Glade Run is committed to helping you find the best solution for your child and family. Our Enrollment Coordinator, Kelly Wheeler, is happy to answer your questions.
We are a licensed, private K-12 school dedicated to providing a positive, safe and nurturing learning community. St. Stephen’s operates in two Western Pennsylvania locations — Zelienople and Utica. School districts may refer students online by completing our online referral form. Parents interested in St. Stephen’s as an educational setting for their students may contact their home school district.
The students and staff of St. Stephen’s Academy collaborate using the framework of our Sanctuary certification, School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI), and the School as a Society model. Every interaction with a student is an opportunity to help them learn, grow and heal. Furthermore, St. Stephen’s Academy promotes growth through educational and therapeutic activities with an outdoor classroom, as well as utilizing the plants and animals at Glade Run Adventures.
School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)
School districts place students at St Stephen’s so that the child can benefit from therapeutic interventions in an educational setting. St. Stephen’s has been recognized in the past as a model program in Pennsylvania for School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all youth by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.
St. Stephen’s is recognized by The Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support Network (PAPBS) for high fidelity implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), publicly distinguishing school wide sites for successful implementation of PBIS. In 2017, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Academy (St. Stephen’s) in Zelienople, PA was one of 18 schools across the state – and one of only four schools in the western region, and the first private school – to earn implementation with fidelity at all three tiers of PBIS. Since this time, St. Stephen’s has maintained this high degree of fidelity in our school.
School as a Society Model
“School as a Society” is a simple concept that views the school as a small society. Each teacher and teaching assistant thinks of their class as a “family unit” and involves their students in the development of the classroom as being “like a home”. This includes responsibilities and opportunities to develop goals, incentives, and even decorations that encourage a positive educational experience.
In addition, each classroom has a “Sister Classroom” with whom they develop a relationship similar to an “Extended Family”. These two classrooms work together to provide support, solve problems and have fun together, like an extended family. The combined “Sister Classrooms” in each hallway expand to the “Neighborhood” concept. “Neighborhoods” provide support for each other and work together to plan fun age appropriate activities and are responsible for their physical hallway space. Two “Neighborhoods” make up a “Community” in each school building. In addition to providing support, the “Community” assumes responsibility for all the common areas in their building, such as decorating hallways and keeping common areas clean.
Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
The Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) training program for school staff presents a crisis prevention and intervention model designed to teach staff how to help students learn constructive ways to handle crisis. The ability of the entire organization to respond effectively to students in crisis situations is critical in establishing not only a safe environment, but also one that promotes growth and development. The skills, knowledge, and professional judgment of staff in responding to crises are critical factors in helping students learn constructive and adaptive ways to deal with frustration, failure, anger, rejection, hurt, and depression.
The Sanctuary Model is…
- A guide for creating a safe and nonviolent environment for the students in our school AND the staff who care for them.
- A guide for forming and maintaining a therapeutic community that promotes safety and non-violence as the basis for everything we do to help people heal.
- The way we maintain organizational culture.
The Sanctuary Model is a way of guiding everyone in the school: leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, receptionists, custodians, support staff, children, and families to share the same values and language.
We call our shared values The Seven Commitments. We are committed to…
- Nonviolence– Being safe outside (physically), inside (emotionally), with others (socially) and to do the right thing.
- Emotional Intelligence– Managing feelings so that we don’t hurt ourselves/others
- Social Learning– Respecting and sharing the ideas of our teams
- Shared Governance– Shared decision making
- Open Communication– Saying what we mean and not being mean when we say it
- Social Responsibility– Cooperating so that together we accomplish more. Everyone makes a contribution to the organizational culture
- Growth and Change– Creating hope for our students and ourselves
St. Stephen’s embraces the Sanctuary Model that helps people to heal from trauma and the impact of chronic stress in their lives. The Sanctuary model parallels many bully prevention programs in that it strives to develop a community of nonviolence. There are 4 concepts that guide the way we work and the way children heal and make progress in their lives- S.E.L.F.
Safety- Physical, psychological, social, moral
Emotions- Managing feelings without becoming self/other destructive
Loss- Feeling grief, coping with loss and preparing for change
Future- Re-establishing the capacity for choice
The Sanctuary Toolkit is made up of concrete or practical tools used to actualize the shared values and ensure the healing and functioning of the community. Community meetings occur every day during homeroom period and all students and staff participate. These meetings allow for the opportunity to identify and express feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Each person asks and answers three questions: 1. How are you feeling? 2. What is your goal? and 3. Who can help you achieve that goal? Community meetings promote a sense of belonging in the classroom setting.
Staff and students also develop a safety plan, which list five coping skills that are positive and appropriate for the school setting. These coping skills include activities that can be done alone as well as those that require assistance from others. Safety plans serve the purpose of maintaining safety through emotional management.
Red Flag reviews are an important Sanctuary tool that draws on an entire team’s knowledge and wisdom. It uses the group’s creativity to problem solve and become “unstuck”. A red flag review should be called to address any ongoing issue or concern. Anyone, including students, families and staff can call a red flag review.
Other tools in the toolkit may be used as necessary and include team meetings, and psycho-education lessons.
Tiered Academic Supports
With an innovative curriculum and an excellent student to teacher ratio, St. Stephen’s Academy offers enriched learning opportunities for every student:
- Specially designed classrooms with a 12:2 student/staff ratio in our emotional support class
- Specially designed classrooms with a 7:2 student/staff ratio in our enhanced education classroom
- A therapeutic animal program which integrates social skills, self-confidence, and responsibility
- A therapeutic horticulture program that is used for hands-on science and math activities, as well as developing recreational, vocational, and job-related skills
- Access to an outdoor classroom that enables the students to have a real-life hands-on learning experience
- A model apartment with a full kitchen and laundry facilities for experiential life learning, as well as ongoing independent living opportunities for students to assist with preparing small, social meals promoting skill development in activities of daily living
- A variety of spaces specially designed for students who need time away to manage and process emotions, including sanctuary and sensory rooms.
- Guidance classes are offered on a weekly basis to promote healthy expression of emotions, social skills, and anti-bullying initiatives.
- Students will develop and create individualized safety plans unique to them which include coping strategies they can use to manage difficult emotions, such as taking breaks.
- Sensory Playground where students can engage and play in a specially designed multi-sensory outdoor environment.
- Community-Based Instruction (CBI) – students will receive hands-on educational instruction in natural community environments to prepare them for job readiness and social skills after high school.
- Access to behavioral incentives such as school store, Jaguar Cafe, a snack cart, and honor roll Paw Packs as part of our PBIS program designed to recognize positive behaviors and academic successes.
- Opportunities to participate in student organizations such as a student council and various intramural and travel sports teams. (GO JAGUARS!)
Autism support classrooms provide a highly specialized environment to teach and strengthen positive social skills development. Facilities include a sensory room, gross motor room and model apartment. Students with autism thrive when education is creatively tailored to individual learning styles and the environment is responsive to sensory differences.
In addition to the universal interventions, our autism support education program provides:
- Implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis strategies
- Specially designed classrooms with an 8:2 student/staff ratio
- A program philosophy that emphasizes positive social skill development woven throughout the entire school day
- Consultation and trainings including on site supervision from Glade Run’s Director of Autism and Rebecca Klaw, a nationally recognized expert in the field of autism
- We employ a full-time social skills specialist to teach weekly lessons to the students in the classrooms
- Sensory exploration provided in a state-of-the-art sensory room designed to expose students to various sensory stimuli. Activities strengthen, balance and develop the central nervous system’s processing of sensory stimuli
- Gross motor room focusing on the strengthening of proprioception and vestibular skills through movement activities
- A model apartment with full kitchen and laundry facilities for experiential life learning as well as ongoing opportunities for students to assist with preparing small, social meals promoting skill development in activities of daily living
- A therapeutic animal program which integrates social skills, self-confidence, and responsibility
- A therapeutic horticulture program that is used for hands-on science and math activities as well as developing recreational, vocational, and job-related skills