We wanted to provide you with a snapshot of the day-to-day lives of students at the League School of Greater Boston. We thought an effective method would be to offer you an opportunity to hear what they are saying – along with reflections from graduates, parents, administrators and staff – about their experiences at the school.
| Academics | Technology in the Classroom | Social Activities and School Events | Vocational Program – On the Job | | Life Skills | Residences | Our Campus | Sensory Integration | The Arts | | Field Trips – Into the Community | Graduation and Beyond
“We focus on each student as an individual, designing a program that best meets their needs. The League School utilizes a variety of targeted teaching strategies in order to ensure that our students make measurable progress in the areas of social communication, academics, behavior, life skills, vocational skills and occupational therapy. It is important to us that we educate the whole child in order to give them the tools they need to successfully navigate our world.” – Frank Gagliardi, Executive Director
“Working as a classroom teacher at the League School for the past eight years, I have found that one of the most beneficial parts of my job is the support from a variety of team members. Every classroom is supported by a behavior specialist, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a vocational coordinator and a social worker. Having the opportunity to sit down with knowledgeable professionals each week and talk about strategies that can be implemented in my classroom has been invaluable to my students and me.” – Carla Dyer, Transition Teacher
“My son has been a student at the League School, after many years in public school. He was no longer able to get adequate special ed services. I have to say that as a parent I have never been happier about my son’s education. The entire staff from front office to teachers to school nurse, everyone who is associated with the League School is wonderful. I know that my son loves to go to school every day and that has never been. We all love League School.” – Mother of R.
The League School integrates cutting-edge technology into its teaching practices to optimize student progress and productivity. We offer specialized computer programs that help students master their individual academic challenges. We also utilize SMART Board technology to promote interaction in the classroom. Technology is our classrooms also includes students using PDAs to help them make appropriate decisions.
“I have been using the SMART Board with my students and it is an excellent tool for teaching new skills and maintaining those previously learned. I am able to create dynamic lessons that address each student’s specific skills and needs, such as helping eye and hand coordination, using the Internet to research topics, and allowing students who have difficulty writing on flat surfaces to write on a vertical surface.” – Kaitlyn Salem, Transition Teacher
Student Council allows students from all 5 League School programs to convene every month, discuss and vote on topics that affect their school lives, including school-wide activities like dances, theme days (Valentine’s Day, Pajama Day) and sports team celebrations. When working on the Student Council, students are exposed to parliamentary procedures (sponsoring bills, voting, selecting representatives). It also lets students learn about advocating for beliefs and delegating responsibilities, and, become familiar with the logistics involved in event planning.
“The Student Council gives students an active voice in improving their school experience. They meet every month to discuss and plan school-wide activities.” - Classroom Teacher
League School’s Vocational Program is designed to provide the functional skills, knowledge and linkages necessary to prepare students for the working world. In the program, a student’s skills are assessed and an achievable vocational goal is identified. Students also participate in in-house vocational assignments and internship programs. Adult service providers who can best meet student’s vocational needs upon graduation are also identified.
“Our vocational program is designed to build functional skills to prepare students for the working world. We provide both school- and community-based work programs, from cooking for school events in our professional kitchen and operating our school store to volunteering at Mass Audubon and placements at local stores, such as CVS. Our goal is for each student to develop a resume of work skills, including teamwork, independence, confidence and pride in doing a good job.” – Paul Larter, Vocational Director
“The League School helped me to prepare for my job at CVS, like how to be responsible, to be on time and use a time clock, to be polite, follow directions and stay calm. I’ve worked at CVS for three years and I’m really good at stocking, cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping and pricing. The school even taught me how to make my own bank deposits with my paycheck.” – Evan, a 2008 League School graduate
Students who work at the League School’s store, The Hawk’s Nest, learn social pragmatics while developing a work ethic and money skills. When working there, students are exposed to social interaction, they learn job skills like how to count and stock inventory, and, they become familiar with the skills involved in food serving and operation management.
The League School’s Culinary Arts program introduces the students to the skill sets required for meal preparation. It provides both teachers and specialists a different setting in which to practice the skills detailed in a student’s IEP while offering students the chance to experience some independence. Students also cook the food that is sold in the Hawk’s Nest. This program provides training to enable students to both prepare their own meals and work in a sheltered food service profession. It also allows students to work cooperatively to achieve a common goal.
“The League School’s store, the Hawk’s Nest, gives students the opportunity to develop a wide range of functional skills. Communications is a key focus, from relaying a basic greeting to asking the price of a product. While student workers learn to make change and stock the shelves, student customers learn how to make selections, budget and wait in line. Practicing in the store helps students for community work and shopping experiences.” – Mary Gray, Pathfinder Teacher
The League School has two separate residences which can accommodate up to 20 residential students. Our Walpole house is just off our campus on Moosehill Road while our residence in Norwood is in a quiet neighborhood close to downtown shops for convenient outings.
“The League School works hard to ensure that our residential students have growth opportunities and enjoy positive experiences. The students have many options for community involvement through programs like Special Olympics and through everyday activities like shopping, day trips and outdoor play. Families are encouraged to participate in these activities as well.” – Brian Linton, Residence Quality Assurance Manager
“Each student has responsibility for household chores including laundry, dishes and keeping their rooms neat. Students also work on IEP goals carried over to the residences, including daily living skills, communication, fine motor, money management, leisure and community skills.” – Tracy Souza, Residence Quality Assurance Manager
Located on 12 scenic acres in Walpole, MA, the League School building and grounds were designed for and by our student population to accommodate their unique sensory and environmental needs. Our facilities also include an extensive exterior playground area. The structures and equipment available to our students provide them with the means to re-energize and exercise when they have time available.
Our occupational therapists develop sensory integration programs that allow for improved levels of student alertness, allow for better control of sensory input, and works on students’ fine and gross motor skills.
Provided both in groups and individually, these programs improve students’ sensory processing for better emotional regulation and classroom participation and develop motor skills for increased independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Our therapists also assist teachers in developing adaptations for increased independence in the school environment, and, they work closely with Speech Language Department in the implementation of “move and groove” curricula which incorporates movement with communication and language concepts.
Our adapted physical education is an integral part of learning for students with disabilities, offering an outlet for physical activity that is not readily available to students outside of school.
Our occupational therapy gym helps students with their sensory needs. “OT helps my engine reach ‘just right!’” – Michael, a League School student
“Like all programs at the League School, physical education is designed to develop students not only physically but also mentally, socially and emotionally through unique situations and experiences. During PE, we teach discipline, cooperation, safety and organization. We also emphasize character development, including respect, responsibility, caring, honesty and healthy lifestyles.” – Adapted Physical Education Teacher
The League School offers both art and music programs to help stimulate and motivate our students. The Music program at League School enables students to more effectively express their feelings in a socially acceptable manner while eliciting social interaction on a fundamental level. Our fall and spring music shows bookend the year-long music program and provide students with the opportunity to put their musical talents on display to family and friends. Our art classes allow students to develop and refine their creative skills – students’ artistic creations can often be seen on display throughout the school.
“By having art classes as part of the standard curriculum, it allows all our students another way to express themselves. The children participate and truly enjoy having this different way to be creative and to be themselves.” – Art Teacher
Community trips allow students to interact with people in real-life situations so that they can practice the socially appropriate behaviors that they have learned in the classrooms. These trips let students practice independence skills including waiting patiently in line and identifying individuals whom they can ask for assistance. Students also learn to complete selected tasks like locating and purchasing a specific item. They also give students the chance to learn to successfully navigate common places and return to designated spots at the appropriate time. Finally, these trips allow students to practice math skills by handling money and making purchases.
Whether shopping at the mall, visiting the zoo, or taking an apple-picking trip, these trips allow students to become familiar with and adapt to social cues outside the classroom.
“Over the years our son has been at League, he has grown and changed so much. You gave us support and hope when we needed it and rejoiced in his achievements. But, most of all, you taught us to enjoy him for who he is.” – Parent of J.
League School programs provide students with the foundation for moving beyond the classroom walls and effectively interacting in the community. When students approach graduation, the League School Transition Program team assists the family in making a smooth transition from school to adult services. During the transition process, the student’s team of teachers and specialists meets with the student, his or her family, the school department, and the identified adult services agency. The team develops a plan to focus on the student’s skills and interests and what the family has communicated in their vision for their son or daughter. As potential programs are identified, information is shared and visits are arranged for the family to tour the sites. Staff from the receiving program may observe the student in the familiar school or work setting and school staff will also accompany the student to visit potential sites. When a decision is finally made, then the team will hold a graduation ceremony and ensure a smooth transition to the student’s adult services placement.
“When I came to League School, I never talked, was too shy and I built barriers to protect myself. I would not be going to college without the League School helping me to break down those mental barriers. I like what I’ve accomplished and have great memories.” – Tim, a 2008 League School graduate`