Students are referred to the Community School of Maryland by their local education agencies. Once CSAAC has received the referral, the student and family may be invited to visit and tour prospective campuses and attend the CSAAC Admissions Committee meeting, which will determine whether the student is eligible for services.
All students are provided with classroom and community-based instruction. Instruction is provided individually and in small groups. Low staff-to-student ratios are maintained, including 1:1 ratios as needed. Instructional areas may include functional academics, communication, self-care skills, fine and gross motor skills, interpersonal skills, leisure skills, and vocational skills. Students also participate in scheduled social leisure activities during school/and or residential hours, such as swimming, adaptive gymnastics, the 4-H garden project, movies, horseback riding, field trips, summer activities, and a variety of other activities provided through the Montgomery County Parks and Recreation and other Washington Metropolitan area groups. Each student follows an individualized schedule that includes behavioral and instructional programming, maintaining continuity in the school and/or residence. Behavioral and instructional data are taken daily and tabulated to produce documentation of student progress and performance. The Director of Education and the psychologists review the data in an effort to develop the best path for success for each student.
The Community School of Maryland is distinguished by the psychological services provided to the students. Positive behavioral supports are designed through psychological services based on an applied behavior analysis model. Each student is assigned a licensed psychologist who has expertise in programming for students with autism. The psychologist, in collaboration with the school team, develops an individualized behavioral program that is based on a functional assessment. Special education teachers and related staff meet with the psychologists at least weekly to discuss each student’s behavior. Staff are evaluated on their ability to implement the programs and are retrained and coached in any areas where implementation needs improvement.
The Community School staff strives to help students be integrated members of their community. Special education teachers, along with the school directors and the director for residential services, work collaboratively to make home visits and ensure consistent program implementation in all environments.
To learn more about CSAAC’s Community School of Maryland, contact Scott Murtha, Educational Director, at (240) 912-3606.