Academy provides an academically enriching, therapeutic environment that
can effectively manage students with academic, emotional/behavioral problems
while enabling them to learn and grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
at Farr Academy undertake the role of teacher/counselor, integrating effective
principles from both the teaching and counseling professions into the
range of services are provided that help students understand and change
the beliefs and underlying emotional issues which cause behaviors that
interfere with learning and personal growth. This is achieved through
the formation of therapeutic relationships with staff, and a rigorous
curriculum that is tailored to the learning needs and academic levels
of the individual student. The following program components and strategies
are employed to assist students as they tackle educational tasks, achieve
emotional stability, manage interpersonal relationships, and endeavor
to reach their potential. Please select a link from the list below or
|The_Therapeutic_Environment| |Therapeutic_Alliances_with_Staff| |Staff| |Small_Classes| |Curriculum| |Remedial_Services_/_Tutorial| |Studio_Art_/_Woodshop| |Physical_Education| |Problem_Solving_/_Communication_Meetings|
therapeutic environment lies at the heart of Farr Academy. Care, respect,
patience, knowledgeable staff, thoughtful student-centered teaching, positive
systems, and the art of never giving up on a student are joined together
with expectations and standards that encourage and support learning, emotional
growth, positive change, competence, achievement and the ability to be
self-reliant and independent. A therapeutic environment fosters tolerance
and understanding by focusing on reflection, group process and shared
goals. Students are supported as they are challenged to strive harder
and are taught in ways that promote success. They are encouraged to question
their beliefs and actions as they explore new ideas and ways of thinking.
They are encouraged to strive, with the knowledge that they will only
be asked to tackle tasks that are well within their emotional and academic
Alliances with Staff
is our belief that therapeutic alliances enable staff to work with students
in order to foster emotional and academic growth. The core of these alliances
is formed by the classroom teacher/counselor and the homeroom teacher/counselor.
Classroom teacher/counselors use multiple techniques to break through
barriers, provide corrective experiences in the classroom, and begin to
help students believe in themselves as students, as individuals, as members
of a group, and as part of a community.
homeroom teacher/counselor serves as the primary counselor, support person,
advocate, and together with the parent worker, liaison with family and
community. Students are guided by the homeroom teacher/counselor through
the process of developing trust, self-awareness, self-confidence, self-control,
and respect for self and others by providing counseling, facilitating
problem solving meetings, reinforcing compliance with rules, and teaching
strategies and techniques to manage stress and frustration. Understanding
how the past impacts the present and how their beliefs and feelings drive
their behaviors are powerful insights that evolve over time. Through these
two complementary alliances students learn to set and work toward goals,
communicate successfully with others, and become decision makers who make
Farr Academy staff consists of administrators, clerical staff, teacher/counselors,
clinical staff and consultants. The overall program student/staff ratio
is 2:1. The 2:1 ratio includes all staff involved in providing direct
services to students, including tutoring and school-to-career counseling.
At Farr Academy the quality and capability of each staff person is believed
to be of primary importance. We therefore hire staff based on their ability
to work well with the students at Farr Academy as well as for their professional
Academy approaches our work with students from an integrated perspective
and therefore each staff person is both teacher and counselor to the students
within their classes and most especially to those students within their
homeroom. Homeroom teacher/counselors have the largest share of responsibility
for providing counseling, outreach, support and advocacy for the students
in their homeroom and together with the parent worker provide the linkage
with parents and community workers.
classes provide the opportunity to develop intensive individualized instruction
based upon each student's ability, potential and need. Specific approaches
are geared to the learning disabled student. Two teacher/counselors are
most often assigned to work with approximately six students and therefore
have the opportunity
to provide individual instruction to students in the classroom. Counseling
and teaching are integrated into the classroom by teacher/counselors who
work to balance the emotional and academic needs of all students. This
permits the individualized attention necessary to get beyond the emotional
barriers that make it difficult for the student to learn. Defenses such
as anger, boredom and indifference that cover over the pain and anguish
of unsuccessful school experiences are more easily penetrated by a trusted
teacher/counselor with whom a student has formed an alliance. Small classes
permit attentional problems, distractibility and impulsivity to be addressed.
Academic strengths are reinforced and areas of weakness are remediated.
Structured group activity and learning is emphasized as well in order
to encourage interpersonal pro-social skills.
curriculum, aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, includes
an array of middle and high school courses. Coursework, although typically
rigorous, includes opportunities for individual instruction, remediation,
modification and accommodation. Students with a learning disability are
provided specialized instruction in the classroom and the opportunity
for a tutorial. Each student maintains a weekly schedule that includes
English, mathematics, science, social studies, Spanish, woodshop, art,
electives and physical education. Remedial and college preparatory courses
are offered. Methods and materials are carefully chosen to encourage students to challenge themselves, build
on strengths and remediate areas of weakness.
most classes include individualized instruction, group learning is included.
Instruction is geared to address learning needs as well as academic skill
level. Since students at Farr Academy have the potential to achieve academically
and may choose to further their education after high school, they are
encouraged to pursue challenging course work.
Each term students select two elective courses from a list of diverse
course offerings. A sampling of current elective courses includes the
following: computer instruction, creative writing, anatomy and dissection,
driver's education, furniture making, journalism, mythology, educational
excursions, astronomy, outdoor adventure, SAT and MCAS preparation, instructional
weight-training, and music instruction, including guitar, bass guitar,
piano, voice and drum.
Services / Tutorial
of academic weaknesses and specific learning disabilities is focused on
in the classroom. The format and structure
of academic classes permit the two teacher/counselors to develop individualized
curriculum, provide one-to-one instruction and support, and modify the
curriculum in order to remediate deficits while at the same time build
on academic skills. When a student needs more individualized instruction
and attention, one-to-one tutorials are provided. Individual tutorials
are provided for a variety of reasons. They are offered to students who
have a specific learning disability such as dyslexia; to students who
would profit from a one-to-one relationship for emotional support; to
students who need one-to-one instruction in a particular subject, and
also to students who excel in and want to pursue a particular area of
Studio Art / Woodshop
opportunity to explore creative, project-oriented endeavors is provided
through an extensive art and woodshop program integrated
into the daily course of studies. Individual instruction is geared toward student-driven projects based upon skill level and competence.
Students are encouraged to explore various materials and learn new skills
in a safe, non-stressful environment that supports creative expression
and often serves as a therapeutic outlet. For the student with a serious
interest in pursuing art or furniture making/carpentry in the future,
the Studio Art and Woodshop staff possess the expertise to help students
build a portfolio and demonstrate competencies toward that goal.
education classes concentrate on developing individual and team skills
as well as the appreciation and enjoyment of varied athletic activities.
Seasonal intramural and inter-league team sports are offered in addition
to general fitness and health classes. Exercise and team sports offer
a safe outlet to express a range of complex feelings. Students are supported
and encouraged to explore the advantages offered through these activities.
Problem Solving/Communication Meetings
of our students are frequently confronted by problems, some of their own
creation and others they have no control over. They rarely have developed
a means of dealing effectively with them. We provide our students the
opportunity to learn the basic skills that enable them to become problem
solvers and sound decision makers through counseling and our system of
problem solving meetings. They learn to solve conflicts, discuss differences
of opinion, clarify confusions, and work through frustrations. Through
discussion and reflection, they learn to identify the real problem. They
learn how to assess their own feelings and beliefs and to respect and
understand the feelings and beliefs of others. They learn how to get to
"what really happened", and to recognize their own role in any
interaction as well as the role of others.
With practice, students learn how to resolve, or at the very least, come
to terms with “the problem”. Within this non-judgmental, non-punitive
format, students learn to trust that they will be heard and will be helped
to hear others. They learn that with patience, persistence, and practice,
nearly all problems and conflicts can be avoided or resolved in this manner.
Learning how to listen to the concerns, opinions, and perceptions of others
and how to express one's own ideas and feelings are central to gaining
a sense of control over one's life. Many of our students feel that they
have never been listened to and have never figured out how to have a positive
voice. Instead, they often use behaviors that are provocative or destructive
as their primary means of communication. They have heard so little that
is positive and so much that hurts, that it is safer to just turn off
the voices that assault them and therefore, have long ago stopped listening
to anyone. They are so often immersed in problems they can neither understand
nor resolve and possess such underdeveloped communication skills that
they do not have the ability to engage in a meaningful discussion. Therefore
they express themselves through unhelpful verbal interchanges or negative
behaviors. Central to the concept of problem solving/communication meetings,
is the ability of the student, with help, to look within, get beyond the
defenses and explore the underlying feelings which may have nothing to
do with the stated or apparent conflict that rears up, overwhelms the
student and lies at the heart of the problem. Within the format of the
problem solving/communication meetings established at Farr Academy, students
learn and practice the skills that enable them to better understand themselves
and others. They learn to give equal weight to “facts” and
“feelings” and understand the interplay between the two. They
become better communicators, learn to make sound decisions that successfully
prevent potential problems or conflicts, and become more effective at
avoiding, preventing and solving problems through reflection and discussion.
Groups / Rap-Up
for group discussion are made available through weekly Homeroom groups
and all school Rap-Up sessions facilitated by trained Farr Academy staff.
A wide variety of topics raised by students or staff can become the focus
of discussion in the small homeroom group and/or the larger all school
School-to-Career Counselor assists students as they explore options for
post high school opportunities, whether college, technical school, or
employment, and works with employers to provide internships, training,
and paid employment to all interested students. Career counseling and
exploration, as well as work experiences serve as a bridge for students
as they prepare for the future. For many students this process first begins
with the desire to find and hold a job. For others, college, technical
school, the trades, or other fields of interest are ideas that have been
nurtured for years. The School-to-Career Counselor offers all students
the opportunity to explore the wealth of options available before and
after graduation beginning with their interests and talents.
with students and parents, the School-to-Career Counselor and Transition
Team, a designated group of Farr Academy
staff chosen to serve as Transition Advisors, coordinate the college and
technical school search and admissions process as well as exploration
of the trades and other fields of interest; provide information regarding
FAFSA forms and eligibility, SAT preparatory courses, SAT test schedules,
campus visits, and oversee the application process.
instruction and field experiences are provided to expose students to various
employment options and increase their employability. Specific job related
skills are taught and on-the-job training opportunities may be included
through field trips, job shadowing, off-site and on-site internships,
and after school employment. Students are encouraged to learn about work
through the process of job searching, application, securing a position,
maintaining employment by demonstrating proper work habits, and leaving
a job appropriately. Throughout this experience, students are guided,
supervised, counseled and advised by the School-to-Career Counselor who
searches out jobs and serves as a liaison between the school and the job
enter Farr Academy because they have been unsuccessful in some aspect
of their lives. They may have had difficulty in the public schools, in
their families, or in their communities. It is our goal that at some point
all students will work through many of the issues that made it impossible
for them to function effectively. Planning for the transition to public
school, graduation from Farr Academy or placement in an alternative program
is an integral part of the IEP TEAM meeting process as well as regularly
scheduled staff meetings and meetings of the Transition Team, a designated
group of staff chosen to serve as Transition Advisors who monitor the
process of goal setting, goal attainment, readiness for reintegration
to public school and/or meeting graduation requirements. Students, parents,
liaisons from the public schools and other agency staff are regularly
consulted throughout this process. Post graduation planning is monitored
and coordinated through the School-to-Career Counselor in consultation
with the Transition Team.
is a point system intended to be used as a concrete resource for students
to reflect upon their overall school and class-by-class performance. It
is used in conjunction with discussions geared to acknowledge successes,
problem solve concerns and create plans that support positive change.
earn points based upon their Promptness and Attendance to school, and
their Cooperation and Effort in each class. Students are encouraged to
use this system to review and evaluate their performance and progress
with their homeroom teacher/counselor and to identify areas of strength
and areas that need improvement.
Academy offers the opportunity to experience the outdoors with trained
staff guiding each trip to all students who wish to participate.
Students are encouraged to sign up for day trips and one or two night
camping trips scheduled for weekends throughout the school year. Trips
include hiking the White Mountains in New Hampshire with packs, canoeing
the Saco River in Maine and tenting overnight on a sandbar, cross-country
skiing and snow-shoeing, fishing, and bike hikes. Overnight trips range
from tenting in the wilderness and in campsites to sleeping in cabins
in the woods on winter trips.
many students, the Farr Academy camping program exposes them to a new
awareness of the beauty, peace and excitement contained in the mountains,
rivers, lakes, marshes and tidal pools in New England as well as a new
understanding of their own capabilities and a much needed feeling of success
and self-evident accomplishment. The unique confidence that comes from
enduring the challenges inherent in many outdoor experiences can help
motivate youngsters who have felt failure to reach out and explore other
experiences with a new found sense of their ability to attain a goal they
have set for themselves, The joy of a hard climb to the top of a mountain,
the thrill of snow-shoeing through the quiet woods in winter, and the
sheer pleasure of canoeing a river remains a special memory for many Farr
Academy alumni who continue to use what they learned through the camping
program far beyond their years at Farr Academy.
is an integral component of Farr Academy. As its name implies, staff reach
out on a regular basis to help a student and/or parents during times of
stress. We are aware of how difficult it is to break well established
patterns of truancy or avoidance of school and to resist the pull of the
peer group or manage the complexity of family dynamics. Therefore outreach
in various forms is provided. For the student having difficulty getting
to school daily, staff may provide morning wake-up calls, pick-up services,
and family meetings to discuss the underlying issues. At times, a student
needs additional outreach even when in school daily. This too is provided
on an ongoing basis in a variety of ways. Staff devote many additional
hours beyond the usual school day to students and parents, including school
breaks, at various times during the course of a student's tenure at Farr
Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan
Farr Academy has a long history of teaching pro-social skills to all students, paying particular attention to the specific disability of students in the school and how the disability affects their ability to successfully interact with others. Although Bullying as defined in this law has not been singled out for specific discussion, teaching students to understand the causes of interactions that are hurtful to one another, and how they are fostered and supported or spurned and refused acceptance in favor of other forms of outlets, is an ongoing focus of teaching in all aspects of the program... ReadoMore
II Definitions and Terms
means perpetrator of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, and amended by Section 72-74 of Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2013 to include “a member of a school staff, including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extra-curricular activity or paraprofessional”.
Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, bullying is defined as the repeated use by one or more students, and as amended by Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2013 to include staff, of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination, directed at a target that... ReadoMore
Farr Academy acknowledges the importance of leadership at all levels in developing and implementing our Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. On or before December 31, 2010, the Farr Academy Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan was submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and posted on the school website. Moreover, the Plan which was amended in December 2013, will be reviewed and updated at least biennially, as mandated by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O. Staff are trained annually and receive annual written notice of the Plan... ReadoMore
Farr Academy in its work with students, who have a wide range of learning, social, and emotional difficulties, believes that prevention is the key to creating a climate where bullying, including cyber-bullying and retaliation is not fostered and supported, but is rather spurned and refused acceptance by all students... ReadoMore
V Access to Resources and Services
In addition to the resources and services available to all students, highlighted in Prevention, including targets, aggressors and their families, Farr Academy will recommend additional supports such as Community Service Agencies (CSAs) as needed, in collaboration with collaterals, and parents or guardians.
VI Academic and Non-Academic Activities
As prescribed in the law, Farr Academy will investigate evidence-based curricula appropriate to the population at the academy to integrate into the existing classroom approaches, whole school initiatives, and focused strategies and techniques currently used. Most of the approaches that follow are integrated into the social and emotional learning skills currently taught. A focus on these prevention approaches specifically related to bullying and retaliation will be implemented.
Specific bullying prevention approaches
Bullying prevention curricula will be informed by current research, and may include aspects of the following approaches:
- using scripts and role plays to develop skills;
- empowering students to take action by knowing what to do when they witness other students or school staff engaged in acts of bullying or retaliation, including seeking staff assistance;
- helping students understand the dynamics of bullying and cyber-bullying, including the underlying power imbalance;
- emphasizing cyber-safety, including safe and appropriate use of electronic communication technologies;
- enhancing students’ skills for engaging in healthy relationships and respectful communications; and
- engaging students in a safe, supportive school environment that is respectful of diversity and difference.
VII Policy and Procedures for Responding to and Reporting Concerns Related to Bullying and Retaliation
General guidelines for staff response to student interactions that raise concerns of bullying and retaliation include:
- Staff are expected to thoughtfully respond and intervene when concerns about bullying arise.
- Staff are expected to remain neutral and calm when dealing with alleged bullying situations.
- Staff are expected to understand that the tone used by them is critical to defusing any situation.
VIII Parent Involvement
Consistent with the philosophy of Farr Academy, parent involvement is an essential ingredient in creating an environment that most effectively helps students grow and develop in all aspects of their academic, social, and emotional experiences. A parent clinical coordinator is on staff to provide parents easy access to the school, so that we can work together as we deal with issues that impact students negatively or are an outgrowth of their specific disability. In order to most effectively implement strategies to prevent and intervene when reports of bullying are made, we work together with parents as we teach bullying prevention and when we pursue an investigation to help both the student who is being targeted and the student who is perceived as the aggressor. Farr Academy will continue to integrate bullying prevention instruction throughout the program, in classes as well as during unstructured time. Parents or guardians will be informed as Farr Academy continues to develop the bullying prevention curricula taught to students... ReadoMore
IX Training and Professional Development
Farr Academy has a long history of providing staff training and professional development designed to address the range of disabilities of students at the school.
Staff are provided an array of training opportunities that focus on teaching all students pro-social skills, paying particular attention to the specific disability of students in the school and how that disability affects their ability to successfully interact with others. Although Bullying as defined in this law has not been singled out for specific discussion, teaching students to understand the causes of interactions that are hurtful to one another, and how they are fostered and supported or spurned and refused acceptance in favor of other forms of outlets, is an ongoing focus of teaching in all aspects of the program... ReadoMore
X Relationship to Other Laws
Consistent with federal and state laws and regulations and the policies of Farr Academy, no person shall be discriminated against in admission due to race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness. Nothing in this Plan prevents Farr Academy from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person's membership in a legally protected category under local, state or federal law or Farr Academy policies. In addition, nothing in this Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of Farr Academy to take disciplinary action under M.G.L.c. 71, sections 37H and 37H 1/2, other applicable laws, in response to violent, harmful or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether this Plan covers the behavior.
XI Appendix: Farr Academy Bullying Prevention and Intervention Report Form
Click Here to open our form as a PDF with Adobe Reader