The Woods School is one of the largest approved private school provider of special education programs for children and youth with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 5 to 21 in Bucks County. With over 100 years of tradition and services, Woods Schools provides instruction customized to student’s needs, social-emotional instruction and pre-employment and transition services training for students.
All of the educational programs at Woods Services’ are state-licensed and approved private school programs provide extensive, year-round special education and supports, offering instruction to children aged 5-22 that ranges from functional life skills to high school level academics. The students enrolled in these programs present a variety of learning needs as a result of their intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities that prevent them from participating in their home schools. Through the IEP team process, local education agencies (LEA) decide to send their students to Woods because their behavioral, social and emotional difficulties significantly impact their education. Upon placement, the LEA partnership with Woods guides the instructional and educational goals for students until they exit from the program.
The Woods Schools
In general, Gardner Education Center serves students from 5-21 years old with intellectual disabilities, autism, developmental disabilities, emotional disturbance, and multiple disabilities.
At Crestwood Education Center at Obermayer, we primarily focus on academic instruction along with transition planning for 14-22-year-old students. Secondary classes in CEC are designed to meet the needs of students who are pursuing post-secondary academic goals and a high school diploma.
The Brookwood Education Center focuses on providing a transitional education program for 14 – 22-year-olds. All of our education centers offer opportunities for the student to learn pre-vocation vocational skills. However, BEC has skills rooms that provide concentrated attention on pre-vocational and vocational training to some of our most challenging students. Although BEC, we assist with the school-to-adult transition and help students acquire experiences that can lead to competitive employment and independent living after they graduate.
Our Approach to Special Education
Our school programs are designed to help our students meet educational, emotional, behavioral and medical needs, while bringing individuals closer to achieving their own personal goals. Our year-round special education program is fully licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as both Private Licensed School and an Approved Private School, and as a result we adhere to all aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. All of our classrooms are staffed by certified special education teachers, supported by direct support professionals, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, clinicians, psychologists, BCBAs and nurses.
Our person-centered and focuses on each student’s strengths, interests, abilities, aptitudes, learning needs and educational levels by using the Individualized Education Planning (IEP) process to identify the best possible objectives and goals. We recognize the importance of giving a voice to the student and parents in all aspects of the learning process. In fact, we embrace an open-door policy for parents and family members in an effort to ensure the maximum experience for our students.
Students with disabilities often lack key skills such as interacting with peers or speech impairments, which lead to classroom behaviors. Our specialized classrooms are arranged by skill levels, to give every student the opportunity to succeed. Additionally, we recognize the interplay between skills and behavior. So while the main focus of our education program is on reducing the behaviors that serve as barriers in the classroom, we aim to increase motivation to build skills in the areas of communication and socialization that fosters a willingness to learn.
Foundations of Education Program at Woods
Our Educational Model provides teachers with essential support in the classroom, leading to more progressive outcomes and increased independence for students. Teachers integrate a wealth of curriculum and social-emotional resources to customize instruction for each student as well as planning and learning experiences through our Career-to- Work portfolio experiences which help students at any age prepare for life after school. All of our classrooms are equipped with SMARTBoards and access to iPads, to ensure students get the most of their learning experiences. Woods education not only provides instructional opportunities in our classrooms and community-based environments.
Woods Schools provides student instruction through an evidence-based curriculum that is aligned with state standards. Additionally all students participate in instructional experiences that help them develop a wide-range of abilities, interests and needs. All students receive instruction content in the following areas:
- Reading, language arts, math, science and social studies
- Health, physical education, music, social skills training
- Prevocational training career electives in beauty grooming, landscaping and horticulture, janitorial/housekeeping, fashion design, technology and career to work explorations.
- Career to work exploration
- Small class sizes which average 8 students per room.
- OVR transition planning services
- Participation in state examinations.
- Opportunities for paid work experiences
The special education teachers at Woods along school staff and our clinical group provide expertise regarding:
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Assistive Technology
- Vocational Training
- Clinical and Behavioral Supports
Multiple Disabilities Support (MDS) program provides specialized educational programming for students with multiple needs. The MDS program provides instruction in basic life skills and communication while utilizing various means of assistive technology. Multiple disabilities refer to “concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.”
Life Skills Support is offered to students who require a combination of academic, daily living, occupational, and interpersonal skills to teach students how to live and work in the community. The Life Skills Program is offered to students in Grades K-12 with cognitive delays. Classes emphasize applied and functional academics, social skills, self-