Parent Guide

 

Developed by Gary Fitzherbert

 


 

This parent guide will be made available to parents, schools, state and national agencies, professionals in the field, and various associations. Remember, the right school is out there, with the right people doing the right thing, for the right reason. You just have to find them. This guide will assist you with that task. Print out the guide and use it on your next program site visit!

 

 

 

PARENT GUIDE TO SPECIAL SCHOOLS

 

 

    PARENT COMMENTS

Take the time to look, question, and get answers

for your child's future.

 

 

 

AREAS TO EXAMINE IN DETAIL

 

RED FLAG WARNING

 

       IMPORTANCE                      1=LOW -5=HIGH

 

 

 

PARENT RESEARCH

 

 

 

student population match to your child

4

 

program well established in time and reputation

5

 

financial stability

3

 

administrative stability, length of service at site

3

 

strength based classes/activities    24/7

2

 

history of safety for faculty and students

5

 Check with State

 

TOUR OF SITE AND PROGRAM

 

 

 

program encourages tours by parents prior to evaluation

3

 

program allows review of all areas

5

 

parents are allowed to talk with faculty

4

 

parents are allowed to talk with students

5

 Best info source

parents are provided contact info to present and past parents

5

 No excuses

parents feel welcome

5

 

adequate time is available for questions and discussions

3

 

 

EVALUATION PROCESS

 

 

 

facility and parents expect evaluation prior to decision

1

 

evaluation is complete in all areas

2

 

evaluation team has question/answer with parents

2

 

facility conducts review of evaluation process prior to decision

5

 

 

ADMISSIONS

 

 

 

inquiry was handled promptly, pleasantly, and professionally

3

 

information requests sent to parent immediately

2

 

flexible in meeting parent's time frames/availability

2

 

IDEA and funding information provided

1

 

expectation of parents clearly explained

3

 

meetings on campus are prompt and professional

4

 

parents are made comfortable and put at ease

3

 

questions answered honestly showing knowledge of program

4

 

parents needs are met during admissions process

4

 

professional in all ways

5

 

trust is established during admission process

5

 

if student not a match to program, is guidance provided

1

 

 

PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

 

 

 

good first impression, buildings, grounds, faculty, students

5

 

pleasant, safe, obvious student orientation

3

 

parent feels comfortable in environment

3

 

surrounding environment appears safe

3

 

nature is respected and utilized

1

 

matches to number and needs of students

2

 

 

FACILITIES

 

 

 

full scale school building with gym

3

 

dining/kitchen adequate for students and faculty

3

 

home like residential environment

3

 

activity centers matched to needs of students

3

 

library

                     4

 

vocational facilities

2

 

security system, awake faculty 24/7,

5

 

wireless communication everywhere

3

 

furniture/carpeting/bedding/ in good condition

3

 

facility is clean and free of odor/no damages anywhere

4

 

classrooms are fully equipped with adequate supplies

4

 

living environment is pleasant/attractive, matched to students

4

 

state of the art indoor alarm systems

5

 

outdoor security systems

3

 

 

EDUCATION

 

 

 

all faculty fully qualified with appropriate certifications

5

 Varies greatly

leadership is experienced with length of service on site

5

 

state of the art technology, wireless, smart boards, labs

3

 

program moving quickly to on-line courses                                                                            

3

 

comprehensive academic program, able to meet student needs

3

 

12 month education program

3

 

homework

2

 

program is fully certified to provide course credit and graduation

2

 

planned field trips and virtual field trips

2

 

facility provides training time and planning time for faculty

4

 

 

RESIDENTIAL

 

 

 

faculty and students strengths, interest, talents utilized in program

5

 

residential faculty utilize lesson plans based on student's needs

3

 

residential faculty are professional, education and appearance

3

 

activity based motivational instructional program

4

 

student social needs met through planned activities

3

 

community service program

2

 

all meals utilized for positive social interaction/manner instruction

4

 

homelike living environment with clear expectations for chores

4

 

 

CLINICAL

 

 

 

all clinicians are licensed/certified in state of operation

5

 

positive, motivational, strength based, milieu throughout program

5

 

training provided to all faculty on treatment program

5

 

training provided to parents, parenting, positive approaches, etc

4

 

strong leadership with many years of service at site

5

 

 

CULTURE

 

 

 

all faculty are friendly, welcoming, and engaging

5

 

all faculty engaged with students

5

 

faculty and students are comfortable with each other/smiles

5

 

faculty and students show respect, language, eye contact

5

 

faculty and students take care of their environment

3

 

 

VALUES

 

 

 

mission is value based

3

 

values are obvious in the environment

5

 

values are taught to faculty and students constantly

5

 

values are made clear to parents

3

 

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

 

 

administration met with parents on tour/evaluation

4

 

management team has adequate length of service on site

5

 

ceo/executive director/president works on site

4

 Fully involved

administration is active in professional organizations

3

 

administration is approachable by students for feedback

4

 

background of leadership in treatment/education

5

 

 

FINANCIAL

 

 

 

program is non-profit

5

 Mission driven

annual audit available

3

 

history of positive growth

4

 

development program based upon program improvement

4

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS

 

 

 

past and present parents on board

5

 

voting majority not family

5

 Focus on students

voting majority not financially based

3

 

members are involved in program improvement

3

 

 

PARENT INVOLVEMENT /EXPECTATIONS

 

 

 

parent involvement made clear at admissions

5

 

handbook for parents

2

 

communication procedures made clear to parents

3

 

parent training programs

4

 

social involvement encouraged/scheduled for year

4

 

program reviews scheduled for year

4

 

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

communications between parent and student/phone or email

5

 Involvement

real time parent website with all critical student info provided

3

 

all faculty have real time communications

5

 

student have access to social worker

5

 

student has procedure for complaints of any kind on site

5

 

student has access at all times for reporting abuse of any kind

5

 How

 

OTHER AREAS

 

 

 

accreditations/licensing from recognized organizations/state

5

 Paper or Real

specific training in crisis management prevention/certified

4

 

aggressive and fragile children not on same site

4

 

program is more than ten years old

5

 

program has deeply involved faculty, to do whatever is necessary

3

 

prevocational programs are available

2

 

program readily shares its future plans

1

 

program has oversight with measurement of treatment approach

4

 

can meet referring state/lea requirements for courses/treatment

5

 

students have choice of activities but guided by faculty

4

 

families are encouraged to connect for support and education

3

 

 

FOOD SERVICES

 

 

 

separate dining area

4

 

adequate time for all meals/family style/pleasant approach

3

 

chef/experienced cook with feedback interactions with students

3

 

planned menus available/students like food choices

4

 

menus meet all local and state requirements

5

 

program can meet special meal requirements of student

5

 

program is active in well being with diet programs as needed

3

 

 

MEDICAL

 

 

 

licensed/approved medical personnel 24/7

5

 

safe working/treatment environment for staff/students

5

 

secure facilities for medicine

5

 

clean/healthy area for dispensing/record keeping

5

 

oversight by licensed psychiatrist

5

 

 

ACTIVITY CENTERS

 

 

 

program is active with activities versus babysitting/TV

5

 Treatment

separate activity centers from living environments

4

 

activity centers are available at rate of minimum of 2 per 20 students to encourage faculty to instruct per treatment plan

3

 

centers are based on meeting special needs of students

5

 

centers provide a wide menu choice of activities

4

 

centers provide space for strength/interest/talent/abilities

4

 

center for arts/music/drama

3

 

center for indoor physical fitness

3

 

center for indoor sports

3

 

multiple centers for outdoor sports/activities

3

 

center for animal care

2

 

center for vocational program

3

 

center for technology

5

 

center for cooking/nutrition

3

 

center for electronics

3

 

FACULTY REQUIREMENTS AND APPEARANCE

 

 

college degrees across all areas

4

 

professional in appearance and personal care areas

5

 

training provided annually in all annual liability/mandated areas

5

 

training provided in program treatment areas/improvement

4

 

low staff turnover

3

 

all legal background checks are done before hiring

5

 Critical today

drug testing completed before hiring

5

 Critical today

random drug testing conducted by independent agency

5

 

 

NOTES...

 

 

 

 

 

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