The Pathfinder School Experience
The making of friends is the cornerstone of the Pathfinder School experience. For many students with disabilities, social isolation is an unfortunate fact of their day to day life. That experience changes at Pathfinder School. Through connections with other students, caring staff, and others, students begin to view themselves as part of a larger community. Students build confidence and a stronger sense of their individual identity. For many, this is the first time in their life that they will finally belong.
Individualized Instruction & Innovative Teaching
Through innovative teaching and a comprehensive curriculum, our unique educational setting fosters individualized academic instruction, attention, and clinical and behavioral support. Our educators appreciate each student’s strengths, needs, and interests while delivering specialized instruction that focuses on individual achievements and goals. Lessons are dynamic and designed to engage all of our learners. Information is presented via multiple modalities and likewise students demonstrate mastery of lesson content through a variety of ways. We aim to guide students to discover their own values and talents and share these gifts with others. Students apply their knowledge in the classroom, the school, the home, and the community. Through the annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, our interdisciplinary teams collaborate with parents and the home school district’s Committee on Special Education (CSE) to develop and implement educational plans that reflect student strengths and needs. Ongoing progress monitoring and quarterly reports enable home and school teams to adjust and update goals throughout the year as well as document progress and celebrate success.
With a SMART Board® in every classroom, our students are motivated to be active participants in teacher directed activities. Collaborative learning becomes an extraordinarily natural, hands-on experience throughout the school day. Lesson plans incorporate technology into content rich, multi-disciplinary learning activities. The result is engaged students who work together to interact with lesson content and one another. Students make individual gains, but also learn how to contribute to the group. Technology aids our students in understanding current events, exploring science, and enhancing practical life skills. Through the use of technology, students become authors, artists, musicians, scientists, and mathematicians. At Pathfinder School, we use technology to engage and motivate our learners.
Through our growing prevocational program, students participate in meaningful employment preparation activities to prepare for life after graduation. Our exceptional employment readiness program includes career exploration, on-campus job training, community-based internships, and our Pathfinder Village product line —“Just Roots.” Job training experiences mirror real world work experiences, preparing students for the transition to adulthood. Through the program, students develop those higher level planning, organization, and executive functioning skills that are essential to future success…in volunteer, supported work or independent work settings.
More information about our Prevocational Program →
Therapeutic and Behavioral Support Services
Each student’s clinical and behavioral support needs are met through on-site and contracted specialty services that include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior support and psychology services. Our behavior analyst designs and monitors individualized behavior intervention plans to support each student throughout his school day. For residential students, individualized plans are extended into our homes. Plans are monitored routinely with modifications made in response to the changing needs of each student. Staff training is ongoing to ensure plans are supported across environments and trainers. Students’ healthcare needs are supported by on-site nursing. Off-campus specialty services such as primary health care, medical specialists and psychiatry are easily accessed through long standing affiliations with accredited and recognized regional medical providers including Bassett HealthCare Network in Cooperstown, NY.
Our experienced and trained residential staff supports and actively engages students in daily Village, School, and community life. Each home offers a warm, inviting family atmosphere where students are encouraged to be active participants in the daily routine, refine organizational skills, and skills of personal responsibility and choice making. We offer a specialized home for students with more complex disabilities who require a high degree of behavioral and clinical supports. Outside of school hours, students access a host of enrichment activities tailored to health and wellness, fine arts, music, drama and community participation.
Pathfinder Village was created by families who saw a need and responded to it. Families have been the hallmark of our community and it continues today. Families are actively involved in their loved one’s life through regular visits, phoning, emailing, Skyping, letters and cards, trips home and family vacations. It’s like any family. Families also establish close bonds with Pathfinder staff and together work on behalf of their family member. Families participate in all decision making about healthcare, service planning and anything else that impacts their student’s life at Pathfinder School. Family members sit on the Pathfinder Village board of directors and chair other Pathfinder committees. Pathfinder Village celebrates its families with a “Family Day” event in the fall when families gather from around the country to celebrate their larger family…the Pathfinder Family!