A regular schedule for Masses and religious services is provided that actively celebrates the seasons and themes of the liturgical year. Direct catechetical instruction appropriate to the cognitive and developmental levels of individual students is provided. The school community gathers daily for Morning Prayer Service and sacramental preparation is provided for Catholic students.
The Religious Education Coordinator, in collaboration with the teachers involve every student in participation in religious services through live music, movement activities, sign language, tangible props and scripted themes. We are proud to gather together as a prayerful, respectful and mutually supportive community.
Pflaum Gospel Weeklies is the faith formation program used at St. Joseph Center. The levels used are: Seeds (Primary), Promise (Intermediate) and Good News (Secondary). Each student has an appropriate level consumable handbook entitled What the Church Believes and Teaches.
In addition to cognitive differences many students present significant emotional, social and physical factors which contribute to making each child’s particular path through learning unique. Through varied conventional, technological, tactile-kinesthetic and experiential resources we provide a rich and stimulating educational environment. Taking advantage of the small student population, we share student learning styles, challenges and successes from year to year as students move from one teacher to another.
Our curriculum covers the areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art and music. The essential skills related to literacy and mathematics receive major emphasis in terms of instructional time. In addition, the school has strong programs and activities related to perceptual motor development, self-help skills, social skills, communication, sensory integration, pre-vocation and adaptive physical education appropriate to the special needs of the student population.
The various programs used are sequential so that students experience continuity in sequence, content and format as they progress through the year and as they transition from one teacher to another. Programs implemented are: Edmark (computer based) and Milestones for reading; Touch and Early Math for mathematics; Steck Vaughn Social Studies; Focus on Science; Handwriting Without Tears; Weekly Reader; Time for Kids; Republican & Herald newspaper.
The learning experience is enriched by significant use of co-curricular activities such as field trips, community based instruction, networking with community organizations and bringing varied guest presenters into the school from the local community.
Making use of a rich array of technological and multimedia resources, we motivate and reinforce learning and respond to student learning styles. Student work is reinforced with high levels of praise and social recognition by the whole school community, in displays throughout the building, and in communication materials, brochures and other publications made available to parents and the community.
St. Joseph Center offers a multi-sensory room that has an extensive array of sensory equipment: therapy balance balls, bean bags, tilt board, vestibulator swing set, Somatron ball pool, fiber optic curtain, and large foam rocker to name a few. Each classroom has a vast array of furniture, equipment and devices to meet the special needs of our students. Some are as simple as sensory brushes, vibrating skin massagers and switch toys to more sophisticated items like adapted toys, mobility walkers/bikes and trikes, communication devices, and computer software.
Students who have developmental, emotional and psychiatric disabilities, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, frequently experience impairments in the way they integrate, process and organize all sensory information. Every child has unique sensory needs and we consult with Stepping Stones Rehabilitation Services, Inc., Orwigsburg, to help evaluate sensory processing abilities and determine what types of sensory activities would be beneficial.
We have a well-equipped, multi-purpose sensory/therapy room and therapy is provided 1 ½ days per week. An occupational therapist is available to consult with teachers on an ongoing basis to ensure a consistent therapeutic approach throughout the school day. Teachers also benefit from occasional in-service training through Stepping Stones to keep them updated on the latest methods and theories and maximizing the overall impact of the intervention.
Occupational therapy is extremely important for students with fine and gross motor skill deficits and sensory integration dysfunction. Our goal is to help students participate fully in school and social situations. All new students are evaluated and Individual Plan (IP) goals, both short and long term, are established. Students already enrolled are re-evaluated as needed and weekly progress reports are given to parents. Midterm progress reports are issued in January. Final progress reports are issued in June.
Specialized instruction is provided to children with a wide range of communication problems that affect success in classroom activities, social interactions, literacy and learning such as delays or disorders in articulation, language, fluency and voice. Services include prevention, evaluation, assessment, intervention and collaboration. The types of services are determined by a child’s individual needs and may occur in small group or individual sessions and/or within the classroom.