With new leadership and an innovative teaching team, The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) Education program is evolving to meet the learning needs of residents.
“We’ve re-structured, added some new elements and staff, and the program continues to evolve,” said Eric Krumich, vice president of education since July 2020. “We give a great deal of care and attention to education. It’s reassuring and comforting for parents and residents to know they won’t lose ground academically while in treatment.”
One of the most significant changes has been keeping some middle and high school age residents in their home schools via virtual learning. Krumich checked with several similar residential centers and discovered BRC is unique in making accommodations for this process. Giving residents Internet access has been a barrier that BRC is successfully overcoming.
“Some kids in behavioral health treatment have experienced problems like bullying and exposure to inappropriate content as a result of unsupervised Internet access,” Krumich explained. “That’s why we’ve set up strict monitoring and security protocols. It’s working well, and the residents appreciate being able to keep up with their home school classes.”
Another exciting innovation is a new reading program called Leveled Literacy Intervention. This research-based program helps bring younger students up to grade level reading comprehension. They enjoy the books and lessons and can proceed at their own pace to improve reading.
BRC middle and high school-age residents also continue to experience success with the online learning platform, Edgenuity. This platform connects students with licensed instructors to earn credits in classes like foreign languages.
Residents involved in online instruction study in one of two classrooms set up and dedicated to their needs. A new online resource instructor is available to support them with virtual learning.
New Art Program and More
To enhance curriculum, BRC added its first fulltime art teacher for middle and high school age residents this academic year. Younger grade levels do art-related activities with their language arts and math teachers.
“This is traditional art education, rigorous and sophisticated. Art is an important part of education and our daily lives,” Krumich said. “It’s working out beautifully. The kids are engaged in creative expression, and they’re producing work that shows they’re thinking creatively, processing information and problem-solving. “
For nearly 30 years, BRC has offered a strong music program, with a choir and some musical instrument instruction. Over time, staff would like to build on this program and add more performing arts capability.
CPR training is also on the horizon. BRC piloted a certification class with a few residents last year and hopes to resume instruction soon.
Records and Assessments
On the administrative side, BRC added a student records coordinator who works directly with parents and residents’ home schools. Increasing communication and coordination helps keep everyone updated on each resident’s academic progress while they’re in treatment.
BRC is also modernizing its educational assessments. A new testing specialist is using a nationally recognized assessment test that provides superior statistical data on upper grade level residents’ cognitive abilities, scholastic aptitudes and achievement.
“We have a lot of high achievers among the residents, with quite a few enrolled in AP classes while they’re on campus with us,” Krumich noted.
For younger residents, BRC will begin using tests measuring early reading and math abilities. Data from these assessments will help teachers focus instruction to help students achieve or remain on grade level during treatment.
Also, two new Education staff members constructed an online grading system that can be accessed real-time by authorized individuals. Krumich described it as an “incredible” system that standardizes grading systems across the department. It also has potential to benefit similar schools at other treatment centers.
Many of the advancements in BRC’s Education department involve tremendous support from the Information Technology staff, Krumich said. They enabled Internet access for online instruction in the school and in the dorms. They’ve also provided research and recommendations for technology purchase, including Smart Boards for classrooms and laptop computers for resident use.
Learn more about BRC’s Education Program.