the social, emotional, and psychological needs of the students. Services are organized to give continuous assistance to each student, in knowing himself/herself as an individual and as a member of society. This work includes helping students to recognize their strengths and to correct or compensate for limitations; to relate this information realistically to their needs and potentialities; to learn coping skills to address the social problems common to youth; and to discover and develop creative interests and appreciations.
By gathering comprehensive information and developing Functional Behavioral Assessments, staff are able to provide the above services.
At COMPASS, we believe that the skills needed for students to be successful in school must be taught through positive pro-social interactions and positive reinforcement. While the behavior management system provides the needed structure for the safety of students and staff, the key to treatment is to “catch the kids being good.” COMPASS utilizes a behavior management policy that provides a comprehensive approach to building skills that to lead toward transitioning students to a less restrictive setting. The program is called the BEAMS system.
BEAMS has three equally important components: Skill Development, Positive Point System, and Step System. The point system is very simple: students earn points, they do not lose them. Students are in control of their reward schedule. There are small rewards that can be “purchased” almost immediately, as well as rewards that may take months to earn. COMPASS staff members are trained annually at orientation and also receive ongoing supervision in using the point system.
Staff members provide a safe and nurturing environment in which students can grow and learn.
While Caseworkers may be the backbone of our behavioral system, the behavioral work with students starts in the classroom with teachers and is supported by clinical and support staff. It is essential that all staff members provide consistency in implementing school rules and expectations when working with students.
The BEAMS system developed by COMPASS staff members is the philosophical framework upon which the COMPASS school program is based.
Through BEAMS’ comprehensive system of rewards, we provide safety and structure helping to develop new skills and to extinguish negative behaviors. All students and parents are given a list of behavioral expectations with possible incentives and consequences during the intake process.
While predominately comprised of teachers, it is essential that all staff understand the academic needs and learning styles of our students.
The educational component of COMPASS provides students with access to the general curriculum and strives to ensure that they reach their highest academic potential. Increased literacy and academic remediation are essential to the educational component of COMPASS. Teachers develop curriculum guided by the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and implement lesson plans in compliance with each student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP).
In addition to the state mandated MCAS testing, students may also participate in district-wide testing. Teachers are expected to use a variety of teaching strategies that provided differentiated learning opportunities for students. Teaching and learning includes literacy based, multi-sensory curriculum that incorporates remedial work, computer assisted learning, real-life activities, cooperative learning, experiential, multi-cultural, and hands-on lessons.
COMPASS SCHOOL OVERVIEW
The students served by COMPASS have experienced difficulties in varying degrees.
Most have low self-esteem, learning disabilities, emotional problems, behavioral disorders, mental health issues, limited impulse control and may be experiencing medical problems. Additionally, they often live in a world of violence, substance abuse, and poverty. These difficulties are manifest in a range of behaviors: they may have a hard time making and keeping friends, may distrust adults, attend school haphazardly or drink alcohol and/or take drugs.
Factors contributing to these behaviors are relatively easy to identify. The absence of strong, positive authority figures at home, a history of neglect or abuse, and poor health care are recurring themes, resistant to easy solution. Indeed, this complex of factors makes educational and employment opportunities difficult for our students. There is usually no basis for study habits or encouragement of academic work; vocational opportunities are rarely appreciated or explored. Students often work below grade level, have difficulty attending to a task, and often have undiagnosed special education needs. There is no single "solution" to this complex set of problems our students face. COMPASS recognizes that each individual student needs and deserves unique treatment.
COMPASS stresses a team approach in our daily work with students.
As members of the therapeutic milieu, we share responsibility working toward the same goals for our students. Though individual staff members may be specialist within a component of the milieu, (ie. Educational, Behavioral or Clinical) we recognize that, in order to be successful, close and frequent interactions between all team members is necessary.
COMPASS’ hallmark is a team approach, utilizing staff from many disciplines. Communication, listening to each other and planning together are essential components of the work that supports the success of the students/clients we serve.