The Success Story of a Gateway Student–UBHC Support
You will read a great deal about the academics and life skills offered at a special needs school. The most important question remaining is how the school maintains an environment conducive to such training. Gateway School coordinates with organizations from the international level to the local level to ensure the safest setting for its students.
Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) is an international organization that educates our staff in safe, respectful and noninvasive methods for managing disruptive and assaultive behaviors. Their training is instrumental when it comes to students with troublesome behavior like Nick, whose story we will revisit later. Their objective is to de-escalate difficult situations that arise as early as possible by understanding students’ anxieties, body language and behaviors. Some staff have acquired additional crisis training in Safety-Care (QBS, Inc.). They also emphasize core principles that are respectful, humane and non-coercive.
Maintaining the Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security of both students and staff members is CPI’s essential philosophy. Thanks to them, Gateway has a permanent crisis team that provides an immediate response to any problem within the school at the earliest stages. Depending on their role, the entire staff is trained several times a year, in order to provide support to the crisis team.
Even with the vital participation of our crisis team, the school program always welcomes outside support. Nick, whom we mentioned earlier, is affiliated with a school-based program offered by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC). UBHC’s goal is to create healthy environments for learning by partnering with schools, like Gateway, to develop prevention and intervention strategies that promote academic and life success. Again, the idea is to identify and intervene during the early stages of the problematic behavior. They then assist parents and school personnel in developing comprehensive strategies for addressing these behaviors.
Nick’s success story is directly related to the intervention of both the crisis intervention team and UBHC’s school-based program. In 2013, Nick came to The Gateway School exhibiting extreme, challenging behavior. The crisis intervention team was in and out of the classroom on a regular basis. Staff went above and beyond, employing all of their training and listening skills. Once UBHC became involved, we were able to implement different techniques in an attempt to find one what worked best for Nick.
It has been six years now. Ask Nick’s former teachers - Ms. Kielbus, Ms. Casablanca, Ms. Doneman and Mr. Paulosky, about the version of Nick they get to enjoy having in their classrooms. It is not that Nick does not get upset.
According to the aide that has been with Nick for four years, “Nick knows his resources and uses them when he gets upset.” His communication skills have improved, both internally and externally. Nick has even been described as independent and reliable.
How does Nick feel about all of this? According to him, he was a “troubled kid.” He was nervous, angry and “had no self-control.” When his peers would criticize him, he would “curse at them, throw objects, chairs, spit, hit, kick and have to be restrained.” Then, Nick’s story starts to take a turn when he mentions teachers by name. One teacher is noted as nice and caring. Others are even referred to as “grandmas.” One of those “grandmas” is even credited with a change in behavior.
“I stayed out of trouble more and was trusted to work out of class, when in the past I wasn’t....”
Nick goes on to praise the teacher for helping him with his self-control. He does criticize one teacher’s jokes as “corny” but still admits they “make him laugh.” We promise to implement a humor training program for all staff but, in the meantime, we are going to thoroughly enjoy stories like Nick’s.
The Gateway School an private special education school in New Jersey
Our Mission at The Gateway School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.541.4400, or request a tour of The Gateway School located in Carteret New Jersey, just minutes off of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ